Dear Lifehacker, I’m going into year 12. Aside from exams, homework and all those problems I have a question regarding the smaller details of high school life. I believe most schools, like mine, have a year 12 “area” where senior students can relax and study. My question is regarding how you’d manage money and drinks. We have the option to buy our own drinks to place in a fridge but how do we work out who pays what? It’s not as simple as “everyone puts in X amount”, because some drink more, some drink less — then people start to complain. Any suggestions? Thanks, Money Guy
Dear Money Guy,
We have virtually the same problem in the Allure Media office. The current solution works like this: our boss regularly restocks the drinks fridge with drinks bought in bulk from a supermarket (which makes them much cheaper). Every time you grab a drink, you pay $1.50. (There are also chocolates for 50 cents each.) This is not done in a high-tech way; we keep a plastic cup in the fridge and rely on people to be honest. The funds raised pay for the next resupply, and the small profit that gets made goes towards the office Christmas party.
Is the solution perfect? No. If someone is desperate for a drink, they’ll grab one and not pay, which results in terse reminder emails from our boss telling people to settle up. But that doesn’t happen terribly often, and it means we have a range of cold drinks everyone likes without having to leave the office.
The challenge for this in a student context is that the person who volunteers to buy the initial supply could easily end up out of pocket if too few people end up being honest (and there’s not necessarily a school-wide email list you can use to remind people to pay up). Obviously , soft drinks aren’t very good for you, and in an ideal world you’d be drinking water. But if you do want a communal drinks fridge, this seems to me the simplest method. Of course, we’d love to hear other suggestions in the comments.
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