Etiquette Tip of the Week: Shelf-ish Behavior
By Callista Gould, Author and Certified Etiquette Instructor
The workplace battle lines were drawn. (If I could do that Good, Bad and The Ugly whistle, I would.)
Was it a contentious battle over a promotion? No.
Was it a #metoo moment? No.
It was the office fridge.
A woman told me her family was running low on milk. She went to the grocery store over her lunch break, brought back a gallon of milk and put it in the office fridge, planning to take it home at the end of the day.
A co-worker poured the entire gallon of milk into the sink, then pitched the container into the trash.
Why? The milk was on his shelf in the fridge. The office fridge was subdivided, so everyone had a section to place their lunch. “My space was the drawer,” the milk buyer explained. “A gallon of milk wouldn’t fit in there.”
I know what you’re thinking. That is really upsetting when someone takes your shelf in the office fridge.
Or, you might be thinking, what kind of bat-crazy person tosses a gallon of milk? Couldn’t this be solved with a little face-to-face?
We’ve been here before. Two years ago, I wrote a column about people having their coffee creamer filched from the office fridge. The huge response was second only to the “Bothersome Buzzwords” column.
The number one recommendation? An additive to the creamer to dissuade thieves. (Naughty readers! I wrote in the follow-up column.)
Can a conflict be solved with a face-to-face conversation? We should always try.
Sometimes an unbalanced co-worker can’t be reasoned with. In that case, steer clear.
One email came after the follow-up creamer column was published – a man said his sandwich kept disappearing from the office fridge. His solution? A dogfood sandwich. His sandwich disappeared that day… but never again.
Can we talk?