The Zookeeper

Posted by Meg on October 15, 2013

About 75% of my workload as one of MailChimp’s zookeepers is related to food and coffee. Chimps are ravenous animals, and it takes a lot of effort to keep everyone fed, energized, and still somewhat healthy.

Choosing food is complicated, because each department has its own quirks. The developers prefer the least healthy items, and though I’ve never actually witnessed it, I’m pretty sure they all drink tall glasses of half & half every morning. It goes so fast that no other explanation makes sense. Marketing and design require trendy food with fewer ingredients and higher price tags. Tech support, on the other hand, will eat anything and everything. Sometimes I make a game out of it by putting out funky flavored candies or chips and then covertly joining their chat room to watch them talk about how the new food is super weird. Ten minutes later, I have to restock because they’ve literally eaten everything. Tech support is the garbage disposal of MailChimp when it comes to breakroom snacks and leftover catering. I say this out of respect—it’s beautiful.

Chimps are ravenous animals, and it takes a lot of effort to keep everyone fed, energized, and still somewhat healthy.

During my first week on the job, I let the espresso beans run out. I actually told everyone to settle for regular coffee beans that day. It was bad. And what’s worse is that I did it again a few weeks later. Looking back, it’s surprising that I’m still here. Now I know better, and I fear an empty espresso grinder more than the guy from the hipster barista meme. We’ve got beans for the espresso machine, different beans for the regular coffee maker, and even more beans for the marketing and design team’s Chemex. Coffee is a delicate beast.

Everyone also has their favorite coffee creamer, and it can take one trip to Target, one to Publix, and one to Costco to make sure every individual dairy or non-dairy craving is satisfied. Chimps go nuts for seasonal creamers, so I always get the new flavors when they come out. They’re usually very well received. Usually.

What’s wonderful about all of this chaos, though, is that even if someone has to stir honey into their tea with a fork, or everyone grumbles for a week while their potato chip palates adjust to veggie straws, I still get to be the bearer of chocolate chip cookies on rainy Wednesday afternoons.

Subscribe To Our Newsletter