Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Someone must die

Just dandy for dunking piss-off biscuits

Would any court in the world convict me for killing those bastards who leave bits of instant coffee in the sugar?

I've thought about it and I really don't think so. After all, it looks like crumbs of mouse shite and no-one, no matter how much they like mouses, enjoys the thought of specks of rodent poop in their tea.

I really don't understand how it happens. Coffee will only stick to a wet spoon, therefore Someone is taking a wet spoon, dipping it in the coffee jar and then dipping it in the sugar and leaving behind little skidmarks of coffee. How does the spoon get wet in the first place? Is Someone licking it?

I hate the taste of coffee, so the thought of bits of it sullying my tea makes me feel rather... ill. And soiled. It's not as though this is a rare thing, either. It's happened in every office I've ever worked in. Sometimes, when the sugar was getting low at my first paper, there'd end up being more coffee in the jar than sugar and most of what sugar there was would be in wettish clumps.

That kitchen was pretty rank, though. A new HR person came in just after I left and declared war on the teaspoons. I think she tried washing them, bleaching them and irradiating them, but they were so encrusted with tannin, mank and pre-millennial milk that one day she went all OCD on the cutlery drawer and binned the lot. She was the same chick who used to blitzkrieg the fridge at 4pm every Friday afternoon. If your Tupperware was still in there, you could kiss its plasticky little arse goodbye.

But that wasn't really a surprise. I've always known that most HR people were useless wankers who didn't have enough to do with themselves.

Then, of course, there are the people who will napalm any person who uses their mug. I've seen a woman walk around a cube farm covering an entire floor, stop at every desk and ask the same question: "Have you seen my mug? It's bright red. You can't miss it. Are you sure you haven't seen it? It's red." The whole time, she was surreptitiously looking behind piles of paper and in filing trays, just in case her mug was there and the person was trying to keep it from her. Because of course, a mug just isn't the same after it's been used and abused by a random. It would have alien spit on it and have to be washed properly, using detergent and that yucky kitchen sponge that no-one ever rinses properly. You know the one - the one that smells like socks.

The kitchen commandments are relatively simple. I don't understand why no bastard seems able to stick to them.

  1. Thou shalt supply thine own mug.
  2. Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's mug even if it is decorated with Gough Whitlam's Dismissal quote about no-one being able to save the Governor General.
  3. Thou shalt not allow thy mug to grow furry and blue, yea but though shalt wash it after each and every use.
  4. Thou shalt not besmirch the sugar with thy little crumbs of coffee, otherwise the wrath of the Lord of the Kitchen shall be visited upon thine head and thou shalt be forced to eat the sponge from the sink. Yes, the smelly one that no-one wisheth to touch.
So. Someone, are you listening? Yes, I'm talking to you. Stop leaving crumbs of coffee turd in the sugar or I shall smite thine arse into the middle of next week.

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At 1:30 am, August 22, 2007, Blogger Ariel said...

I covet that mug in 2)!

At 7:12 am, August 22, 2007, Blogger Chesty LaRue said...

Oh, so many bug bears. So many. The whole kitchen etiquette thing is so simple, and yet, it goes so horribly wrong on such a regular basis.

Really, how hard can it be to clean your teaspoons people. HOW HARD?

At 11:07 am, August 22, 2007, Blogger Milly Moo said...

LOL Brilliant article, Red Cap!
And so very true...unfortunately

It's normally blokes who do it. A quick rinse of the teaspoon under the tap, then 'putz!' straight into the blend43 and 'ftt' into the sugar. Perhaps you could wean yourself off the sugar because that's more likely going to ease your nausea that the hope of any sugar shitter lifting their game

At 11:21 am, August 22, 2007, Anonymous Harriet said...

Am totally against office kitchens. Management should kindly allow staff members a couple of 20 min breaks per day to nip down to the nearest cafe and enjoy a tea/coffee in a mug they don't have to clean.
They can then sack the HR person (let's face it - launching war on dirty teaspoons is an HR person's only job) and use that exorbitant wage to make up for the loss of productivity during those coffee breaks.
Win-win for EVERYBODY.
Sigh. Logical, no?

