Friday, June 01, 2007

Grocery Store Artifact: Not passive-agressive, just aggressive

I previously worked at a place where due to the slobs wrecking the break room the privilege of tables, couch, refrigerator, microwave and everything else was revoked. Basically the employees had access to a water fountain to get a drink and had to plastic classroom chairs to sit on. It sucked that so many people would eat and then just leave stuff on the table that we were forced to take away the amenities.

I'm not the sort that leaves polite notes in the break room to keep the microwave clean an dispose of your trash. My style is from the old school of management: "KEEP IT CLEAN OR I TAKE IT AWAY." In a heartbeat I will take away the microwave, put a lock on the refrigerator and put away all the other toys that make life bearable.

I hate coming in and spending precious minutes of my lunch (which will inevitably be interrupted) cleaning up after adults who abandon a table top full of used microwaveable trays, spilled drinks and wrappers. I dislike prying my lunch bag from the sticky shelf in the refrigerator it has adhered to. I do not want to have to forcibly peel the bag off a shelf like it was a naked, dead fat guy in a vinyl chair on a hot day. Yesterday, I came across this in a cabinet:

Furry, green beef jerky. Ugh.

So I decided to spend some time cleaning up a bit. Which by "cleaning" I mean opening cabinets and dumping entire shelves of old food, moldy cake, half full bottles of vitamin-enriched water and other items into the garbage. If it was edible (or formerly edible) and I saw it was there over a period of two days it was in the garbage. It was a break room holocaust.

While I was cleaning an employee came in, saw what I was doing and asked "Do you, like, do this at home?"

Clean? Yes, occasionally I like to sit on non-gritty couches and eat off plates that do not have bits of old food encrusted on them. Spoiled food will quickly make rotten other foods, a waste of precious money and time. I also shower. I moved out from home a long time ago and Mommy does not clean up after me any longer. That's why I got married.

FYI: Dirt destroys things. It is entropy. Things do not improve with age or use. They break down. The break room will not hold. Want to know why the Government still has in service vehicles and equipment from the 1950s? Because every time they are used in the field they get cleaned and maintained. If I spend $800 on a clothes dryer you can bet your bippy I will clean the lint trap before every load.

I'm not fussy or a Felix Unger. I just don't want to sit down for a meal at work and have threads of a sticky something trailing from the bottom of my coffee cup when I pick it up from the table.

Some people complained about the break room being cleaned.
"I put a soda in there last Thursday and now it's gone."
  • Oh, you mean the uncovered fountain drink with the straw in it I looked at every day for six days? Yeah, I threw it out. The cup was soaked through and was leaking all over the shelf and dripping down onto other stuff.
"Hey! My sammich is gone! Some [expletive deleted] stole it!"
  • No. The dark threads of mold spreading out from the thumb print in the center of the slice of bread bothered me so I threw it in the garbage.
"Did you throw out my Doritos?"
  • I don't know. Which one of the eight bags containing crushed Doritos powder in the refrigerator was yours?
"Where is all my Tupperware/insulated lunch bags/non-spill travel cups?"
  • In the sink or in plastic bags. Take them home by tomorrow because if you don't, when I leave at end of my shift tomorrow I will be throwing all of them into the trash.
"I was going to eat those tamales, man."
  • No, you were in fact not going to eat them. From the date on the receipt, I saw that the three uncovered Tamales were put in the freezer in late April. It is the end of June. They were freezer-burned. They had ice cream spilled on them. Into the trash they went.
Makes me wonder what some living spaces look like.

One thing I look for in cleaning up a break room is financial opportunity. Not lost wallets or forgotten purses, mind you. I don't roll like that. For instance, I keep my eyes peeled for that moldy sandwich with an image of the Virgin Mary/Michelle Pfeiffer on it. I'll sell that in an on line auction in a second! Cha-ching!



  1. How the heck could anyone with an ounce of self respect not clean up after lunch? And why would anyone leave a half full drink sitting around? Like it gets better with age?

    Several years ago, the company I worked for shared the floor with one other company. The guys from the other company wiped their boogers on the wall when they were peeing in the unrinals. I've seen that other places as well. Why would someone do something that stupid?

  2. And the truly sad part is that your co-workers (who are apparently destined to die in their old age when a pile of 37 year old newspapers stacked floor-to-ceiling topples over on them as they thread their way through a labyrinthe of their own filth in some dank apartment which they have not exited in at least a decade) are looking at you as though YOU are the insane one because you have at least some standards of personal hygeine. Un-frackin'-believable!


Moderation enabled only because of trolling, racist, homophobic hate-mongers.

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.