Insanity in the office kitchen/break room

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mike143
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Insanity in the office kitchen/break room

Post by mike143 » Tue Aug 20, 2013 3:53 pm

How do other people handle the insanity in their office kitchen/break room. People seem to lack any concern. Leave things to grow in the fridge, leave the smallest piece of something possible as not to clean the serving dish, clog the ice maker after making notes/signs providing tips on preventing it (then ignoring it), leave a quarter cup of coffee as not to make another pot, or better yet take the last cup and turn the coffee maker off at 8am (we start at 7:30am), etc. I have stopped drinking work coffee due to this behavior and that help but the other things are really starting to bug me again.

I guess its not only the kitchen it happens throughout the office, the bathroom, paper towels, the copier, out of paper and go to another copier, stapler, tape dispensers, it never ends.

Is this par for the course in offices or am I working with some special people?
Last edited by mike143 on Tue Aug 20, 2013 3:58 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Chan_va
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Re: Insanity in the office kitchen/break room

Post by Chan_va » Tue Aug 20, 2013 3:55 pm

I suggest filing a TPS report. That should clear it up.

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Re: Insanity in the office kitchen/break room

Post by Tigermoose » Tue Aug 20, 2013 3:56 pm

mike143 wrote: People seem to lack any concern.
Try that.
Institutions matter

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mike143
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Re: Insanity in the office kitchen/break room

Post by mike143 » Tue Aug 20, 2013 3:56 pm

Chan_va wrote:I suggest filing a TPS report. That should clear it up.
I actually have the red stapler.
Nothing is free, someone pays...You can't spend your way to financial freedom.

hicabob
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Re: Insanity in the office kitchen/break room

Post by hicabob » Tue Aug 20, 2013 3:58 pm

We used to pay one of the assemblers to keep it clean - and yes, she could and did write mean notes to the most inconsiderate people.

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BrandonBogle
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Re: Insanity in the office kitchen/break room

Post by BrandonBogle » Tue Aug 20, 2013 4:01 pm

In two of my previous jobs, it was like that. One was my high school and college job (first job), and the other was my job during graduate school. Both were in the service industry, but only the first one predominantly employed college students in that location. I am happy to report that all my other jobs, service-oriented or white-collar office-type did not follow that norm.

In my current job though, there is a cleaning crew that takes care of the restrooms and break rooms daily and every Saturday at noon they dump everything left in the refrigerator, regardless of if it looks "new". And the coffee machine is an instant dispenser. So it could be that this job would have that environment if the employer didn't have a service crew taking care of that for us.

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Re: Insanity in the office kitchen/break room

Post by livesoft » Tue Aug 20, 2013 4:02 pm

We assign the head of HR to take care of it. She either gets the custodian to clean things up or she does it herself.

Of course, this is better: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RzToNo7A-94
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mike143
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Re: Insanity in the office kitchen/break room

Post by mike143 » Tue Aug 20, 2013 4:06 pm

BrandonBogle wrote:In two of my previous jobs, it was like that. One was my high school and college job (first job), and the other was my job during graduate school. Both were in the service industry, but only the first one predominantly employed college students in that location. I am happy to report that all my other jobs, service-oriented or white-collar office-type did not follow that norm.

In my current job though, there is a cleaning crew that takes care of the restrooms and break rooms daily and every Saturday at noon they dump everything left in the refrigerator, regardless of if it looks "new". And the coffee machine is an instant dispenser. So it could be that this job would have that environment if the employer didn't have a service crew taking care of that for us.
This is a white-collar environment. Our HR person makes the first pot since they are here early and they don't even drink coffee. We have someone that does general cleaning. I am talking about intraday activities.
livesoft wrote:Of course, this is better: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RzToNo7A-94
Still the best super bowl commercial, I laugh so hard when I first saw it.
Nothing is free, someone pays...You can't spend your way to financial freedom.

