Here's the Scoop: August 29, 2012

Offers are pouring in
A few weeks back, I wrote about a years-long run of back luck with coffee pot purchases. I was pleased by a large response of solutions from readers. They offered tips on what to buy and even advice on what brands not to purchase.

Naturally, ethical journalists are prohibited from accepting story-related gifts. I must admit, though, I experienced more than a tinge of temptation when a column fan phoned and offered his wife’s fancy coffee maker. Free. This sounded too good to be true, but the would-be gift-giver explained that his wife never really drinks coffee and the machine merely clutters the countertop.

I pondered the offer. After all, I hadn’t been writing about these people. Plus, they are both friends, so it’s not like friends don’t ever give each other gifts. I didn’t think that I was trampling the boundaries of journalistic ethics.

“Ummm, sounds like a great deal,” I responded after nearly three seconds of deliberation.
“Do you have any coffee you can throw in to sweeten the pot? And, would you mind delivering the coffee maker to my office?” I added. Since the office is miles closer than our house, I thought this was a nice gesture — not merely unbridled greed.

The gift-giver politely responded that the only coffee available was a bit dated and its quality probably rivaled that of stuffed animals offered as carnival prizes. Point taken.
“OK, I’m good with just the coffee maker. And, I’m happy to come and pick it up,” I replied.

Too much of a good thing
Maybe I was embarrassed by this nice offer, but I quickly found myself blurting out, “Do you at least have any donuts as part of the package?”

Fortunately, my friend thought I was joking and dismissed my request with a laugh.
Well, heck, I was going to get a free, high-end coffee maker. Not a bad deal.

We started making arrangements for me to pick up this “like new” model with all the modern features to justify the accompanying 278-page operating manual. I felt like I had won the lottery.
That’s when the wife of the Generous Offer Maker arrived home. I didn’t catch all of the conversation, but the muffled words I could hear made me realize that she wasn’t quite ready to part with her prized (unused) coffee maker.

Never one to mince words, the Generous Offer Maker’s Wife grabbed the phone and explained that I wouldn’t be getting a free coffee pot from her household any time soon.

“No donuts, either, I guess?” I asked.

It didn’t bother me, when she bluntly responded that I was correct. Donuts without brew from a free coffee maker simply don’t taste as sweet.
— Brian Sweeney