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Old 12-09-2015, 12:17 PM
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Workplace refrigerators - tales from the front


We have a work fridge that is shared by around 30 people. It is so crammed that if you arrive late-ish, you have to play Lunch Tetris just to find a slot for your PB&J.

You can imagine what ends up crammed into and eventually abandoned within the deep recesses and nether areas of the fridge.

So I got fed up a few months ago and elected myself Fridge Marshall. I posted a sign - giving plenty of notice - that all items must be dated and initialed. I indicated that I would routinely go through the fridge and toss anything that was more than 3 days old or anything that lacked a label. And I provided a marker and sheets of labels.

(note: I had the manager's full permission and gratitude to do this)

So, when D-Day came, I cleaned house. Out when that greenberry yogurt, into the bin went that Paul Newman's Salad Dressing that was bottled while Paul was still aboveground, into the shitcan went that hunk of what looked like, well, shit.

Most cow-orkers were appreciative. Then, one day, I tossed some container of some sort of powder (didn't pay much attention, just knew it was unmarked) and it's owner came at me the next day with talons at the ready and murder in her eyes. Turns out it was a $30 can of protein powder. She admitted she hadn't marked it. She admitted she had read the sign but didn't take it seriously. She admitted that she wanted to twist my scrotum into a Clove Hitch knot.

I remained calm. "Talk to the boss", said I.

There have been a few other near-murders. I tossed another person's lunch, turns out she had no money to buy lunch. She blew off offers to help and embraced her martyrdom. She went hungry. And she doesn't speak to me anymore.

So it seems I have everyone's support, except those dinged by the rules. I am thanked regularly. The fridge has never looked so respectable. But there are 2 or 3 folks who hate my soul to this day.

I will probably retire my marshall-hood at some point - it's a bit wearing - and the icebox will again go to hell. But until then, they'd better mark those macaroons, stamp that scampi, and delineate that deli.


Mean Mr. Marshall
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Old 12-09-2015, 12:33 PM
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I worked at one company where the office refrigerator was emptied at the end of the day on Friday. This duty was assigned to the janitorial staff so none of us had to play marshal. So if labeling your own stuff is too much of a burden, perhaps a policy like that would work.

Another issue are the insulated lunch bags or boxes people use now. They take up a lot of room, and some of the contents doesn't even need to be refrigerated.
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Old 12-09-2015, 12:47 PM
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Originally Posted by Dewey Finn View Post
Another issue are the insulated lunch bags or boxes people use now. They take up a lot of room, and some of the contents doesn't even need to be refrigerated.
Insulated lunch bags are designed to keep cold IN, so it's silly to put them in the fridge. You're supposed to put a cold pack in them and keep them at your desk.
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Old 12-09-2015, 01:24 PM
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Originally Posted by Dewey Finn
Another issue are the insulated lunch bags or boxes people use now. They take up a lot of room, and some of the contents doesn't even need to be refrigerated.
Ugh, yes! I've often wanted to put up a big sign on the fridge that insulated bags are not tiffins and should not be refrigerated.

On the plus side, at my last office, the building janitorial staff handled the weekend purge.
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Old 12-09-2015, 01:41 PM
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The school system I worked for got on an energy saving kick. They even hired an energy Nazi to go through all the buildings and unplug everything over breaks and leave nasty notes for the energy hoggers. One time he unplugged a refrigerator with about a hundred dollar's worth of class supplies which promptly spoiled and stunk up the place. We put a sign on the door that said "Biological Science Specimens inside- do not turn off!" I think the guy also got rebuked by our principal. Problem didn't happen again.
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Old 12-09-2015, 01:47 PM
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In our office each break area has two fridges. The fridges are completely cleaned out every other Friday, there's a sign on the fridge that tells you the day it's going to be emptied. One fridge is cleaned out each Friday, so if you have something you want to keep you can move it from one fridge to the next every week, but you have to do this, or all contents of that particular fridge are thrown out. No labels, no initials, no complaining.
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Old 12-09-2015, 02:54 PM
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I can't help but notice that you haven't posted in If murder was legal - would you still be alive?