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Re: Insanity in the office kitchen/break room

Post by jebmke » Tue Aug 20, 2013 4:20 pm

At my last job (in a large facility), we closed all the kitchens and had a local independent coffee shop come in and open an onsite coffee shop.
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Re: Insanity in the office kitchen/break room

Post by BrandonBogle » Tue Aug 20, 2013 4:22 pm

mike143 wrote:
livesoft wrote:Of course, this is better: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RzToNo7A-94
Still the best super bowl commercial, I laugh so hard when I first saw it.
Thanks livesoft!! I remember the Office Linebacker commercials and loved them, but never saw this extended version before!

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BrandonBogle
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Re: Insanity in the office kitchen/break room

Post by BrandonBogle » Tue Aug 20, 2013 4:25 pm

jebmke wrote:At my last job (in a large facility), we closed all the kitchens and had a local independent coffee shop come in and open an onsite coffee shop.
We are fortunate to have done a similar setup. We have Seattle's Best on the bottom floor of my building and Starbucks on the bottom floor of the next building (inter-connected so we don't have to walk outside). We have other retail food establishments down there too.

But in our break rooms, it's instant dispenser coffee, a snack food vending machine, and Coke and Pepsi vending machines. One of our other offices has the fancy Coke machine that mixes the syrup and soda live, so you can pick from like 30 different flavors.

Perks of going into the office :)

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englishgirl
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Re: Insanity in the office kitchen/break room

Post by englishgirl » Tue Aug 20, 2013 4:29 pm

Our office has been much happier since we got a Keurig coffee maker. It's more expensive, and all those little plastic cups can't be good for the environment, but it did wonders for improving sanity.

We also get a notice every month that everything in the fridge will be dumped unless it has a name AND a recent date on it.

But really, if your office is big enough that this is a serious issue, you should have someone whose job includes the cleanup duties. If the problem is that management don't think anyone is needed, then you probably need to be the squeaky wheel and report all the infractions to them. If nobody is bothering them so they don't think this is a problem, why should they hire someone to fix it?
Sarah

barnaclebob
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Re: Insanity in the office kitchen/break room

Post by barnaclebob » Tue Aug 20, 2013 4:34 pm

I stopped using the fridge long ago. The grocery bag lunch people always forget them until the whole fridge was packed. The last straw was when a bottle of fermented juice fell out and spilled on my shoes. Don't get me started on the people who load up a personal 12 pack of coke at the beginning of the week either...

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Re: Insanity in the office kitchen/break room

Post by stan1 » Tue Aug 20, 2013 4:58 pm

Life is short .... why stress out about these things?

I've found that there's usually one or two peoplw who will volunteer for fridge duty, and will mercilessly throw everything out on Friday after lunch to start fresh on Monday. Seems some people actually enjoy this role -- it is cathartic. Just a matter of finding who this person is in your office, and letting him/her loose.

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Re: Insanity in the office kitchen/break room

Post by wintermute » Tue Aug 20, 2013 5:46 pm

Tragedy of the commons.

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prudent
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Re: Insanity in the office kitchen/break room

Post by prudent » Tue Aug 20, 2013 7:29 pm

We don't have communal refrigerators, just coffee machines. I probably have 5 or 6 cups a day (decaf), and make 4 or 5 pots because almost every time the pot has a few drops left in it. I've timed it - it takes about 35 seconds to make a pot of coffee, yet the dozens of highly-compensated professionals who get their coffee in that breakroom just refuse to make any coffee. I've seen them come in to get coffee, see an empty pot, then just walk away emptyhanded (emptycupped?) instead of making some.

You can literally make a pot without taking a single step. Everything is right there - sink, trash, filters, coffee all within arm's reach.

The coffeemaker has three pots - two for regular and one decaf. It's not uncommon to see all three pots with a quarter-inch of coffee left.

When I'm ready to retire I think I'll make a little sign that warns everyone there may never be any more coffee made after <my retirement date> but until then I will gladly give lessons if anyone is interested.

