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  #1  
Old 08-31-2009, 02:44 PM
Agent Foxtrot Agent Foxtrot is offline
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Trimming nails at work?

This isn't strong enough to be in the Pit. Besides, I'd like to get people's opinions.

When did trimming nails at work become acceptable? Currently my boss and coworker in the cube next to me (great guys both) have a habit of clipping their fingernails, in their offices, in plain sight. I find this practice both weird and kind of disgusting. They do it weekly; is it something that can't wait until they get home?

Do you or any or your coworkers do this? Is it now acceptable office behavior? (I'm not asking rhetorically.)

Last edited by Agent Foxtrot; 08-31-2009 at 02:44 PM..
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  #2  
Old 08-31-2009, 02:58 PM
gigi gigi is offline
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Our receptionist at my previous job did this and it creeped me out. I think it's only OK if you're about to hurt yourself if you leave a hangnail in place. Grooming like that should take place outside of work or at least behind a closed office door.
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  #3  
Old 08-31-2009, 03:05 PM
overlyverbose overlyverbose is offline
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Many of my co-workers do this and I find it completely mystifying. I can understand having a nail file or a set of clippers on hand to take care of a stray snagged nail - those can annoy you all day - but I'm a strong believer that most personal hygiene (including nail clipping) should occur at home or in the bathroom, not at your desk.
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  #4  
Old 08-31-2009, 03:07 PM
Lanzy Lanzy is offline
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Just trimmed mine in my cube, never thought about it creeping people out. I'll go around and ask, and if it does, I'll stop.

What about it is bad? Chewing nails, during a meeting seems much worse but I have seen people do that.
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  #5  
Old 08-31-2009, 03:15 PM
Dung Beetle Dung Beetle is offline
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I cut mine at work too. Usually it’s a minor repair, but once in a while I realize that they’ve gotten so long I can’t type worth a damn and they’ve all got to go, right away!
However, I’m not all that close to my nearest neighbors, and one of them gives me a pain in the ass so I wouldn’t care if it disturbed her.
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  #6  
Old 08-31-2009, 03:24 PM
Larry Mudd Larry Mudd is offline
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My assistant has just moved into the space adjacent to me, which was until very recently used as a lunch room. I guess some people have had a little difficulty comprehending that this is now someone else's office, and not a common space, because I am told that there is one woman who has made a habit of periodically ducking in there to cut her fingernails.

You know, just waltz right in the door, sit right down beside her, who is working away, and cut her fingernails into the trash. The offender, she says, explains that she feels too "self conscious" to cut her nails at her desk. (Offender is in the cubicle farm, which must not offer an appropriate level of privacy.)

Said assistant says that she doesn't know what to say in this situation. (It has evidently happened three times now, most recently this morning.

Personally, if it were my office, I'd just bluntly ask the person what the fuck they thought they were thinking. I had the impression, though, that my assistant thought it would be proper for me to approach the offender and remind her that it's not appropriate to use someone else's office as a place to do your personal grooming.

My more passive aggressive approach has been to relate the story to a couple of my favourite admin assistants: "Did you hear what Susan's been doing? WTF? Ha!" I'm sure it will get back to her quick enough; this is a small office.

Seriously, you have to wonder what the hell goes through people's heads.

ETA: Most people I have spoken to about this agree that nail paring is best done at home. Maybe in the bathroom, if it's unavoidable.

Last edited by Larry Mudd; 08-31-2009 at 03:26 PM..
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  #7  
Old 08-31-2009, 03:55 PM
overlyverbose overlyverbose is offline
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Originally Posted by Lanzy View Post
Just trimmed mine in my cube, never thought about it creeping people out. I'll go around and ask, and if it does, I'll stop.

What about it is bad? Chewing nails, during a meeting seems much worse but I have seen people do that.
I can see the following problems with cutting your nails in public (other than my prudish Emily Post-esque sensibilities):

1. It's distracting. Most of the employees around here are call center and need a fairly quiet environment to do their work; having intermittent, irregular, loud clip noises is annoying. I imagine it'd be hard for others in a cube farm, even if there were other environmental noise - the sound of a nail clipper is hard to miss.

