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17 bad habits of the corporate kitchen

There is always one

It’s Monday morning and you have just logged in to your computer. The early morning depression of actually having to get up out of your nice cozy bed and drag yourself to the ordeal of work has properly kicked in. You decide to go get a coffee.

With mug in hand you wander along the corridors of your office to the most sacred spot in the building, the communal kitchen. What meets your eyes as you turn the corner in to this haloed location fills your brain with dread and anger.

Piles of empty plates and mugs festoon the sink with significant quantities of sugar and coffee granules littering both the worktops and floor. Someone has left a half eaten apple sitting on top of the swing bin and the sheer volume of trash inside has meant the receptacle has spilled out in to a surrounding pile at its feet. The moisture from the small mountain of used tea bags has finally run its course to the bottom of the bin and is now leaking out a crack in the bottom, mingling nicely with the rubbish that has spilled out the top.

An unknown sticky substance seems to have leaked all over one of the worktops and you are not entirely sure whether it is a foodstuff or just the remnants of something that has decayed. There is something inside the microwave, it could be alive but you don’t have the bottle to open the door and find out as sometimes it will try to bite your hand off.

You go to open the fridge door and the unholy smell that greets you is enough to almost lay you out on the floor. Did something really die in there? It might just be the case that someone is be conducting a biological weapons test inside the fridge and you consider leaving a post it note on the front to warn off other intrepid explorers.

It turns out that the office cleaner has finally refused to deal with the weekly apocalypse that the kitchen has become and proceeded to storm out of the building last Friday. With arms flailing and muttering some form of guttural Portuguese in a loud and angry tone of voice she was gone and that is the last anyone will ever see of her.

This is not a good thing in itself but it has now had the added effect of giving the kitchen an extra two days of fermentation time.

It looks like the kitchen skanks have been busy again. Time to forget that nice mug of coffee.

How it ever got this far and the 17 types of people who let it get there

1. The fridge biochemist

Some people use the fridge to store things that need to be kept cool temporarily. Others will use the fridge as some form of experimentation device for finding a new form of penicillin. When the mould starts to develop into a new life form and possibly reach full sentience then it’s probably time to put it in the bin. You might be fascinated by the squidgy stuff and wonder quite how far it can creep up the side of the fridge but I can guarantee you are the only one.

mad-scientist

2. The teabag mountaineer

You could just put the tea bag in the bin like a civilised person or you can play the tea bag mountain game where you stack all your tea bags in some communal pile and watch as they turn a funny colour over a period of time. The nice shades and hues may appeal to your artistic nature but the rest of us are trying not to catch something that is going to put us in hospital. Or the morgue.

3. The teaspoon balancer

When you make a cup of tea you could just rinse out the spoon after using it and place it on the neat little saucer that the office enforcer has left there for the purpose of storing it temporarily between uses. Or you can play the tea spoon stacking game where everyone sees how many tea spoons they can balance on the edge of the sink. Loser has to lick them, what no-one explained that rule to you first?

4. The soup monster

I love soup. It’s a great lunchtime filler that is both hearty and satisfying. Great if you are on a budget. What’s not so great about soup is when it is splattered over most of the kitchen worktop during the process of getting it out of the can. Some people then feel the need to leave the can on the worktop just to let everyone know what flavour it is.

microwave

5. The microwave splatterer

Those microwaveable lunch pots that are meat but not really meat have lids for a reason. There is always someone who takes great delight in creating a new Jackson Pollock mural every day inside the microwave. Please take note – no-one ever cleans the microwave.

6. The obscure foreign lunch eater

That Scandinavian fermented fish might be a strong part of your ethnic heritage but you are very much the only one who thinks like that. In this case cultural diversity is about to lead to smell diversity. Just be warned, everyone knows it’s you.

7. The leave it on your desk merchant

You may have almost finished that bowl of cereal about 6 weeks ago but is it really ready to go back to the kitchen for a wash? No harm in giving it a few more weeks on your desk where everyone, including senior management, can see it. Why not give it some extra maturation time in the kitchen sink before someone finally puts it in the bin.

timeteam

8. The Tupperware time capsule

At some stage Phil from Time Team is going to open a trench on top of the remnants of the fridge and find a sealed Tupperware box inside. By then they may be able to carbon date it to Roman times.

9. The cheese monger

I love a nice strong French cheese with a glass of deep dark Burgundy wine. Unfortunately they don’t let me drink at work which is a pity. Shame they don’t also have a similar rule about the cheese.

10. The gourmet chef

Like a corporate Jamie Oliver you prepare a dish of exquisite beauty and delicate flavours for all those around you to marvel at. Pity you don’t have a team of reprobate teenagers to go clean up the aftermath once you have finished.

An antique coffee grinder

11. The coffee connoisseur

It may involve some form of metallic device that you push down or even an electrically driven version that putt putts away in the back like some steam train. Pity no-one knows how to open the damn thing and clean it.

12. The unsure meeting sandwiches

Someone kindly brought out the leftover sandwiches from an important meeting so that all their colleagues in the office could have a free bite to eat. Pity that was three weeks ago and the platter has sat there all that time as no-one quite knows when its appropriate to remove it.

13. The bin aimer

Why place your tea bag in the bin when you can project it catapult style at high velocity in the random direction of the wall with the flick of a teaspoon?

A still from the film Memento

14. The come back and get it later amnesiac

Did you forget your house keys this morning? Perhaps it was your office pass? No? Was it something else, perhaps involving a microwave. No, you don’t really remember that do you?

15. The frozen archaeologist

There is something in the freezer compartment that has been there for so long that its probably capable of chasing Kurt Russell* round an arctic research station. The only reason you are all still alive in the office is because it is centrally heated.

16. The teabag squeezer refuser

Why waste time, effort and valuable calories squeezing your teabag before you put it in the bin? There is a guy making Jackson Pollock paintings in the microwave and you thought you would give him a run for his money with a nice floor mural.

17. The old cake retainer

We should keep it, he might still have another bit. The cake from Doreen’s birthday is still in the kitchen and starting to look a bit mouldy. Not surprising since Doreen died two years ago.

bacteria

Summary

Office kitchens are among some of the most contaminated places on Earth. The aliens may land and conquer our cities but the moment they hit your average communal corporate kitchen the sheer quantity of bacteria will wipe them out in seconds.

Understand that there are even more forms of heinous type of kitchen skank and that this is just the start of a very long list. Don’t be one of them.

* Kurt Russell is a famous movie star from the 1980’s. He was married to Goldie Hawn**.
** She was a famous movie star from the 1980’s. Have you lot never seen Private Benjamin?

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Dolan Wright

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Dolan is a recent Business studies graduate and wannabe startup entrepreneur. His detailed knowledge of business and adventures in the commercial world make him a good source of advice.

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