At 11:52 am, August 22, 2007, Blogger redcap said...

ariel, I covet that mug too. I wish I'd bought one from Old Parliament House last time I was in Cantberra.

chesty, I know! And don't get me started on office microwaves.

milly, ma ha ha! "Sugar shitter"! That's gold. I'm going to use that from now on :D

harriet, actually, I'd prefer not having to work for a living at all. They could just pay us the HR person's salary to keep us and our lousy attitudes out of the office.

At 12:50 pm, August 22, 2007, Blogger Eleanor Bloom said...

I agree very much re the HR uselessness (even more so after reading that Airheads book).

A boyfriend once nicked from a cafe for me the sugar pourer (Now what ever happened to that..?). It was awesome. None of the guys I lived with could mess it up. I suggest you find one of those (although you may want to keep it in your desk as people have a nasty way of stealing them, tsk).

The other option (I'm feeling just so helpful today) is to give up on the sugar in your tea and replace it with your own secret stash of Ginger Nuts to dunk it the tea (lotsa sugar there, mmmm).

Ooh! Better would be to get an old fashioned tea lady called Esme or something to rattle her trolley round bringing you all tea and scones. (All done with the HR's salary of course.)

At 5:28 pm, August 22, 2007, Blogger Sakura said...

Hell Yeah! Thankfully I am all alone in my little office and my own little kitchen all to myself - ahhhhhh the tranquility. If I don't want to wash my spoon I won't, if I want to briefly rinse my cup I shall and if I want to clean the bastard like a mutant I will. It has been a real revolution to me.
My previous office kitchen was disgusting and don't even ask about the bloody microwave *my stomach turned just thinking about it* it was like someone decided to explode a shit in it! Honestly ! I have been set free people.

At 7:27 pm, August 22, 2007, Blogger River said...

Great idea from Eleanor Bloom. I always wanted to be a tea lady. I actually enjoy washing dishes and can guarantee fresh bikkies and the occasional homemade treat (brownies anyone?).

At 9:28 pm, August 22, 2007, Blogger Practically Perfect said...

I was drinking a cup of tea as I read this. I almost spat it out as soon as I saw the photo. It's all brilliance.

I think I might print of your rules for the kitchen. And love them. And stroke them. And stick them up at work in the hope that someone reads them.

The answer to the coffee in the sugar scenario is clearly that they stir their cup of coffee with the spoon - and then dunk it into the sugar, without worrying about what is left behind.

Or they're licking their spoon. Either way, they're probably savages.

I vote BYO own mug + sugar + brain cells = tidy kitchen.

Our kitchen is so disgusting at work that things are walking out on their own accord. We have created life more intelligent than the idiots that I work with.

At 9:30 pm, August 22, 2007, Anonymous Rosanna said...

That was me, but I am insane and can't sign in.

At 9:52 pm, August 22, 2007, Anonymous Teddy said...

Hey, Cafe Bar machine, foam disposable cups to feed the dolphins and wooden stirring sticks from the rain forest and all problems solved.
Oh, and there are such things as single serves of sugar--even sugar cubes.
Then again, drink coke

At 10:36 pm, August 22, 2007, Blogger redcap said...

eleanor, all tea ladies should be called Esme. In fact, I'd like to be a tea lady called Esme. I make a mean scone.

sakura, exploded a shit in it? Oh, dear. I just had the nastiest mental image ~shudders~

river, mmmm... brownies. I've got an extremely good brownie recipe myself. Anyone would think they had drugs in them, they're so addictive.

rosanna, brain cells? Three quarters of the population has none to spare. That's probably asking a little much, I'm sorry to say :(

ted, I would normally agree, but somehow on a cold day, warm Diet Coke just don't cut it as a pick-me-up hand warmer.

At 11:13 am, August 23, 2007, Blogger gigglewick said...

People have broken their entire careers by inadvertently using some one else's mug.