2. It's hard to catch all the clippings unless you have your hands very close to if not an inch or so in the trashcan. Having your hands in the trashcan is a little weird looking and others might be hesitant to shake your hand (if they have occasion to) if they've seen you with your hands in your wastebasket.

3. If you don't catch all the clippings, there will be random fingernail cuttings on your desk or the floor. If you have meetings at your desk, your co-workers will have to look at them; even if you don't, the cleaners will have to deal with them. I imagine they expect to see a certain amount of nasty in the bathroom, but probably don't expect to have to deal with such leftovers at someone's desk.

4. Many people eat at their desks. The thought of eating somewhere there have been fingernail clippings laying about (assuming you didn't do the deed with your hands in the trash) is kind of gross.
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  #8  
Old 08-31-2009, 03:55 PM
SeaDragonTattoo SeaDragonTattoo is offline
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Trim the nails at home. If it's an emergency or something, do it in the bathroom.

It's disgusting, and it's also evidence that you're clearly not working.

Why don't you whip out your feet while you're at it and trim those fangly toenails while you're at it? Make sure your coworkers actually puke instead of just feel nauseous. How about stand around with your finger rooting up a nostril while you're at it?

(Rhetorical you, BTW. Not directed at anyone in particular. This is the rant in my head when someone does do this near me. On the bus.)
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  #9  
Old 08-31-2009, 03:57 PM
Agent Foxtrot Agent Foxtrot is offline
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Originally Posted by overlyverbose View Post
I can see the following problems with cutting your nails in public (other than my prudish Emily Post-esque sensibilities):

1. It's distracting. Most of the employees around here are call center and need a fairly quiet environment to do their work; having intermittent, irregular, loud clip noises is annoying. I imagine it'd be hard for others in a cube farm, even if there were other environmental noise - the sound of a nail clipper is hard to miss.

2. It's hard to catch all the clippings unless you have your hands very close to if not an inch or so in the trashcan. Having your hands in the trashcan is a little weird looking and others might be hesitant to shake your hand (if they have occasion to) if they've seen you with your hands in your wastebasket.

3. If you don't catch all the clippings, there will be random fingernail cuttings on your desk or the floor. If you have meetings at your desk, your co-workers will have to look at them; even if you don't, the cleaners will have to deal with them. I imagine they expect to see a certain amount of nasty in the bathroom, but probably don't expect to have to deal with such leftovers at someone's desk.

4. Many people eat at their desks. The thought of eating somewhere there have been fingernail clippings laying about (assuming you didn't do the deed with your hands in the trash) is kind of gross.
Pretty much my feelings exactly.
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  #10  
Old 08-31-2009, 04:00 PM
DianaG DianaG is offline
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Originally Posted by Agent Foxtrot View Post
When did trimming nails at work become acceptable?
It didn't. It won't. It is NOT OKAY.
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  #11  
Old 08-31-2009, 04:13 PM
emmaliminal emmaliminal is offline
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Increasingly common incidents of personal grooming in public, especially nail clipping on city buses, is regularly cited as evidence that the world must be coming to an end soon in this column.
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  #12  
Old 08-31-2009, 04:21 PM
gigi gigi is offline
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Originally Posted by SeaDragonTattoo View Post
How about stand around with your finger rooting up a nostril while you're at it?
That's kind of an either/or. You need a certain amount of nail to really catch hold of a booger.
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  #13  
Old 08-31-2009, 04:34 PM
lisacurl lisacurl is offline
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Considering the thoughtless behavior that goes on in my particular cubicle farm, a little discreet nail clipping is the least of anyone's worries. YMMV
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  #14  
Old 08-31-2009, 04:35 PM
Dolores Reborn Dolores Reborn is offline
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I don't understand all the gross-out over fingernails. Why is it so gross? I'm not saying I regularly trim all my nails at work, but I'll fix a hangnail, or file my nails if need be.

I just never considered nail clipping gross!
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  #15  
Old 08-31-2009, 04:41 PM
lisacurl lisacurl is offline
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Seriously. It's not like they keep growing like Buffy's demon roommate's fingernail clippings. They aren't sticky like boogers. It's not hair that might have cooties.

