Coffee Break (film #342 on Prelinger Archive). [Category: Industrial]

Jim has a problem. His boss is upset about how workers find a way to tack on lots of extra minutes to their coffee breaks with such unnecessary activities as talking, smoking, going to the bathroom, and, oh yeah, getting coffee. Since Jim is the personnel manager, the boss hands the problem off to him, demanding that he make the workers limit their breaks to 10 minutes on the nose, or else! To intimidate Jim more, he gives him a “gift” of an hourglass that measures 10 minutes and orders him to use it twice a day at coffee break time while he spends exactly 10 minutes thinking of the solution to the problem. The boss especially has a problem with women, lambasting them for spending time in the ladies’ room touching up their appearances (though I’ll bet if any of the women failed to do this, they’d be written up for poor appearance). Not considered is the fact that the workers seem to have to leave the building entirely and patronize a local diner with table service in order to get coffee, something that probably takes a lot more time than 10 minutes. Jim solves the problem by using his 10 minutes to get coffee with a buddy, along with a few extra minutes to have a cigarette and go to the bathroom. This management training film is a lot of fun, with a boss you love to hate and workers who gleefully get as much out of their coffee breaks as possible. The message of wasted time is undercut by the fact that the boss is portrayed as such a control freak with no sympathy for the worker’s position, so that even though the workers are essentially schmoozing on company time, you take their side just to thwart that boss. It ends with a Centronesque “What would YOU do?” ending. I’ll get back to you on that after I go get some coffee.

Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: ****. Weirdness: ****. Historical Interest: ****. Overall Rating: ****.

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