If you were standing in the halls of Smart Dolphins this morning at about 8:30, you would have heard the heavenly cries of “Make my coffee, #!#?%#!” and felt the love flowing (and the adrenaline).

“Coffee #!#?%#” is back!

Unless you have worked at Smart Dolphins, you’ll have no idea what I’m talking about. Well, after nearly a decade of secrecy, it is time to share this incredible Smart Dolphins ritual with the world (in a limited and censored way). Understand that this is like Cadbury revealing the Caramilk Secret.

Let’s start by going back in time. In the early years of Smart Dolphins, we had a small team that almost always had lunch together. We were tight. We were also over worked. Nothing gets a driven team through the afternoon “blahs” like a cup or two of fresh coffee, so this was also a regular part of our lunch routine. Of course, it only requires one person to make the coffee, but many who will enjoy the result. How to decide who will be the unlucky person to make coffee? At Smart Dolphins, this dilemma produced the “Coffee #!#?%#” past time.

In case it isn’t clear, “#!#?%#” is a text-mask that I’m using here to hide the actual, fairly politically-incorrect term that we use for the unlucky person who was to make the round of coffee for the team. I’ll leave it to your imagination what that derogatory term might be. Some secrets must live on.

Coffee?The rules for the Coffee #!#?%# contest changed many times over the years, but it has always involved Rock Paper Scissors (RPS); And now you’ll better understand the RPS reference  on our Team page. While there are many creative ways to play RPS with a group of people, the daily Coffee #!#?%# contest typically started with everyone participating (and if you didn’t participate, you didn’t enjoy the rewards – the coffee) in “odd man out”: on the count of three everyone in a circle would either throw out one finger or two – the minority was safe and the majority remained to play a second round of odd man out. These additional rounds of intense odd man out were conducted until we had two finalists who would then duel it out in a best of seven RPS match.

A very interesting iteration of this process evolved so that the “reigning” Coffee #!#?%# from the day before was automatically in the final the next day and the two finalists from the rounds of odd man out was merely a semi-final round to see who would face off against the reigning Coffee #!#?%#. This additional rule would often mean that a poor soul would be stuck in the Coffee #!#?%# role for days or maybe even weeks on end.

We were brutal. We also added a requirement for the the Coffee #!#?%# to wear the Coffee #!#?%# hat – a Tim Horton’s hat with a “Trainee” pin on it – and failure to remember this twist meant an automatic Coffee #!#?%# duty that day. Additionally, any show of kindness toward the day’s Coffee #!#?%# would be an automatic reversal of roles. There were no manners, to be sure. We were unusually cruel.
CoffeOfTheYearAs I say, it was very involved, but that complexity grew from our passion for the ritual. One of the most infamous lines in the history of Smart Dolphins was when one employee shouted, “TOO MANY RULES!” in total exasperation. We actually got to the point of keeping statistics and one Dolphin, Andrew, had to call on his University-level mathematics to really get to the level of statistical analysis that we craved. To cap it off, annually we would crown a Coffee #!#?%# of the Year.Seriously. We really should have a hall of fame for the likes of “Claude the node” and Teh_Chad.

I’m not exactly sure what happened, but sadly, Coffee #!#?%# died along the way somewhere and except at job interviews and maybe the odd staff function, RPS has really been in hibernation at Smart Dolphins. I suppose we got too busy or perhaps we just felt the need to “grow up” (a little). I’m not sure. It is a crying shame.

Well, for whatever reasons… perhaps the coffee gods have arisen again or perhaps we have again grown to be an intensely tight group , Coffee  #!#?%# is back at Smart Dolphins. So, it is time to sharpen up those RPS skills and buy the extra coffee, cream and sugar that will be required in the coming months of Coffee #!#?%#.

Perhaps you’d like to stop by and participate… just be sure to free up the following mornings in case the Coffee Gods decided to make you the Coffee #!#?%# for the day!