Last edited by lisacurl; 08-31-2009 at 04:42 PM..
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  #16  
Old 08-31-2009, 04:42 PM
Asimovian Asimovian is offline
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I do it, but I'm conscious of the fact that others may not appreciate it. I have my own office where I can close my door. I try not to share that joy with others.

And it isn't that I have some desire to kill time by trimming my nails at work, either. It generally just happens that I'm in the middle of something at work when I notice a nail that seems too long. And then it won't stop bugging me. So I grab the clippers and get rid of it and move on with my life.

But again, I know that's not everyone's cup of tea, so I try to keep it out of the public eye as much as possible.

One of my superiors recently told me a story about having to stop some lady on the bus from doing this. She'd been sitting in the back clipping her nails for the better part of half an hour, if I recall correctly. I do *not* think that's acceptable, for the record.
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  #17  
Old 08-31-2009, 04:44 PM
emmaliminal emmaliminal is offline
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Quite a few people, myself not included, seem to have an almost visceral disgust-response to anything that's been detached from a human body, including shed hairs and cut nails and so on -- just as they do to bodily fluids, which more of us think are gross. I don't really understand it, but I respect it.
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  #18  
Old 08-31-2009, 05:07 PM
panache45 panache45 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SeaDragonTattoo View Post
Why don't you whip out your feet while you're at it and trim those fangly toenails while you're at it?
It has happened. The woman who had the previous shift left her toenails strewn around the workspace. Didn't even have the manners to clean them up. I collected them, put them in a small container, with a note: "I almost threw these away, but then I thought maybe you wanted to keep them."

She never did it again.
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  #19  
Old 08-31-2009, 05:16 PM
emmaliminal emmaliminal is offline
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I collected them, put them in a small container, with a note: "I almost threw these away, but then I thought maybe you wanted to keep them."
Sweet!
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  #20  
Old 08-31-2009, 05:24 PM
minor7flat5 minor7flat5 is offline
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If it's a full-on clipping session, I'll close my door. If it's just one hangnail that needs it, I kind of hold the clippers below the desk and try to mute their sound.

If I get grossed out listening to the lady outside my door smacking her gum, then I figure nobody wants to hear my clipping noises either.

Oh, and don't look too closely at my keyboard. You really don't want to.
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  #21  
Old 08-31-2009, 05:44 PM
ParentalAdvisory ParentalAdvisory is offline
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Keep in it your own office or the bathroom, and not a shared area -- where the clippings are left on the carpet, slobs.
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  #22  
Old 08-31-2009, 07:14 PM
Kolga Kolga is offline
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Originally Posted by Agent Foxtrot View Post
When did trimming nails at work become acceptable?
It's not, and anyone who thinks it is acceptable is mistaken. Personal grooming habits should be tended to in private. If you have a hang-nail that needs to be tended, go to the restroom. If you want to click your nails, do it at home.
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  #23  
Old 08-31-2009, 08:04 PM
mhendo mhendo is offline
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Originally Posted by Larry Mudd View Post
Said assistant says that she doesn't know what to say in this situation. (It has evidently happened three times now, most recently this morning.

Personally, if it were my office, I'd just bluntly ask the person what the fuck they thought they were thinking. I had the impression, though, that my assistant thought it would be proper for me to approach the offender and remind her that it's not appropriate to use someone else's office as a place to do your personal grooming.
As i was reading your story, i had the exact same thought as your assistant. By mentioning it to you, and saying that she doesn't know what to do in this situation, she made it very clear that she was looking for some guidance, at least, and probably some active assistance from you.

Does the nail-clipper outrank your assistant? If so, it's easy to see why your assistant would be worried about direct confrontation. Does the nail-clipper outrank you? If not, i think it would be completely appropriate for you to help your assistant out here.

At the very least, you should make clear to your assistant that, if she asks the nail-clipper "What the fuck are you thinking?" and it leads to problems, you will support your assistant.