I sometimes go without tea just so that I don't offend anyone by using their mug (we have "individual" mugs and then a "class set", allegedly for visitors).

Rosters are the DEVIL'S WORK - they make everyone feel like they're contributing, but in reality it's still the same old chumps washing dishes every second day while other people breeze in and out with nary a care for kitchen cleanliness.

The workplace really isn't the venue to live out your passive-aggressive share-house "I bought the bread last week for crying out loud where are all the nice biscuits and why am I the only one who ever vaccuums?" tendencies.

And yet, that seems to be the accepted practice.

At 11:22 am, August 23, 2007, Anonymous "QueenZelda said...

my friend works at a bigger, more evil firm than me.. they have a tea lady. She comes to their offices twice a day and gives out tim tams and mini corporate muffins.

i obviously didn't sell my soul to the highest bidder. :(

"A mountain of sugar is too much for one man. Now I know why God portions it off in those tiny little packets and lives on a plantation in Hawaii"

At 7:04 pm, August 23, 2007, Blogger River said...

Hey Teddy, our staff lunchroom installed a cafe-bar thingy and now it's just as disgusting as the rest of the room with coffe, milo and sugar crumbs everywhere. No improvement at all.

At 8:50 pm, August 23, 2007, Blogger ashleigh said...

I think I might print out your commandments of the work kitchen and pin them up.

Though seriously, our work kitchen is pretty good. Must be the cleaning ladies who come through and sort out the mess, though they won't touch mugs left on desks.

And besides, mugs only need a really good cleaning every 3 or 4 months anyhow. The boiling water sterilises them :)

During a safety audit thingy at work, my colleague found the toxic waste dump:


(Those post makes entertaining reading: http://snodgrass.net.au/?p=73)

At 9:13 pm, August 23, 2007, Anonymous Clyde said...

Ah River, there may be a few crumbs around the Cafe Bar but definitely no "sugar shitter" and those dolphin choking foam cups are always clean and no one steals yours

At 9:15 pm, August 23, 2007, Blogger Lonie Polony said...

I'm trying to stifle my non-coffee-drinking smugness here, because I understand how you feel about communal kitchens. I wash my (soup) mug and lunch cutlery with my hands, because I refuse to use the sponge I've seen people wipe benches, cupboards and floors with. *Shudder*

At 9:15 am, August 24, 2007, Anonymous Teddy said...

Hey River
At least with a cafe bar or similar, the sugar is flushed down a dispensing chute and a separate chute from the coffee so so floaties in your tea. And you have the wooden stirers that not too many people lick and replace. And you can hold your cup above all of the rubbish on the bottom.
Still going with the diet coke.

At 3:14 pm, August 24, 2007, Blogger gigglewick said...

Lonie Polony,



At 3:24 pm, August 24, 2007, Blogger redcap said...

gw, the office kitchen is soooo share house, isn't it? It's really not that hard to wash the dishes as you use them. Sheesh.

queenzelda, wow - a real, live tea lady? The last tea lady I heard of was retired from the ABC about eight years ago...

river, euww. Sounds like the kettle in our kitchen. From the state of the lid, I'm wondering whether someone has used it to toast a sandwich.

ashleigh, nice theory, but no banana. I think you actually have to boil something for several minutes to sterilise it, not just swish some boiling water around.

clyde, you're back! I wondered where you'd gone :)

lonie, people just don't get sponge etiquette, do they? My sister-in-law will happily pick up the chux and mop a spill from the floor. It's like people washing their dogs' bowls in the dishwasher with their own crockery. Icky.

ted, ah Diet Coke. Such a tasty, refreshing way to poison onself.

At 9:45 pm, August 25, 2007, Anonymous Clyde said...

Hello Red. I've been lurking with nothing to say.
But I've been reading. I'll always return
I do like your slant on life

At 11:41 pm, August 25, 2007, Blogger phishez_rule said...

We don't have kitchen wars at work. We have our own stuff and thats that. We have individual packets of coffee and sugar. I have my own jar of coffee that no-one is brave enough to help themselves to. Though they know if they can muster the courage to ask, I'd let them have a cup.