But apparently we now know the answer.
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Old 12-09-2015, 03:25 PM
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Originally Posted by Omar Little View Post
In our office each break area has two fridges. The fridges are completely cleaned out every other Friday, there's a sign on the fridge that tells you the day it's going to be emptied. One fridge is cleaned out each Friday, so if you have something you want to keep you can move it from one fridge to the next every week, but you have to do this, or all contents of that particular fridge are thrown out. No labels, no initials, no complaining.
This sounds like a capital idea, assuming there is enough room in one fridge to hold everything (although, on the weekend, maybe you should be taking your juice box and Twinkie home with you).


mmm
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Old 12-09-2015, 06:49 PM
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Hate the old ninnies at work that gasp when I don't refrigerate my lunch. Yeah lady, my sandwich is really going to spoil by 12 after taking it out of my home fridge at 730 am. Human history began in 1950 with the popularization of electric fridges.
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Old 12-09-2015, 06:52 PM
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Insulated lunch bags are designed to keep cold IN, so it's silly to put them in the fridge. You're supposed to put a cold pack in them and keep them at your desk.
Or you could skip the cold pack and eat a room temperature lunch.
You won't die, I promise. Might even taste better.
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Old 12-09-2015, 08:06 PM
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I went through my entire childhood eating bologna and cheese sandwiches that hung in brown paper bag in my school locker for hours.

Come to think of it, I actually preferred them at room temperature.


mmm

Last edited by Mean Mr. Mustard; 12-09-2015 at 08:06 PM.
  #12  
Old 12-10-2015, 08:31 AM
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Apropos of nothing, this...
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mean Mr. Mustard View Post
She admitted that she wanted to twist my scrotum into a Clove Hitch knot.
...is a marvelous piece of literature and I will keep and cherish it until I can find an appropriate use for it.


As to the thread, we have three (3!!) refrigerators in our break room and true to form, they all get filled up despite the expanse of space. And the rules are pretty much the same, mark them or they get tossed the following Monday.

So far I have not witnessed any new lifeforms emerging from them, so I presume most everybody is following the rules.

Good luck, Mr Marshall, and watch your back!!
  #13  
Old 12-10-2015, 10:54 AM
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Anyone else ever work with someone who'd pack the freezer full of their Lean Cuisine selections? Or half-gallon jugs of juice on the fridge? Always someone who didn't learn the concept of sharing space when they were in kindergarten...
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Old 12-10-2015, 11:08 AM
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I'm very impressed with new/current work location; there is an 8x11 custom magnet listing the dates fridge will be cleaned out for the year (first Fri of month) along with the details (cleaning Co is not responsible for...)
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Old 12-10-2015, 11:15 AM
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Livin' In The Fridge.
  #16  
Old 12-10-2015, 12:40 PM
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re: the insulated bags. My company does not allow food to be anywhere except in the fridge. Not at desks, not in lockers, not on the counter. We have weather of 100+ degrees and a lot of the place is not air conditioned or barely air conditioned. so leaving it out in the summer is a really bad idea. I don't use them personally because everyone else puts open drinks and leaking containers in there and they are too hard to clean. I use a plastic grocery bag.

re: not sharing. I bring a weeks worth of sandwich making stuff. it takes up way less room than the 12 or so MacDonald's cups perched precariously on the wire shelving and then there is the snack size bag of chips that were partially eaten and left for days. Frozen dinners that are there from Monday until toss out on Friday. I Have one bag with bread, mustard, cheese and sliced chicken to make a sandwich fresh each day. I have noticed more people are doing this now.
  #17  
Old 12-10-2015, 02:56 PM
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Originally Posted by Dewey Finn View Post
I worked at one company where the office refrigerator was emptied at the end of the day on Friday. This duty was assigned to the janitorial staff so none of us had to play marshal. So if labeling your own stuff is too much of a burden, perhaps a policy like that would work.

Another issue are the insulated lunch bags or boxes people use now. They take up a lot of room, and some of the contents doesn't even need to be refrigerated.
I've worked at places where there was a similar policy. Too damn bad you forgot your stuff.

Another place, the admin let everyone know a week in advance that she was tossing everything Friday afternoon. And a cow-orker got really upset when her bottle of salad dressing was gone come Monday morning, and came to me for sympathy.

"But, the sign said it would be thrown out" I offered helpfully.

"I never thought that meant stuff like condiments!", she whined.