Just MHO.
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  #24  
Old 09-01-2009, 10:32 AM
kittenblue kittenblue is offline
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In my line of work, broken nails are a common occurrence, and we keep a manicure set right by our work area for quick trimming of torn nails over the waste basket. No one thinks anything of it because it happens as a part of work. But an extended trimming session? No way.
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  #25  
Old 09-02-2009, 04:29 AM
Khadaji Khadaji is offline
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I shared an office with a guy who did this and I found it to be odd. I don't guess it hurt anything, but I found it odd and would not do it myself.
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  #26  
Old 09-02-2009, 04:34 AM
scareyfaerie scareyfaerie is offline
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Originally Posted by Larry Mudd View Post
I am told that there is one woman who has made a habit of periodically ducking in there to cut her fingernails.
Why can't your assistant point out to the offender that it's no longer a common space and is now her office, and that going in there to cut her fingernails is unacceptable? Is the offender blind? Can she not realise that someone's actually working in there and that it looks more like an office than a lunch room?

Personally, I keep a nail file in my drawer to sort out snagged nails but that's as much as I do in the office. Serious nail trimming is done at home because mine need to be trimmed, filed and buffed so it takes a little while to do the job properly and I wouldn't feel right about doing that in the office.
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  #27  
Old 09-02-2009, 07:46 AM
cdsilv cdsilv is offline
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I've sat in sales meetings with a customer who routinely picked his nose and wiped the result on his shirt or pants. Since he was 'the customer', we (the sales team) never said anything to him about it, but you can imagine the discussions before and afterwards!

This is also a guy who called in sick to attend an anti-abortion rally and ended up getting his picture in the paper which was subsequently posted all over his workplace!
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  #28  
Old 09-02-2009, 08:18 AM
El_Kabong El_Kabong is offline
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Originally Posted by emmaliminal View Post
Quite a few people, myself not included, seem to have an almost visceral disgust-response to anything that's been detached from a human body, including shed hairs and cut nails and so on -- just as they do to bodily fluids, which more of us think are gross. I don't really understand it, but I respect it.
I was just thinking about that this morning, as I was clipping my nails (at home, so calm down, folks). The sound of my own nails being clipped actually seems almost comforting, but the sound of someone else's (which, so far as I can tell, is exactly the same sound) gives me the heebies and the jeebies.

With that said, I've been know to occasionally clip my nails at work, in my office with (presumably) no one knowing the better. Er, with the scissors from my desk if nothing else is available. Oh yeah, and I'm just the sort of person that if someone asked to borrow my scissors, I probably would forget to mention that I just cut my nails with them.

Last edited by El_Kabong; 09-02-2009 at 08:19 AM..
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  #29  
Old 09-02-2009, 08:28 AM
Agent Foxtrot Agent Foxtrot is offline
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Probably TMI, but:
SPOILER:
I just keep mine trimmed by biting them off in private. Am I the only one who does this?
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  #30  
Old 09-02-2009, 09:27 AM
Vihaga Vihaga is offline
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I'll file mine if one has caught on something and torn on the way to work, but I'm not sure my nail clippers have left my bathroom since I bought them. Maybe they just don't grow fast enough that they need emergency clipping.
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  #31  
Old 09-02-2009, 09:31 AM
horsetech horsetech is offline
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Originally Posted by Agent Foxtrot View Post
Probably TMI, but:
SPOILER:
I just keep mine trimmed by biting them off in private. Am I the only one who does this?
Nope.

Eesh, for whatever reason, the sound of nails being clipped drives me up the wall. It's like nails on a chalkboard -- I guess nails are meant to be seen and not heard in general.
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  #32  
Old 09-02-2009, 09:53 AM
Sigmagirl Sigmagirl is offline
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Originally Posted by kittenblue View Post
In my line of work, broken nails are a common occurrence, and we keep a manicure set right by our work area for quick trimming of torn nails over the waste basket. No one thinks anything of it because it happens as a part of work. But an extended trimming session? No way.
What are you, a logger?
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  #33  
Old 09-02-2009, 10:08 AM
kayaker kayaker is offline
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Originally Posted by panache45 View Post
It has happened. The woman who had the previous shift left her toenails strewn around the workspace. Didn't even have the manners to clean them up. I collected them, put them in a small container, with a note: "I almost threw these away, but then I thought maybe you wanted to keep them."

She never did it again.
Awesome!!!

