Major Faux Pas In the Company Kitchenette

Looting other people’s food from the fridge.  First off, this is a ballsy move on a number of levels.  There’s risk involved – the risk of being caught mid-snatch by the food owner.  Second; you often have no idea what you are stealing.  Based on some of the things seen in refrigerators in most offices, you could be grabbing anything from a home lab experiment to a piece of fuzzy-blue chicken.  The assumption on the thief’s part is that hunger is worse than eating someone else’s leftover tuna casserole.  To execute this maneuver you have to have a stomach of cast iron and a willingness to look the other way on things like flavor or food poisoning.

The most common solution to this is to label your food.  Let’s face it though, someone willing to gamble with botulism and terminal indigestion is not going to be blocked by your name on a paper bag.  In fact, they can use that information to be more selective about who they steal from.

While we’re on the subject of refrigerators, how about throwing out your food at the end of the day?  Mysterious brown paper bags or Kroger shopping bags are left in refrigerators for generations.  Many are the kind of things that archaeologists dream of, a glimpse into society’s eating patterns 5-20 years ago when the bag was abandoned.  The most grievous offenders are those that come into the office two days later, put their fresh sack in the fridge, see the bag they neglected days ago – but leave it to ferment and congeal on its own.  There is no punishment harsh enough for these sick repeat-offending bastards.

Many people recommend a hard-and-fast rule of tossing any unlabeled food at the end of the work day.  That’s great – but who gets to draw that duty?  Sounds like a perfect job for the summer intern.

Don’t be a lazy bastard.  If you smell something rotting in the community refrigerator, toss it.  Better yet, if it has the name of the owner on it, put in one of their desk drawers after hours and let it continue it’s fermentation in their closed office.

Your manufactured stench.  Your exotic dish from your native land makes the rest of us nauseous.  There, I said it.  I have no idea why you would think that your curry saturated, habanero pepper marinated, jerked chicken is appropriate to bring into a kitchenette and nuke up.  The billowing mushroom cloud of noxious fumes permeating from your meal of semi-rancid meat is not only offensive, but is labeled as a potential weapon of mass destruction. Don’t believe me?  I’m already fast-dialing the Department of Homeland Security.

Oh, and on the subject of reeking food let’s talk about fish – a definite office no-no.  The odor of your Lean-Cuisine Lemon-dipped carp makes the office stink like Forrest Gump docking the Jenny at low-tide. It’s bad enough that you filled the kitchenette area with that foul aroma, but you then paraded your putrid feast out into the middle of Cubeville to further carpet-bomb the office with stench.

Not cleaning up after yourself.  Next to the refrigerator, there are two other toxic environments to be avoided – the community microwave and sink.  I’ll tackle the microwave first.  How in the name of God did you overcook something so much that it explodes inside of a microwave?    This is not new technology.  Most office microwaves could be marked as an EPA clean-up site.

Oh, and that stain you left on the counter – how about wiping it up?  That Rorschach Test-like stain is far from entertaining.  I particularly like the passive-aggressive individual that didn’t clean it up, but draped it in a paper towel three days ago.  Now it’s like a dead body of encrusted goo.

Dirty dishes, filthy coffee mugs etc do not contribute to the ambiance of the office kitchenette.  In fact they only serve as a reminder that my college roommates are still out there, still leaving their messes for others to clean up.

The typical solution to this that is often posed is to put a schedule up for rotating the assignment of cleaning any dishes left in the sink.  Yeah, that works on paper.  Like I’m going to stop for a half an hour to clean up after someone else at the end of the day…right.   One office I was in wanted to establish a lost and found for abandoned cups, plates and silverware.  Imagine the fun of digging through that box!

If you really want to break the pattern of behavior, throw the dishes in the trash after 6:00pm.  No dishes means no mess.  Sooner or later the offenders will run out of utensils, plates and coffee mugs.

Cleaning up – it’s not just for playtime anymore.

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