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The Things Guests Do


I know lots of people don’t like to see signs, or put up signs, but I am tempted to label everything in my house and put up signs with explicit instructions on how to operate everything.

I have a Ninja coffee machine with a stainless steel thermal carafe. You can’t see through it like you can a glass carafe.

Upon welcoming guests into my home I point to the coffee maker and tell them there will be a fresh pot of coffee waiting for them in the morning.

Guest gets up and decides to feel the outside of the carafe to see if there’s still hot coffee. Well, it’s thermal, so the outside is cool to the touch. Guest decides that since the pot is cool, all the hot coffee must be gone. Doesn’t think to pick the carafe up. So he takes it upon himself to make a fresh pot. He finds the filters and coffee, sets it all up and turns on the machine. Mind you, the carafe was full of coffee. So, the coffee machine does its thing, and the carafe overflows, all over my counter, into the silverware drawer underneath, down the front of the lower cabinet and all over my tile floor with pristine white grout.

As a host, I do my best to anticipate things guests won’t understand, but jeez!


Easy solution, don’t make the coffee. Set it up and put a note to push the button. Also, you won’t waste coffee as not everyone drinks it.


Your coffee machine sounds great but I am afraid it sounds much too sophisticated for the average guest. I find the vast majority of people even struggle to use a dishwasher properly … (Clogging, not stacking etc.) I would replace it with a simple cafetiere.


Obviously a sign can’t fix this. LOL.

Part of what we think of as common sense is just a matter of experience. No matter how simple one person might think something was if another person has never used it, it won’t be simple. I’d never used a “simple”
cafetiere, aka french press until I stayed in an airbnb with one. I had to google how to use it. I stayed in another airbnb with a Keurig and it took two of us 15 minutes to get it to work. Irritating as heck. I’ve had Japanese guests who didn’t know what my electric kettle was because they asked about using my kitchen to boil water on a stove to make noodles.


Ditto for me with the French press and the Keurig, I’m embarrassed to say. It seems all our friends have one or the other but I’d never learned to use either at their homes because I don’t drink coffee at night.

I had to learn on the fly in personal rentals. There’s a first time for everything and I agree with K9Karma, it was irritating as heck! I need my coffee when I wake up and don’t need to learn something new in that foggy state of mind.


Is a French press a ‘cafetiere’ ?


A cafetière is French for any kind of coffee maker. Could be a French press type or not.


I’d used a Keurig several times prior to being in a self contained airbnb with one. That one just wasn’t working well. Once we figured out that we had to very forcefully push the handle down after inserting the pod…slam it shut really…it worked.


@K9KarmaCasa - aha! Perseverance wins out!

After we (er, he) figured it out, I decided I didn’t like the taste of the coffee pods anyway – too weak, so I bought those instant Starbucks Via packets. They come real close to putting some hair on the chest.


Ah in the UK it is a very specific type of coffee maker - basically a larger jug with a plunger.


We solved the issues with the appliances by putting together a binder with the manufacturer’s instructions for all the devices (French press, convection oven, induction plate, dishwasher, etc) We also made laminated copies so they can be wiped clean. These are tucked in a drawer.


Yes, the Americans call it a French Press and the French … well none of our French guests has known how to use it without being shown!

Everyone should do what the Spanish do and go to a cafe or bar for their coffee!


In British English cafetiere means French press (plunger). In French cafetiere means any type of coffee maker!


So if even a cafetiere is too complicated for guests, how about one of those plastic coffee filter cones which sit on top of a cup or jug? (Some use paper filters) I have a jug with a washable filter cone (Bodum) and guests don’t get confused. Sometimes they make a mess emptying the grinds into the compost but not too bad.


Aha! I’d wondered before what a French Press is. Now I know. It’s like duvets and comforters. Or rather, not - as they are two different things. All these years and I’m still not speaking American.

Some years ago…
Me (on the phone to pizza shop): I’d like to order some pizzas for collection please.
American man in pizza shop: How many pies?
Me: No pies. I want pizzas.

Note to non-Americans - they call pizzas pies. :wink:

And speaking of pizzas, have you ever had a pizza with broccoli as a topping? That was the result of my Yorkshire accent ordering a pizza with black olives.


I work in the coffee industry - you would be surprised how often this happens in an office setting (at least once a week)! What I found useful was a laminated card that says “Coffee made” with the date and time written w/ a dry erase marker.

Another thing I’ve done is put up a sign that says “Please double check pot is empty before brewing a pot”.

I have signs/labels EVERYWHERE. Anything to make it as “regular Joe” proofed as possible!


Many will disagree wholeheartedly, but I would say: “Hallelujah INSTANT coffee!” We provide warm water in a thermos and there’s instant coffee. For those who complain: There’s excellent coffee to be found nearby.


Yes anything that is different from what guests have at home is confusing. I can’t tell you how many complaints I have gotten that the Bosch dishwasher won’t run (quiet so can’t hear it) or won’t dry (dries like restaurant dishwasher).

I’ve labeled many things in an effort to help guests use them properly


I once had a guest collar me just before 8 am (my apartment is next door to the rental) asking me to show her how to turn off the light under the wall-mounted microwave. It’s the button on the aforementioned appliance with an icon depicting a little light bulb on it…


You got that right, but not everywhere in America, mostly the Bronx and Brooklyn where we order a large or small pie or a slice! America is a melange of cultures! Very complicated

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