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mike143
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Re: Insanity in the office kitchen/break room

Post by mike143 » Tue Aug 20, 2013 7:37 pm

We are only a office a little over 20. People only pull the shenanigans when nobody is watching. We would bust each others chops if we saw someone doing it.
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Re: Insanity in the office kitchen/break room

Post by playtothebeat » Wed Aug 21, 2013 9:55 am

I got tired of the fact that the coffee in the office tastes burned, so I have a french press in my own office and make a fresh cup every morning. Problem solved.
We have a monthly fridge clean up as well where everything gets thrown out and we bring someone in to scrub it clean

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Re: Insanity in the office kitchen/break room

Post by Luke Duke » Wed Aug 21, 2013 10:15 am


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dm200
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Re: Insanity in the office kitchen/break room

Post by dm200 » Wed Aug 21, 2013 10:27 am

This is a common "issue". At one former employer (small company, 15-20 employees), an occasional problem would be that a bag lunch would occasionally disappear (we guessed someone stole it and ate it!).

At one point, the company assigned (with her full consent and agreement) the receptionist (the major part of her job was routing help desk phone calls) to do some organizing, very light cleanup and "policing" the kitchen area. She put up a BIG sign "You Mother doesn't work here! Clean up after yourself!" That helped. The sign was very funny when the company actually hired her son. Then, she added a "footnote" - except for "Joe".

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Re: Insanity in the office kitchen/break room

Post by Faith20879 » Wed Aug 21, 2013 11:36 am

OP,

You are not alone. I work in a median size corp. On my wing, about 30 people share a small kitchenette that has a frig, a couple of microwaves, a coffee maker, and a cleaning crew that comes around by the hour. There are constantly dirty dishes/cups sitting in the sink and food remnants scattered on the counter or in the sink. I have had my lunch stolen once or twice in the last 30 years. But I don't let that bother me a bit. What I’ve yet to get use to is when someone cooks fish in the microwave and the stench would permeate and fill the whole floor. I would just wish…

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Re: Insanity in the office kitchen/break room

Post by gerrym51 » Wed Aug 21, 2013 11:37 am

must be a slow news day

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mike143
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Re: Insanity in the office kitchen/break room

Post by mike143 » Wed Aug 21, 2013 11:46 am

Faith20879 wrote:What I’ve yet to get use to is when someone cooks fish in the microwave and the stench would permeate and fill the whole floor. I would just wish…
I use to do tuna fish and mixed veggies in the microwave at work, they asked me to stop so I heated the veggies up and there was enough heat remaining to warm the tuna when mixed in.
Nothing is free, someone pays...You can't spend your way to financial freedom.

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Re: Insanity in the office kitchen/break room

Post by barnaclebob » Wed Aug 21, 2013 11:52 am

mike143 wrote:
Faith20879 wrote:What I’ve yet to get use to is when someone cooks fish in the microwave and the stench would permeate and fill the whole floor. I would just wish…
I use to do tuna fish and mixed veggies in the microwave at work, they asked me to stop so I heated the veggies up and there was enough heat remaining to warm the tuna when mixed in.
So you made a post complaining about how others use the kitchenette but you eat one of the worst smelling things possible at work?

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Re: Insanity in the office kitchen/break room

Post by hicabob » Wed Aug 21, 2013 11:55 am

barnaclebob wrote:
mike143 wrote:
Faith20879 wrote:What I’ve yet to get use to is when someone cooks fish in the microwave and the stench would permeate and fill the whole floor. I would just wish…
I use to do tuna fish and mixed veggies in the microwave at work, they asked me to stop so I heated the veggies up and there was enough heat remaining to warm the tuna when mixed in.
So you made a post complaining about how others use the kitchenette but you eat one of the worst smelling things possible at work?

Tuna's wimpy compared to some of the more esoteric Asian fish dishes our assemblers enjoyed. The spring rolls, salads and other delicacies they would bring in to share more than made up for it though

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Re: Insanity in the office kitchen/break room

Post by bungalow10 » Wed Aug 21, 2013 11:59 am

An elephant for a dime is only a good deal if you need an elephant and have a dime.

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mephistophles
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Re: Insanity in the office kitchen/break room

Post by mephistophles » Wed Aug 21, 2013 1:20 pm

Manager, or person in charge, sets rules, has meeting with all to explain rules. If rules not followed reasonably, then close down break room entirely. A person I know had to do this awhile back and it worked.

