What is the Bottled Water Cooler Really For?
Consider for a moment one of the undisputed icons of the office environment. I refer of course to that totem of colleague interaction, the bottled water cooler. Surely few items in history have taken such an ingrained place in the nation’s psychology, yet there is a problem – what exactly is it for?
Ha – I hear you say: surely the clue is in the name. You can get much clearer than that can you? This must be a place were hard working workers can go to enjoy a cool thirst quenching glass of H2O. What could be simpler?
But is it? Water may be the given reason for including a bottled water cooler in an office. After all, who wants workers passing out due to dehydration? Not many to be sure. But it is so much more than that. Its most vital contribution is to provide non smokers with a much needed break from the screen. This is one of the great injustices of office life – the clear priority often given over to smokers in the office environment. All they have to do is imply that without nicotine they may somehow lose the capacity for rational thought and suddenly the world is their oyster. They get a break almost on demand. The rest of us soldier on regardless.
Now I don’t smoke, but I do like a drink. But do they install a mini bar in the kitchen where we can gather mid morning? No. Instead what we have is the bottled water cooler, the one place we can get a screen break and complain bitterly about our lucky smoking co-workers.
It all leads you to wonder if this is exactly what the inventor had in mind when he came up with the idea in the first place. Who were they I hear? Well, we can trace the water cooler back to Halsey Willard Tailor and Luther Haws who came up with the first drinking fountain in 1911.
This was a far cry from the magnificent machines we know and love today. In fact back then man’s only way of cooling down water was to supply it in large blocks of ice. But soon he put his ingenuity to discovering a machine which could do this automatically and once the ball was rolling there was no stopping it.
Today’s water coolers offer an almost unrivaled array of possibilities. Made from the finest materials they remain an indispensable part of any office. So let’s raise a glass the water cooler. Where would we be without it?