The cold truth about your colleagues: They’re inconsiderate
Close the door on these gross habits.
About three in four employees (71%) say they’ve have had their food stolen from the office fridge or kitchen, according to a survey by Peapod.com. And they aren’t just sitting idly by while it happens: nearly one in three (35%) have perpetrated some snack thievery themselves.
That may be why a Tweet of an office fridge, where the milk jugs were secured with actual locks, got people talking this week.
— The Poke (@ThePoke) June 12, 2017
One commenter even wrote, “that’s the sort of innovation the corporate world needs!”.
And it’s not just outright theft that gets us. We’re furious about people who take little samples of our food.
Office fridge game is strong pic.twitter.com/hC8gs4rrt2
— Sue Kemp (@iamdorisday) June 2, 2017
And leave stinky things in there.
Mouldy stinky Camembert in the fridge entire office stinks pic.twitter.com/n0wAmeqJLw
— Fran Revel-Chion (@FrancescaRC) September 14, 2016
We’re pissed at those who leave their food in the fridge for weeks.
— Tiffani (@DiggaloTiff) August 23, 2016
And those who just hog all the space.
Also tired of people who hog the office fridge. Take your groceries home and pack a lunch so the rest of us have room, asshats!
— terpette (@terpette) June 14, 2009
And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Indeed, the list is so long, there’s only one conclusion to make: The fridge has become a battleground at work.
Part of this is that while the office is hierarchical, everyone shares the fridge — so it’s a place you can assert your power even if you have little in the office, says Beverly Hills psychotherapist Fran Walfish, author of “The Self-Aware Parent“. It’s also a place where people can anonymously vent their workplace frustrations, she adds. Jealous of someone’s promotion? Move their food to a lower shelf. Colleague took credit for your idea? Eat their sandwich for lunch. Hate your work life in general? Spill something nasty in the fridge and leave it there.
Indeed, when it comes to the office fridge, “adults may regress into competition and jealousy, thinking, ‘what position in the fridge is my food?’ Or, ‘ is it on the same level or same position [as a rivals],” says Walfish. “Even executives, the highest elite, can resort to this.”
Moneyish has put together a list of things that workers just should NOT do in the office fridge. Here are 10.
- Lazily cover your food. Don’t leave foods partially uncovered or unwrapped; this makes them easier to spill. Avoid Saran Wrap because it can “buckle and become loose,” says Jane Finkle, co-founder of Career Visions. Instead, consider using Tupperware or a glass container with a tight lid.
- Bring in stinky foods. If it smells to high heaven, eat it for dinner at home, says Cohen. Certain cheeses and fish dishes should be avoided.
- Leave food in the fridge over the weekend. Career coach Roy Cohen says most food should be removed within 48 hours and at the very least by the end of the week. And please, don’t let mold grow on your food, says Call to Career founder Cheryl Palmer.
- Ignore the problem. Even if you don’t leave your food in the fridge, you can bet others do. Don’t pretend the problem isn’t there. “If something has been there for at least a week, and you have no reason to believe that someone is coming back for it, ask around the office to see whose food it is before throwing it out,” says Palmer. If it becomes a recurring problem, make sure kitchen rules get posted, says career coach Tina Mertel.
- Move other people’s food. Find a spot for your food without disrupting where everyone else’s food is by more than an inch or so.
- Take up an entire drawer or shelf with your food. Bring what you need, nothing else.
- Spill food and leave it there. Just no.
- Make wild accusations about who stole your food. You may suspect Joe in Accounting of stealing your salad, but without proof you can’t say a thing. “Think of eating and prepping food at work as another work behavior that either helps your impression at work or hurts it,” says Mertel. So,“be courteous to others.”
- Treat communal things in the fridge as disposable. When it comes to collective food like the office milk or creamer, if one is open, don’t open a second one.
- Make crazy labels for your food. Your initials or name is fine, a message like this is probably not.
— Becky (@Becky_Klatt) March 9, 2017
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