Keurig Coffee Maker: Spank and Burp
We've all been there, and for what it's worth, this is not an Onion article: 

You wake up, fire up the coffee machine, and hunt and gather via your refrigerator. A couple minutes later, you place the single serving K-cup in your Keurig coffee maker, press 'brew'...and nothing. You try again, and you get a quarter cup of coffee. Advanced trouble-shooting skills kick in, and you press the same button over and over again which only results in the machine spitting (some unidentified carbon mass) at you. You notice the 'de-scale' message for the first time. Whatever THAT means.

Annoyed, you locate the manual. Ahhh, mineral content build-up. That makes sense! Clean the K-cup cartridge and the needles. Check the filters. Attempt to pump a gallon of white vinegar through the system. Still nothing. Still the 'de-scale' message. Call customer service. Wait on hold for 20 minutes. Have a customer service rep notify you that another customer service rep will have to get back to you. Within 48 hours. Not a good sign. So? To the Google!

You find a site that looks promising. People with the same issues -- reading from the oldest posts first -- you find some interesting and creative techniques. Use a toothpick to clean the needle. No, a paperclip. How about the straw attached to one of those little fruit juice boxes? And then suck? (I kid you not). Finally someone suggests just 'whacking' it. I'm amused. I keep reading becoming even more entertained. Slap it, spank it, burp it...they all say. Which then turns into hundreds of comments regaling (or so I thought) the "effectiveness" of these strategies. Don't believe me? See here.

I wasn't buying any of it though since people actually started engaging in online karaoke:  

"I was cracking up when I read this. I googled "why won't my keurig take water?" and I found this. I was skeptical but then I thought, how could I go wrong. Everyone is saying that it works. I saw that some wrote that you have to really slap it. I didn't want to damage it but I had to do something. I turned it over and started slapping away. Nothing major. Just a good slap on the bottom and sides. I flipped it over and voila! It works again! 

Now I have to get the song out of my head. I've written the lyrics you can hum to the tune of "rock the casbah" from the 80's as you slap your beloved keurig. 

you're really gonna like it (yeah)
Slap the Keurig
Slap the Keurig

Have you slapped your Keurig today?"
Turns out that's an ear-worm, just FYI. But I couldn't stop reading. And it wasn't until I came across the next comment that I starting taking the slapping-strategy seriously. Because you don't understand, I mean here is someone that subtlety recognizes "appliances are people too":
"Honestly, I don't think it needs to be descaled. I was having very similar problems, tried all the 'reasonable' sounding remedies, nothing worked. Last resort - I gave the coffee maker a good whack on the side (the side opposite the water reservoir). It fixed the water flow problem immediately.

There seems to be a defect in the model and I've had the issue a few times since my original post, and smacking the thing on the side works. Really. Believe me, I'm the last person you would imagine who would abuse an appliance."
Nothing could stop me now; I knew what I had to do. And yes, I did just that. I turned that bad-boy over the sink and spanked it like it just stole my lunch money (another tip from the comments), all the while humming and grooving to the ear-worm. "Slap the Keurig, Slap the Keurig..." I heard a gush of air release itself as water flowed from every mechanical orifice. And I knew my job here was done: My Keurig had burped. Because You Loved Me Because I spanked it. 

A couple days later, a customer service representative finally returned my call. Here's a snippet of our conversation: 

Rep: Mind if I ask you how you resolved the issue?
Me: (singing) Spank, spank, spank.
                        Spank, spank, spank.
                        Spank your Keurig.
                        Spank your Keu-RIG!

Rep: (pauses) K.C. and the Sunshine Band?
Me: Yep, but I'm sure I can do better...
Rep: No, that's ok, it's what I thought the first time. Is there anything ELSE I can help you with today?
Me: Yes, sometimes "appliance violence" is necessary. And you should update your troubleshooting manual accordingly with the spank-and-burp technique to overcome what is an obvious design flaw that traps air bubbles in the filtering system, preventing water from flowing properly. Often times it has nothing to do with the 'de-scaling' message. Apparently everyone knows about this except you. It's not that complicated. So do us all a favor, and just google it. 
Rep: (deadpan serious) Failing to de-scale every 3-6 months, per the instructions, may cause the unit to malfunction. Thank you for choosing world-class Keurig products. Please let us know if there is anything else we can assist you with in the future. Have a nice day. 


True story. And more evidence of customer service reps bots. Catching the K.C. and the Sunshine Band reference is confusing though. As you were, Corporate America