Thursday, September 18, 2008

Thursday Rant - Germophobes Beware!

I'm changing things up this week! So, just to addle your brain (and mine), here's my Friday rant post...on Thursday!

I went into the kitchen at work on Monday for my normal morning snack (toast with nutella, tea). I'm setting the tea to steep, cleaning out my mug, filling my water bottle, putting the bread on to toast. Then I happen to look up at the closet door above the plastic cutlery. Here's what the sign posted there says:

These plastic utensils are meant to be disposable.
Once removed, do not return the utensils to the drawer.
Doing so could contaminate the rest of the utensils in the drawer.


My first thought, "ok, maybe someone's been stirring their tea with a knife or something, then putting it back in there. That's not great, but it's not terrible."

But no. It's worse.

Somebody (and we don't know who, and on what floor) would take out utensils, use them TO EAT WITH, then wash them and turn them to the drawer.

I think I just threw up in my mouth a little.

Now, don't get me wrong. I'm not a germophobe. I think that being exposed to a variety of microbes is good because it helps to keep our immune systems healthy and strong. But this is just wrong. I could deal with this if it was a good friend or family member, and there was no other plastic cutlery left. But some random stranger with god knows what in their mouth? Blech.

If they're trying to be all environmentally conscious, that's very good of them. They should reuse the plastic themselves, and not force other people to. Or bring their own silverware to reuse. But I'd rather not have some random stranger's germs marinating amidst the rest of the utensils that I use every day, thank you very much.


Romny said...

That is NASTY!

Here's a question, how would anyone know that they were using and returning? Did someone witness this?

The Lethological Gourmet said...

Someone did witness it. They saw the person eat with the utensils, wash them, and return them to the drawer. So they went and told someone, who told someone else, and then they posted the sign. But what I'm thinking is, how many people are there who do this who WEREN'T witnessed?

I'm taking the ones I use from the back of the drawer now.

Jenn said...

That is so gross! Seriously, if you want to be all green then bring your own. Why would they wash and return it to the drawer? Oh the agony of it all!

The Lethological Gourmet said...

It seriously wouldn't even occur to me to wash and return plastic forks to the drawer. Even in the interest of being environmentally friendly. I mean, who DOES that?

Charlotte said...

Um, I do this. I wash our disposable cutlery in the dishwasher and then reuse it all the time. It's perfect for the kids' lunchboxes because then if they accidentally throw it away, I'm not ticked. Although I will add that I would not do that in a work setting. But hey, if they washed it (with soap?) I mean that's something right??

The Lethological Gourmet said...

Charlotte, in family I wouldn't have as much problem with it, especially with little kids. But in a work setting, with a bunch of people I don't know? Ugh. At least they did wash it, but there's lots of little crevices in knives and between the tines of the forks that are hard to clean...

Crabby McSlacker said...

Dumb question: what's the difference between rewashing plastic cutlery and rewashing regular cutlery? Is the problem shared utensils, or is there something specific about plastic that grabs onto germs more than stainless steel?

Fortunately, I don't think I've been in a situation with shared plastic cutlery, but I'm not sure it would gross me out all that much as long as they're washed with soap and water. (But then I'm kind of disgustingly oblivious to germs since I never seem to get sick.)

The Lethological Gourmet said...

Well, I think at work, people should either wash and reuse their own, or just dispose of them (rather than washing and having other people reuse regardless of whether it's plastic or metal). Unless there's a dishwasher, then that's cool.

Because you never know whether someone gave it one little swipe with a grimy sponge or if they actually washed it well.

Romny said...

I bring my own plastic utensils. I'm not too confident that the regular forks, knives, and spoons are properly washed. I never know what's been in that kitchen. Yesterday there was a duck!

JavaChick said...

Yeah, I'm kind of on the fence about this. The utensils were washed, it's not like they put them back dirty. At my last office we had a kitchen stocked with real dishes and metal utensils that were used by everyone. That doesn't seem to be all that different - As long as the utensils are being washed properly with soap. When you go to a friend's house for dinner, do you take your own utensils?

The Lethological Gourmet said...

Java, that's a good point...but then I know my friends so I'm ok with it. Part of the problem here is that I have no idea who's doing this, so I have no idea if I'd be ok with eating with utensils they've used, in the event that they weren't cleaned properly. I don't have as much problem with real silverware, just because it's easier to give it a proper scrubbing.