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Re: Insanity in the office kitchen/break room

Post by Quickfoot » Wed Aug 21, 2013 1:33 pm

Our IT infrastructure people are also the site administrators, you can guess how well that's working out. This morning we have 16 pounds of creamer and 0 pounds of sugar and we are a supply chain management company lol.

Talk with site administration, otherwise talk to management and suggest the policies you want to institute, they'll probably say yes because it makes their life easier. Generally if you raise a problem or concern you also want to have a solution otherwise management will ignore you.

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Re: Insanity in the office kitchen/break room

Post by TSR » Wed Aug 21, 2013 1:55 pm

The best way to deal with this is a zen-like attitude adjustment. I am the "coffee guy" at my workplace. I order the coffee grounds, collect money for it, and make sure it's always available. Because I do this, I also try to make coffee fairly regularly. I get very frustrated when people only leave a quarter cup in the pot so that they don't have to replace it. I get very frustrated when people make coffee without cleaning the pot first. I get very frustrated when they use the sink water instead of the filtered water (which tastes noticeably better).

But what I have learned is that I am only able to SEE what other people do -- not what I do. There are times when I have made a pot of coffee that morning, go to get my own coffee later that day, finish the pot, and then tell myself that I don't have to make another pot because I have already made one that day. Thus, I leave someone else to make the exact same discovery that I make many days -- the dreaded empty pot. And yet, I would happily report to a third-party that I am the responsible one at work. This is like the classic issue of two roommates who both report that they do the most housework.

None of this is to suggest that you are not actually more responsible (in truth, I actually AM more responsible than many people at my office about this stuff), but just that you need to realize that (1) you are not perfect, and (2) any time a group is involved, the individual imperfections will be magnified because they will affect everyone. It's a fact of life. This is a hard thing to realize and deal with, and I struggle with it daily (including today when I walked toward the coffee pot and found it empty).

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mike143
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Re: Insanity in the office kitchen/break room

Post by mike143 » Wed Aug 21, 2013 1:58 pm

barnaclebob wrote:
mike143 wrote:
Faith20879 wrote:What I’ve yet to get use to is when someone cooks fish in the microwave and the stench would permeate and fill the whole floor. I would just wish…
I use to do tuna fish and mixed veggies in the microwave at work, they asked me to stop so I heated the veggies up and there was enough heat remaining to warm the tuna when mixed in.
So you made a post complaining about how others use the kitchenette but you eat one of the worst smelling things possible at work?
It only happened a few times and someone let me know it was offensive and I adjusted my preparation methods which resulted in all parties being happy.

I am usually the one to unclog the ice maker due to others not realizing how their actions effect others. So as of today I no longer use company ice, someone else's problem now. I did the same thing with the coffee, I bring my own from home.

I know this is trivial but its the small things that get to you. It so simple/quick to be considerate of others but no one takes the time.
Nothing is free, someone pays...You can't spend your way to financial freedom.

protagonist
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Re: Insanity in the office kitchen/break room

Post by protagonist » Sat Aug 24, 2013 12:07 am

Tigermoose wrote:
mike143 wrote: People seem to lack any concern.
Try that.

I love Tigermoose's advice.
Life is too short to sweat the small stuff.
If it is your company, and it bothers you, you might hire somebody to clean it more often.
If not, live with it. It beats making enemies. Choose your battles wisely.

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Re: Insanity in the office kitchen/break room

Post by Ruprecht » Sat Aug 24, 2013 6:46 am

You think that's insane? Recently, everyone in my office started giving names to food and drinks in the company fridge. How weird is that, right?
Yesterday I had a tuna sandwich named Kevin.

protagonist
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Re: Insanity in the office kitchen/break room

Post by protagonist » Sat Aug 24, 2013 7:24 am

Ruprecht wrote: Yesterday I had a tuna sandwich named Kevin.
That's nothing compared to the laugh I still get every time I go to my favorite windsurfing spot in W Dennis, MA and pass this road sign. And yes, I admit I am puerile...no need to rub it in....https://secure.flickr.com/photos/dougto ... teringmass

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