Thursday, April 21, 2011


We have a water cooler in our department kitchen. The kind with the big 5gallon jug on top. The kind that looks like this:


I never understood the physics of these things. I could just see myself hoist one of those rather large water jugs up - upside down - and somehow manage to flood the whole kitchen. So I stayed away from it. Well, from that aspect of it. I still used it for water, but would always make sure that I didn't drain it so that I wouldn't have to be the one to replace the jug (and I have since found out that I wasn't the only sneaky one). 

One day, though, I sucked it up and asked for help. A colleague kindly showed me how it was done... and though there was a bit of "splashing" there was very little spilling and it was all pretty straight forward. Excellent. I soon became a pro water-cooler-jug-inserter person.

Until yesterday, that is. We usually have a stockpile of full water jugs on the floor and some additional ones on some shelves. I've always been able to just grab one from the floor and go. Not that "going" is easy. Those things are heavy - 5gallons equates to 47.1pounds. The internet tells me that this is like picking up a 4year-old higher than your own waist and turning them upside down. And just so we're all clear (though I don't expect any doubt here), I'm pretty weak, so this can be tough. Despite that, I've managed just fine when picking a jug from off the floor. Yesterday though, I needed to grab one of the jugs by the neck from the shelf and transfer it to the floor, before engaging in the normal insertion-process.

Oh how I failed. I managed to pretty much drop the jug on the ground - nay, my foot - which actually cracked the stupid thing, not to mention hurt my foot. Water started pouring everywhere. Through some Hulk-like adrenaline rush I was able to practically throw it into the sink as I evaluated what to do next. I knew as soon as I got it onto the cooler things would be fine (the water level would then be below the crack in the very base on the jug), but it was going to be a challenge as a stream of water jetted, quite forcefully, out of the container. With the help of what seemed to be a whole roll of paper towels I managed to get the sucker in. Of course, I came out of the deal wet, dirty and slightly stressed. 

A lot of work for some water, eh? 

(After reading over the post I cringed at my last statement and the decidedly 1st-world nature of this "problem." I should donate to  charity:water.)


  1. I remember when I worked at my job after college we had one of these. I was always worried about putting in the water jug for fear of dropping it or getting water everywhere. A colleague of mine dropped it and it started rolling while the top was already open. It was a train wreck.

  2. Mike, what you just described is my water cooler fear realized...

  3. The jugs for the water cooler at my work has the anti-spill top. Peel off the foil from the jug there there is a small inverted plastic cap holding back the water. On the dispenser there is a probe sticking up that punctures the cap as you seat the jug to release the water. Best idea I have seen on these things. There haven't been any incidents yet. I'm usually the one that changes it since I am the younger male in the office.

  4. Having NEVER worked ANYWHERE with a water cooler in all my 30+ years as an employable adult, I can only shake my head at your dilemma. Why not avoid the whole issue and just get water out of the fountain like the rest of us?

  5. Maybe you should try the kind that basically just filters tap water so there's no big water jug to deal with. Hope your foot is ok!

  6. We looked at getting one of these in the office, but apparently there is a CA state law against them in state buildings with working water. In other words, CA tap water is really surprisingly superior, so use it!