At your service? 10 signs your office tea boy is really the devil in disguise

Published February 20th, 2017 - 13:00 GMT

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Working in the Middle East can have its perks. While towering, tax-free incomes are generally limited to the Gulf, what office spaces from Cairo to Amman lack in liras or dinars, they make up for in other departments. One of the curious comforts you might come across in the average Arab work environment is the luxury of your very own office butler, aka the tea/coffee boy (office boy if you will)!

While a tea boy might seem like the best thing to happen to your working life, the relationship you have with these tea and coffee suppliers can be rather more complex. We can’t quite place our finger on it - are they your best friend and caffeine buddy; or public enemy no. 1, source of coffee and tea politics, and out to spy on you for the big boss? Tea boy will do anything for you, but that often comes at a price. You can find that keeping him sweet (or bitter depending how you take your coffee) is more taxing than the job itself; and to illustrate why, here are 10 bitter tea-boy truths to contemplate while on your coffee break....

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He's brewing more than just tea and the perfect Turkish coffee. Often your tea boy has a hidden agenda. ‘What is it?,’ you may wonder... Only time and some hardcore investigating will tell.
Reduce

Image 1 of 10:  1 / 10He's brewing more than just tea and the perfect Turkish coffee. Often your tea boy has a hidden agenda. ‘What is it?,’ you may wonder... Only time and some hardcore investigating will tell.

Enlarge
The Anglicized name can be misleading. Our ‘tea boy’ can be boy-age or far older. He is likely as not a 65-year old father figure who checks that you're eating right and tells you when you've had quite enough caffeine for the day. His hot stuff comes in Lipton, herbal, Turkish and of course the classic 3in1 Nescafé mainstay of the region!
Reduce

Image 2 of 10:  2 / 10The Anglicized name can be misleading. Our ‘tea boy’ can be boy-age or far older. He is likely as not a 65-year old father figure who checks that you're eating right and tells you when you've had quite enough caffeine for the day. His hot stuff comes in Lipton, herbal, Turkish and of course the classic 3in1 Nescafé mainstay of the region!

Enlarge
The tea boy, while salaried by your company, may seem to be stretching those purse strings of yours: He’ll drop labored hints that he expects to be tipped 3al tale3 wel nazel (willy nilly).
Reduce

Image 3 of 10:  3 / 10The tea boy, while salaried by your company, may seem to be stretching those purse strings of yours: He’ll drop labored hints that he expects to be tipped 3al tale3 wel nazel (willy nilly).

Enlarge
You may assume that the CEO is running the show, but it’s actually the tea boy who’s top dog (Cultural reminder: avoid calling him or anyone a dog!). Everything in your offices comes back to tea and coffee politics. Upset the tea boy, and you can forget your morning coffee, worse still find flies floating with the mint in your afternoon tea.
Reduce

Image 4 of 10:  4 / 10You may assume that the CEO is running the show, but it’s actually the tea boy who’s top dog (Cultural reminder: avoid calling him or anyone a dog!). Everything in your offices comes back to tea and coffee politics. Upset the tea boy, and you can forget your morning coffee, worse still find flies floating with the mint in your afternoon tea.

Enlarge
You often feel like you have to walk on eggshells around the tea boy, and, rather than risk offending him, find yourself downing your 6th ‘hot’ beverage of the day! It’s not like you asked for number 4, 5 or 6 anyway.
Reduce

Image 5 of 10:  5 / 10You often feel like you have to walk on eggshells around the tea boy, and, rather than risk offending him, find yourself downing your 6th ‘hot’ beverage of the day! It’s not like you asked for number 4, 5 or 6 anyway.