We have 'bin wars' at home. I am sick of taking out the bins, so we don't use them anymore. There is currently half a bottle of milk that went out of date in the fridge, and has been sitting on the floor for a week. Its gone completely solid and its swollen to all crap. I think I've seen it quiver a few times over the last few days.

Oh, did I mention its not mine?

At 10:43 am, August 26, 2007, Blogger redcap said...

clyde, you lurker, you ;)

phishez, I have to admit to a bit of a fascination with stuff that's gone funny in the fridge. Philadelphia Cream Cheese is my favourite because it's in its own little petrie dish and has a clear lid for easy viewing.

At 12:48 pm, August 26, 2007, Blogger kiki said...

that's what you get for drinking instant coffee.
there's a hidden message in this story. don't drink instant coffee, it's shit

At 12:51 pm, August 26, 2007, Blogger redcap said...

kiki, all coffee is shit, as far as I'm concerned. I can't stand the taste of the stuff. I drink about two cups of tea a week, so finding any sort of coffee in the sugar would shit me.

At 4:56 pm, August 26, 2007, Blogger PetStarr said...

Oh my god redcap... don't tell me you're one of THEM! One of those odd people who get so incensed about stray bits of coffee in the sugar bowl that they feel moved to put texta to post-it and leave little self-righteous notes all over the work kitchen like "THE SUGAR BOWL IS FOR SUGAR, NOT SUGAR AND COFFEE!!!! PLS WIPE YOUR SPOON FIRST!!!!!!!!"

Because I HATE THOSE PEOPLE! It's a few bits of Nescafe, fucking deal with it!

Having said that, I don't actually use sugar in anything so I wouldn't know if it was actually annoying or not.

At 5:08 pm, August 26, 2007, Blogger redcap said...

pet, no, I'm not one of THEM. I don't write post-its. I don't send out all-of-staff emails. I just look at the sugar and think, "Aren't people filthy c*nts?" and try to shake the jar so that I don't get any mouse poop in my tea. And no sugar? Christ, next you won't be using chips or alcohol and we'll have to have you put down for your own good ;)

At 8:58 pm, August 27, 2007, Blogger raoul duke said...

I'm with Petstarr on this one and largely because most of the offices I've worked in think it's perfectly ok to provide international roast coffee for their work-a-day chumps. Listen: just like appearing in government ads and slapping your wife around IT'S NEVER OK TO PUT ON INTERNATIONAL ROAST. If you do, be warned, I won't just leave clumps of sugar in it, I'll poo in the tin. Then when someone asks if the coffee tastes like shit I can say, nah, it's just international roast.

At 10:35 pm, August 27, 2007, Blogger redcap said...

raoul, isn't "International Roast coffee" an oxymoron? And I suspect that if someone was used to drinking International Roast, they wouldn't notice any difference if you shat in the can. Perhaps The Tuesday Bandit could be enlisted to try the experiment?

At 5:03 am, September 01, 2007, Blogger tonypark said...

It's the ones who leave tea bags in the sink who should be horsewhipped.

Thanks for your comments on my book. Really appreciated it.


At 11:21 pm, September 01, 2007, Blogger redcap said...

tony, ooh, that is a filthy habit. Thanks for taking the time for a reciprocal visit when you're obviously doing so many fun things :)

At 9:02 pm, September 06, 2007, Blogger Miss Natalie said...

my third day in my second real estate job i got a coffee from the kitchen using any 'clean' mug and the directors wife (sales agent) came up to my deck and said 'get your coffee out of my mug' as a little 19 YO I just whimpered and pured my coffee into another mug - fast forward a few years I wouldve said a grand ol' fuck you and walked straight out ;-)

my ex BF used to annoy me by leaving his teaspoon in the sink without rinsing and all the spoons had a stain grrrr

At 7:44 pm, September 07, 2007, Blogger redcap said...

miss natalie, what a complete bitch! If only you could have poured that coffee on her feet and said, "Fine. It's out of your mug."

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