Slob Shaming is the New Black

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The fact that my day job forces me to work with people incapable of living on their own is not a new development. Every office has people that assume others will clean up after them, a Coffee Fairy swoops in to magically replace the last few swallows with a full pot, that plasticware and paper plates grow from the broken tines of discarded forks, the microwave removes the atrophied spaghetti and sauce stuck to the sides.


This is a very First World Problem, I understand that, but it still ticks me off. Here, all Styrofoam cups were removed, and people were responsible for bring their own cups for tea, water, coffee, whatever. A dishwasher was also installed in the kitchen, so people can put their cups in to be washed. Sounds great, but seriously who can’t wash their own cup at the end of the day? We could have signs up that say, “You Mother Doesn’t Work Here” but that implies that the person in question treats his or her mother like a slave, which is just too heartbreaking to imagine.

Instead, little passive-aggressive notes go up, hang around for a few hours, and then disappear. Whether or not the message gets to the intended person, I have no idea. That’s not the point. It’s Slob Shaming, and I fully endorse it. Early this week, someone used the toaster oven made a caked on mess of the the tray, and then left the tray sitting next to the toaster over, covered in whatever they cooked on it. For two days it sat there. Next to the toaster oven. Inviting ants.

I saw the tray yesterday sitting by the oven and got irritated. I *always* clean the tray when I’m done with it. Sometimes I have shrimp or something-batter dipped, and I’m conscious of others’ potential food allergies (shut up, I‘m sensitive). While I can’t expect others to have the same stellar home-training I received growing up, at least have the sense to put a dirty tray IN THE SINK – or here’s a novel idea IN THE DISHWASHER.

This morning, while making my 2nd pot of coffee (I am the Coffee Fairy, and I’m pretty irritated with that, too), I noticed the dirty tray standing up on the coffee maker with a simple one-word Post-It note.


This made me snort.

I can’t help myself. I added to it with a longer note.

“The assumption being that the kind of person who would leave a dirty oven tray for someone else to clean would also be the kind of person that would actually make a pot of coffee”

It didn’t come out all that great in the pic so the text is this:

“The assumption being that the kind of person who would leave a dirty oven tray for someone else to clean would also be the kind of person that would actually make a pot of coffee.” Translation: Why put it on the coffee maker when that person clearly doesn’t do anything for themselves. Why not put it in the server room, for all of the visibility it might get.

Oh, it got visibility.

Within an hour the note was a topic of conversation. Rumors persisted that it might be me that left the longer note (due to the coffee reference) but I mostly stayed out of it. I’ll make trouble, but I won’t perpetuate it (mostly). 3 hours later, the notes were gone and the tray was clean. I don’t know if the original perpetrator cleaned the tray (doubtful), or if someone finally just did it to keep the peace. It doesn’t matter. I’ll probably get a lecture on the importance of coming to management and admin to resolve interpersonal issues. At the very least, we can expect an email about cleanliness in the kitchen, but the basic fact remains, I should never have to go to admin or management about dirty people.  Next time I’ll just leave a shorter note:


Was I out of line?

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Just this fox. I'm a writer of horror and dark fantasy. I totally don't brag about it. The latter statement is an utter lie.
  • Micah
    May 9, 2013 - 1:56 pm

    I absolutely love the THIS IS WHY WE CAN’T HAVE NICE THINGS note. I recommend laminating it, or at least putting it in a plastic sleeve so it doesn’t get food crud on it.

  • Renee Anne
    May 9, 2013 - 5:07 pm

    Not one bit. When I worked in daycare, if I used something after our cook had left for the day, I would handwash it in the sink myself and put it away (or leave it in the drying rack, depending on what it was). The first thing I’d do in the morning was put it away. The only other dishes I did were baby bottles/bowls (because those using them couldn’t do it themselves). I refused to take care of someone else’s mess.

  • Molly
    May 13, 2013 - 12:20 am

    Nope, not out of line.

    We have the “your mom doesn’t work here” notes in the office, they do little good.

    We took to tossing out ALL the good flatware and cups and resorted to paper and plastic…so now the “trash” has moved to the inside of the fridge…and stuff left there for months.

    Wears me the hell out.

  • Ashley
    May 22, 2013 - 4:24 pm

    It’s basic stuff we learned when we were old enough to reach the sink. You use it, you clean it. Not out of line at all! I only wish I was there to see it hahaha.

    • little black duck
      May 27, 2013 - 10:36 am

      Whoops – this got caught in my spam filter.

      Every time we get new people in the office, it’s like a month-long re-training process on basic social, hygiene, and housekeeping skills.

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