Enlarge
Looking for the inside scoop? The tea boy is your best source. He has eyes and ears around the office, and no doubt he’s watching your every move. He talks to everyone, and listens religiously to workplace banter as he makes the coffee rounds. We’ve even heard stories of tea-boys wearing cameras on their ties to document office mischief!
Reduce

Image 6 of 10:  6 / 10Looking for the inside scoop? The tea boy is your best source. He has eyes and ears around the office, and no doubt he’s watching your every move. He talks to everyone, and listens religiously to workplace banter as he makes the coffee rounds. We’ve even heard stories of tea-boys wearing cameras on their ties to document office mischief!

Enlarge
Late to work? Gone too long on your lunch break? You can be sure this kind of behavior won't go unnoticed by the office boy. While tea boy may appear to be your best friend, behind that smile he’s often planning to rat you out to your boss!
Reduce

Image 7 of 10:  7 / 10Late to work? Gone too long on your lunch break? You can be sure this kind of behavior won't go unnoticed by the office boy. While tea boy may appear to be your best friend, behind that smile he’s often planning to rat you out to your boss!

Enlarge
Remind us again why he's there during Ramadan? Nobody's sipping on anything as work for the tea boy dwindles to nil. He’s sitting around, twiddling thumbs, staring into space and, you can betcha, focusing on his other mission... to monitor YOU.
Reduce

Image 8 of 10:  8 / 10Remind us again why he's there during Ramadan? Nobody's sipping on anything as work for the tea boy dwindles to nil. He’s sitting around, twiddling thumbs, staring into space and, you can betcha, focusing on his other mission... to monitor YOU.

Enlarge
Warning to expats: You may think you’re safe from prying ears while rattling away in English. But look again and you may notice a look of sudden interest crop up on the face of your tuned-in tea boy when discussing taboos or juicy goss! Assume that he understands more than ‘coffee’ and ‘tea.’
Reduce

Image 9 of 10:  9 / 10Warning to expats: You may think you’re safe from prying ears while rattling away in English. But look again and you may notice a look of sudden interest crop up on the face of your tuned-in tea boy when discussing taboos or juicy goss! Assume that he understands more than ‘coffee’ and ‘tea.’

Enlarge
Coffee & tea must flow freely! Don’t expect an interruption-free meeting with your tea boy around. No matter how often you arrange for tea/coffee ahead of the meeting, just as you’re mid-way through solving the Middle East crisis - he’ll come on in, conspicuously, all ceremony, song and dance, to disrupt the flow.
Reduce

Image 10 of 10:  10 / 10Coffee & tea must flow freely! Don’t expect an interruption-free meeting with your tea boy around. No matter how often you arrange for tea/coffee ahead of the meeting, just as you’re mid-way through solving the Middle East crisis - he’ll come on in, conspicuously, all ceremony, song and dance, to disrupt the flow.

Enlarge

1

He's brewing more than just tea and the perfect Turkish coffee. Often your tea boy has a hidden agenda. ‘What is it?,’ you may wonder... Only time and some hardcore investigating will tell.

Image 1 of 10He's brewing more than just tea and the perfect Turkish coffee. Often your tea boy has a hidden agenda. ‘What is it?,’ you may wonder... Only time and some hardcore investigating will tell.

2

The Anglicized name can be misleading. Our ‘tea boy’ can be boy-age or far older. He is likely as not a 65-year old father figure who checks that you're eating right and tells you when you've had quite enough caffeine for the day. His hot stuff comes in Lipton, herbal, Turkish and of course the classic 3in1 Nescafé mainstay of the region!

Image 2 of 10The Anglicized name can be misleading. Our ‘tea boy’ can be boy-age or far older. He is likely as not a 65-year old father figure who checks that you're eating right and tells you when you've had quite enough caffeine for the day. His hot stuff comes in Lipton, herbal, Turkish and of course the classic 3in1 Nescafé mainstay of the region!

3

The tea boy, while salaried by your company, may seem to be stretching those purse strings of yours: He’ll drop labored hints that he expects to be tipped 3al tale3 wel nazel (willy nilly).