If fingernail clipping in public becomes acceptable behaviour, can nose hair trimming, anal bleaching, etc be next?
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  #34  
Old 09-02-2009, 10:34 AM
Hal Briston Hal Briston is offline
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I never saw any issue with it (and certainly wouldn't be bothered at all by anyone else doing it), until a coworker went batshit crazy on me about it one day. I noticed a nail was a little longer than usual, and it was hampering my typing, so I gave it a quick snipping.

"Oh my God, are you actually cutting your nails? At work?! That's so fucking gross how could you do that and blah blah blah..."

Errr...it's a fingernail, you fricking wackjob. It was a three second job, and now it's done -- stop acting like a took a dump in the garbage can.

Still, in deference to her, I stopped doing it in my cube. It simply never occurred to me that someone would be that sensitive over such a non-issue. Another one for my list of reasons I'm thankful every day that my company went to telecommuting.
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  #35  
Old 09-02-2009, 11:26 AM
YogSothoth YogSothoth is offline
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I clip my nails all the time at my cubicle but I don't really see what the big deal is. Its dry, there is no wet detritus laying around, and they're so small that you wouldn't notice it unless you were looking for it. I don't really get the whole disgust feeling people seem to have towards hair and nails. My nails are clean for the most part and it remains in my vicinity until the night custodial crew vacuums them up.

I used to have a very big problem chewing on my nails so now I bring clippers with me almost everywhere I go. I'd rather someone clip them than see them hungrily devouring their fingers and wiping the spit on their pants.
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  #36  
Old 09-02-2009, 11:47 AM
DrDeth DrDeth is offline
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Originally Posted by lisacurl View Post
Seriously. It's not like they keep growing like Buffy's demon roommate's fingernail clippings. They aren't sticky like boogers. It's not hair that might have cooties.
Right, it's no big deal.
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  #37  
Old 09-02-2009, 11:48 AM
DrDeth DrDeth is offline
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If fingernail clipping in public becomes acceptable behaviour, can nose hair trimming, anal bleaching, etc be next?
Who claims it isn't acceptable behavior? Are you Miss Manners?
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  #38  
Old 09-02-2009, 11:56 AM
Lanzy Lanzy is offline
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OK, I asked. NO ONE noticed. Maybe its becasue everyone has a headset on and can't hear any clipping. My clipper catches the nails and I throw them in the trash, no one is eating around them.
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  #39  
Old 09-02-2009, 12:30 PM
Ephemera Ephemera is offline
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I occasionally do it at work, and sometimes borrow a colleague's clippers to do it. Neither her nor the two people sitting next to me seem to mind.
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  #40  
Old 09-02-2009, 12:45 PM
gigi gigi is offline
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I don't really get the whole disgust feeling people seem to have towards hair and nails. My nails are clean for the most part and it remains in my vicinity until the night custodial crew vacuums them up.
Do you at least TRY to get them to land in the garbage can?
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  #41  
Old 09-02-2009, 12:45 PM
DianaG DianaG is offline
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Who claims it isn't acceptable behavior? Are you Miss Manners?
Most people who weren't raised by wolves. Did you not read the thread?
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  #42  
Old 09-02-2009, 12:58 PM
Hampshire Hampshire is offline
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To be able to cut your fingernails at work don't you have to purposefully bring in a clipper to begin with? Why the hell are you bringing a fingernail clipper to work?
Fingernails get trimmed what, once per week? Is it that hard to work it into your home routine once a week? I clean my ears with a q-tip daily and I still manage to do that at home. Are there people that like to clean their ears at work too?
How about shaving? Eyebrow plucking? Nosehair trimming? Teeth flossing?
Keep it at home folks. Or at least go hide in bathroom stall.
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  #43  
Old 09-02-2009, 02:51 PM
YogSothoth YogSothoth is offline
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Do you at least TRY to get them to land in the garbage can?
No, I just do it at my desk. If it falls on the desk I brush it off and if it gets into the keyboard I use the airduster to blow it onto the floor. Maybe its the color of the carpet, or the tininess of the nails, but I doubt anyone would really notice it. That's why I just let the night crew clean it up. I don't really see what the big deal is.
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  #44  
Old 09-02-2009, 02:56 PM
DianaG DianaG is offline
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The big deal is that there are pieces of you sitting on the floor. It's gross. As others have mentioned, would you cut your hair in your cube? Shave? Floss? Clean your ears?

