Each month at my company a different department is selected, chosen, ordered to go and clean the company kitchen. It's not that time consuming and doesn't require a lot of work, but we all bitch and moan when it comes time for our department to do it because, well, if we're not complaining, we're not happy.
This year my department pulled December, which seemed super sweet in January 2009 but when December 23 hit and we realized that we still hadn't cleaned the fridge we did go into a bit of a panic. See, it's the holidays and half of my department is out on personal vacations so we are super busy and had no idea when we would get a chance to do our duty. (Though in all honesty, I don't know what would happen to us if we just "forgot" and let the January group do it.)
Last Monday we decided we had to go ahead and clean the kitchen, which means we have to clean the fridge, the four microwaves, and wipe down the counters. In the 20 minutes of cleaning that followed, I complied a list of thoughts which I think will help you, my readers, understand what it is like to clean a kitchen in an office.
Holy hell. Did you ever hear the urban legend about the old woman who dries her dog off in the microwave? And you can just imagine what that would look like? Well, this is what the microwaves look like at work. It took me 10 minutes to scrub out ONE microwave. It had all this baked on red sauce because I guess the only food people eat at lunch is of the Italian persuasion.
I know that in this difficult economy that shopping in bulk saves money. But what doesn't make sense to me is why you would then feel the need to bring in your institutional size container of yogurt, shredded cheese, etc. and keep it in the fridge that approximately 150 employees have to share.
Speaking of keeping vast quantities of food in a shared space, ladies (cause I know it's not the dudes in the office) what is the deal with the Lean Cuisines? There are always STACKS of them in the freezer. Let me tell you something, I have never know anyone who has lost weight eating those things. Sure, I indulge from time to time when I don't feel like making lunch, but they are not good for you. Have you ever checked the sodium levels on those things? And aren't we supposed to be a somewhat green company? Those little black trays, plastic wrap, and boxes can't be good for the environment....
I completely understand how gross the powdered non-dairy creamer is that the company provides up for the coffee, but it is what we have so we make do. But there is no reason that if you spill some you can't grab a damp paper towel and wipe it up. The counters when I got in to clean on Monday looked like the counters of a Columbian drug lord. No one should be surprised when the DEA shows up because of the piles of powdery white stuff.
And lastly, The Rules:
When it is the day that the kitchen is going to be cleaned the department in charge sends out reminders to have your food out of the kitchen by 3:00PM. Generally, 3 reminders are sent. We do this because any food left in the fridge gets tossed. We don't care if it's still good or in pricey Tupperware container. It all goes in the trash. So when 3:30 rolls around and we are done cleaning, please don't come to our desks asking where your can of Diet Coke is. We threw it out, per the company cleaning rules*. Sure, you can yell at us all you want, but we don't send out those reminders for us. We were kinda angsty on Monday so pitching $20 worth of lunch meat and cheese that you decided to keep in the fridge brought a smile to our faces.
On a side note, at least we didn't find any alcohol this time around. About 2 years ago we were cleaning the kitchen and found 6 cans of Old Style in a lunch bag. So, like all other food, we pitched it.
~ The Office Scribe
* Okay, I'll say it - I don't throw out unopened cans of pop or bottles of water. I bring them back to my desk and thank the co-workers for keeping me hydrated.
"If it's not your butt, don't touch it"
3 months ago