Image 3 of 10The tea boy, while salaried by your company, may seem to be stretching those purse strings of yours: He’ll drop labored hints that he expects to be tipped 3al tale3 wel nazel (willy nilly).

4

You may assume that the CEO is running the show, but it’s actually the tea boy who’s top dog (Cultural reminder: avoid calling him or anyone a dog!). Everything in your offices comes back to tea and coffee politics. Upset the tea boy, and you can forget your morning coffee, worse still find flies floating with the mint in your afternoon tea.

Image 4 of 10You may assume that the CEO is running the show, but it’s actually the tea boy who’s top dog (Cultural reminder: avoid calling him or anyone a dog!). Everything in your offices comes back to tea and coffee politics. Upset the tea boy, and you can forget your morning coffee, worse still find flies floating with the mint in your afternoon tea.

5

You often feel like you have to walk on eggshells around the tea boy, and, rather than risk offending him, find yourself downing your 6th ‘hot’ beverage of the day! It’s not like you asked for number 4, 5 or 6 anyway.

Image 5 of 10You often feel like you have to walk on eggshells around the tea boy, and, rather than risk offending him, find yourself downing your 6th ‘hot’ beverage of the day! It’s not like you asked for number 4, 5 or 6 anyway.

6

Looking for the inside scoop? The tea boy is your best source. He has eyes and ears around the office, and no doubt he’s watching your every move. He talks to everyone, and listens religiously to workplace banter as he makes the coffee rounds. We’ve even heard stories of tea-boys wearing cameras on their ties to document office mischief!

Image 6 of 10Looking for the inside scoop? The tea boy is your best source. He has eyes and ears around the office, and no doubt he’s watching your every move. He talks to everyone, and listens religiously to workplace banter as he makes the coffee rounds. We’ve even heard stories of tea-boys wearing cameras on their ties to document office mischief!

7

Late to work? Gone too long on your lunch break? You can be sure this kind of behavior won't go unnoticed by the office boy. While tea boy may appear to be your best friend, behind that smile he’s often planning to rat you out to your boss!

Image 7 of 10Late to work? Gone too long on your lunch break? You can be sure this kind of behavior won't go unnoticed by the office boy. While tea boy may appear to be your best friend, behind that smile he’s often planning to rat you out to your boss!

8

Remind us again why he's there during Ramadan? Nobody's sipping on anything as work for the tea boy dwindles to nil. He’s sitting around, twiddling thumbs, staring into space and, you can betcha, focusing on his other mission... to monitor YOU.

Image 8 of 10Remind us again why he's there during Ramadan? Nobody's sipping on anything as work for the tea boy dwindles to nil. He’s sitting around, twiddling thumbs, staring into space and, you can betcha, focusing on his other mission... to monitor YOU.

9

Warning to expats: You may think you’re safe from prying ears while rattling away in English. But look again and you may notice a look of sudden interest crop up on the face of your tuned-in tea boy when discussing taboos or juicy goss! Assume that he understands more than ‘coffee’ and ‘tea.’

Image 9 of 10Warning to expats: You may think you’re safe from prying ears while rattling away in English. But look again and you may notice a look of sudden interest crop up on the face of your tuned-in tea boy when discussing taboos or juicy goss! Assume that he understands more than ‘coffee’ and ‘tea.’

10

Coffee & tea must flow freely! Don’t expect an interruption-free meeting with your tea boy around. No matter how often you arrange for tea/coffee ahead of the meeting, just as you’re mid-way through solving the Middle East crisis - he’ll come on in, conspicuously, all ceremony, song and dance, to disrupt the flow.

Image 10 of 10Coffee & tea must flow freely! Don’t expect an interruption-free meeting with your tea boy around. No matter how often you arrange for tea/coffee ahead of the meeting, just as you’re mid-way through solving the Middle East crisis - he’ll come on in, conspicuously, all ceremony, song and dance, to disrupt the flow.

Reduce

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