We need to talk about the work fridge…

If you work in an office, school or any sort of institution where there are many staff members, you will know what I mean when I say with dread, “the work fridge”.

That hive of half-bottles of sour milk, lunches from last week forgotten when a last-minute invitation to eat out came along, plastic containers of mouldy left-overs put there by an employee who left three months ago…ugh!

I try to use the work fridge as little as possible. But yesterday, I had cause to store a sandwich there. 
I noticed a patch of spilt milk on one of the shelves. What did I do? Nothing. I probably should have, but I rarely use the tea- and coffee-making facilities, so decided to ignore it. 
But today, same bat-place, same bat-time, I had cause to open that fridge again. Da-dooooowwww! Same patch of spilt milk from yesterday. OK, it had to be me who cleaned it, but I wondered why no one else, including those who use the fridge three or four times every day, had considered wiping up that spilt milk.  


Now, about 50 people use this staff kitchen regularly, most of them opening the fridge to get milk for their tea or coffee. On the bench is a notice, “Clean up after yourself”. And the bench itself is pretty clean, though someone used and discarded a teaspoon in the sink this morning (like, rinse it and put it in the rack already, it takes 3 seconds!).
I guess technically, no one actually spilt the milk. It probably came out itself through a lid not on tightly enough.
Or am I being too picky? People do call me a hygiene freak, after all.
But I wonder what their fridges at home look like inside.

8 thoughts on “We need to talk about the work fridge…

  1. I totally agree with you about the work fridge, Caron. People really need to be responsible for their own messes; I don’t think that’s just you at all. And you do have to wonder what some people’s home fridges are like…

  2. You are not too picky. I worked for an agency once where the fridge should have been condemned by the board of health. Disgusting. Management sent all staff memo after memo. Then they removed the fridge and we all had to suffer because of one or two gross individuals who thought cleaning up after themselves was beneath them. Much as I missed the fridge Management was right. If you can’t be a considerate, well-behaved, courteous and respectful adult than you deserve to be treated, and punished, like a child. What’s sad is that you take innocent people with you.

    • At a previous workplace, I saw people take milk from the fridge, add it to their coffee or tea, then just walk off, leaving the milk out on the bench. I felt like saying something to them (it happened several times), but didn’t want to for fear of being ridiculed as the “fridge police”. In the “olden days” (20 years ago), we actually had cleaners (though people still shouldn’t act like pigs, of course). But now, it seems workplaces don’t have cleaners any more. At another place I work at, this has resulted in a cockroach problem. Ick!

        • I know. And it’s people of all ages, too. I’ve seen a resurgence of people littering, too. Just dropping empty drink bottles and the like on the street, or leaving them on the train seat they were sitting on. Kids in classes leave all manner of discarded stuff behind, including tissues, water bottles and fruit peelings. Teachers too, I might add! I can’t count the number of used coffee cups I take to the trash from the teacher’s desk in classrooms and work stations in staff rooms.

          • I encounter the same thing here. Just this morning at Starbucks I found myself cleaning up after 3 different people. And you’re right — they are all different ages. How difficult is it to dispose of an empty paper cup or a used tissue for heaven sake? In the apartment building where I live there are a couple of grocery carts available for the convenience of tenants with lots of bags, etc. I am one of very few people who returns them to the area where they are kept when I am done. The majority of people just put them in the elevator, expecting someone else to return them. It drives me insane!

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