Your nails are not measurably longer than they were when you left the house, or measurably shorter than they'll be when you get back there. Deal with it at home.
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  #45  
Old 09-02-2009, 03:05 PM
Mona Lisa Simpson Mona Lisa Simpson is offline
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I cut nails at work often, though generally those of other people. (I'm a nurse) Occasionally I cut my own because I will discover after a day or two off that my nails are longer than I'd like them to be for giving care, etc. (What won't bother me at home will make me NUTS at work, since my patients have fragile skin and Im always afraid of scratching them, or even of poking a hole in my gloves.)

If I am cutting my own, you bet I either go into the washroom, or am in another private location. (Using my own personal nail clippers that I keep in my locker. Not using the patient clippers, which are sterilized between patients)
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  #46  
Old 09-02-2009, 03:16 PM
YogSothoth YogSothoth is offline
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The big deal is that there are pieces of you sitting on the floor. It's gross. As others have mentioned, would you cut your hair in your cube? Shave? Floss? Clean your ears?

Your nails are not measurably longer than they were when you left the house, or measurably shorter than they'll be when you get back there. Deal with it at home.
If there was a little hair, like a quarter inch too long on the sideburns, sure I would. However, hair is more noticeable, so I may be self-conscious about that.

Shaving and flossing require water and might stain and get things wet, nails do not.

As for ears, yeah sometimes I'll stick a finger in there when no one's looking, but its wetter than your nail and tends to be oily, so I would probably refrain.

My nails may not be longer, but when I leave the house early in the morning I don't have time to go over all of them to make sure they are all of some exacting length that I prefer. If I notice something wrong with them, I'll clip them. Plus, even though I've decreased the frequency, I still sometimes bite my nails a little. When I catch myself doing that, I clip them so they don't bother me the rest of the day.
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  #47  
Old 09-02-2009, 03:41 PM
Swallowed My Cellphone Swallowed My Cellphone is offline
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An employee here was just recently taken aside by his supervisor and told to stop trimming his nails in his cube. The click-click-click was both annoying and distracting to several employees around him (including said supervisor).

Mind you the weird thing is that he did it almost daily. I figure he must have werewolf nails or something.
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  #48  
Old 09-02-2009, 04:08 PM
DianaG DianaG is offline
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Join Date: Dec 2005
Quote:
Originally Posted by YogSosoth View Post
If there was a little hair, like a quarter inch too long on the sideburns, sure I would. However, hair is more noticeable, so I may be self-conscious about that.
So in other words, you KNOW that this is gross and socially unacceptable, and you just don't care, as long as the only people who know about your gross unacceptable bodily leavings are the custodial crew. Nice.

Last edited by DianaG; 09-02-2009 at 04:08 PM..
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  #49  
Old 09-02-2009, 05:30 PM
YogSothoth YogSothoth is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DianaG View Post
So in other words, you KNOW that this is gross and socially unacceptable, and you just don't care, as long as the only people who know about your gross unacceptable bodily leavings are the custodial crew. Nice.
No, I don't find it gross, I find it self-conscious to disappear into my cubicle and come out with a new hairstyle.

I care if something's gross, which is why I don't pick my nose or burp or fart around people if I can help it (farts sometimes have a mind of their own). I think you should stop thinking that I'm some piggish slob by holding your personal standard of hygiene over me like a dicator and acknowledge that some people have different standards of what is gross than you do.

I've explained exactly why I don't think nails are disgusting (dry, tiny, does not stain, better than the alternative, etc.) so the least you can do is either try to convince me otherwise by citing germ statistics or make a case that your standards trump mine. So yes, I am nice, damn nice, because I don't do any disgusting things like pick my nose in the vicinity of other people. Any more compromise than that and I feel that I'm simply enabling a stupid and debilitating phobia of other people's.
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  #50  
Old 09-02-2009, 06:07 PM
DrDeth DrDeth is offline
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Join Date: Mar 2001
Location: San Jose
Posts: 32,801
Quote:
Originally Posted by DianaG View Post
Most people who weren't raised by wolves. Did you not read the thread?
Yes, and a good number of posters (around 8 or so) have no problem with it. It's only gross to a certain few.
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