The office kitchen.
A place of relaxation and a break from the computer screen, a tranquil yet delicate atmosphere is needed to maintain the balance in this breeding ground for awkwardness. Many unspoken rules command office kitchen etiquette, but the main ones are…
- Don’t eat anything noisy or smelly
- You burn it or accidentally eat it, you buy it
- Never use someone else’s mug.
It was this final unspoken rule, my dear friends, that was callously broken in the office kitchen this week. And it wasn’t just any mug, oh no…
…it was my mug.
My favourite mug, no less. I can hear your gasps of horror already. I know. The nerve.
It was Thursday morning, about ten minutes before the monthly team meeting, where strong tea is crucial to making it through the three hours in full consciousness. Having attended five of these meetings since I started my job, I have discovered that timing the making of a good cup of tea right before the meeting can make or break you.
So, at ten to ten, I head to the kitchen. I go to the dishwasher, expecting to retrieve my orange penguin classics mug, denoting Jane Austen’s Persuasion, from the dishwasher.
But before I even reached it, something stopped me in my tracks. There it was, on the worktop.
Hmm. That’s weird. What’s it doing there? As I moved closer, what I saw shocked me to my very core.
Coffee granules. Waiting patiently to be bathed in boiling water and mixed with milk. In my mug. My bloody mug. My. Mug.
Oh hell no.
How can this be? Everyone knows this is my mug, my obsession with penguin classics is evident to all who know me. I collect them, I have a notepad…IT’S ON MY HANDBAG FOR CRYING OUT LOUD.
Somebody is using MY MUG?!
I’m appalled. This is completely inappropriate. That mug should be used for tea and tea only. Who is this person that insists on breaking the rules? I demand to confront this vagabond of unspoken office kitchen etiquette.
And then, there they were. They swept in, took the mug over to the urn, made their coffee and off they went. The worst part? THEY’RE IN MY TEAM.
Crap. Now what? What am I supposed to do? Should I say something? How do people deal with this type of situation?
I stood there inwardly debating my next move long enough to almost miss the start of the meeting. In the end, I reconciled to a plain white mug they keep on the side for spares, like the singles table at a wedding or those without a date. relegated to the benches at a school dance.
My tea tasted horrible.
And so, for the next three hours, in the spirit of being dreadfully British, I said nothing but threw serious eye daggers as I sat across from my mug’s captor, forced to watch as they enjoyed their coffee slowly and painfully.
After the meeting, I waited for them to leave for the day before going in search. I found it abandoned in the sink, still harbouring the last of the cold coffee dregs.
Unbelievable. Couldn’t even finish their drink. No respect.
It’s safe to say, I’m never using that dishwasher again, that’s for sure. Now that I know it’s basically a prime spot for mug crime, my mug is now washed at home and escorted to and from the office every day.
That’ll show ‘em.