Right. So ketchup older than my firstborn, salad dressing older than my marriage, green mayonnaise. all deserve a place in the shared fridge.

These are doubtless the same kind of people who would, when someone brings in an ice tray and bin, pry out ice cubes (with their bare fingers), and leave the 3/4 empty tray in the freezer section. I had brought in my own tray and bin, for my own use (but had zero objection to others using the ice, if they just bothered to refill the tray). I wound up getting rid of the tray/bin because I was sick of going to the freezer and not having any ice.
  #18  
Old 12-10-2015, 03:00 PM
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Originally Posted by FairyChatMom View Post
Anyone else ever work with someone who'd pack the freezer full of their Lean Cuisine selections? Or half-gallon jugs of juice on the fridge? Always someone who didn't learn the concept of sharing space when they were in kindergarten...
:::sheepishly raises hand:::
OK, I never had more than a few LCs in the freezer (I didn't hog the space, as it was barely used and I took no more than half).

And there was the *one* time I had a huge meat/cheese tray, with a sign saying "don't touch".... but that was to take to a funeral home after work so I claim duress.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mean Mr. Mustard
I went through my entire childhood eating bologna and cheese sandwiches that hung in brown paper bag in my school locker for hours. combo

Come to think of it, I actually preferred them at room temperature.


mmm
Excellent combo of post and sig

Last edited by Mama Zappa; 12-10-2015 at 03:01 PM.
  #19  
Old 12-11-2015, 08:22 AM
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I once had to put up a recipe for ice cubes.
  #20  
Old 12-11-2015, 08:29 AM
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The school system I worked for got on an energy saving kick. They even hired an energy Nazi to go through all the buildings and unplug everything over breaks and leave nasty notes for the energy hoggers. One time he unplugged a refrigerator with about a hundred dollar's worth of class supplies which promptly spoiled and stunk up the place. We put a sign on the door that said "Biological Science Specimens inside- do not turn off!" I think the guy also got rebuked by our principal. Problem didn't happen again.
Heh, am I the only one who thought of Steve Raucci? You didn't work in Schenectady, did you?
  #21  
Old 12-11-2015, 08:52 AM
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I once had to put up a recipe for ice cubes.
The reviews are a hoot.
This one sounds like a Doper born.
Quote:
I harvest my own free-range water, so the idea of putting it in a plastic tray and a commercially made electricity-wasting freezer disgusts me. I prefer nature's method, waiting until the temperature outside drops below freezing.
  #22  
Old 12-11-2015, 10:13 AM
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Another issue are the insulated lunch bags or boxes people use now. They take up a lot of room, and some of the contents doesn't even need to be refrigerated.
We have a guy that use to put his cooler/lunch box in the frig. It was big enough to carry at least four 6 packs of your favorite beverage. Of course, it took up a big chunk of the frig space. It took a trip to HR to finally get the guy to quit putting the cooler in the frig.

Last edited by racer72; 12-11-2015 at 10:13 AM.
  #23  
Old 12-12-2015, 12:01 AM
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Why would you put protein powder in the fridge?
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Old 12-12-2015, 05:00 AM
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At OP. I can see your problem. One fridge. 30 people. IT firm. Been there, done that.

Secretary / receptionist was our food nazi (called by that name sometimes behind her back). Sweet thing, but yelling through 30 cubicles "who left yogurt with yesterday's expiration date in the fridge" is not cool (if you are responsible).
  #25  
Old 12-12-2015, 05:21 AM
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You proles are lucky. I started a job in glorious Sun Valley, Idaho. My first task was to clean the walk-in fridge. I have a feeling that it was a test to see if I was serious about the job.
  #26  
Old 12-12-2015, 07:01 AM
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Why would you put protein powder in the fridge?
I dunno, but I don't think she'll do it again.


mmm
  #27  
Old 12-13-2015, 08:11 AM
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I once had to put up a recipe for ice cubes.
The 2 "reviews" of your recipe were golden.

That's exactly the way people are in the recipe reviews. Thanks for the laugh.
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Old 12-13-2015, 09:54 AM
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I eat lunch in my car so I can read in peace and quiet. So I just leave my lunch in the car, even in the summer. I've been doing this for nine years now, and haven't been killed by a ham & cheese yet....
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Old 12-14-2015, 12:36 AM
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I've been doing this for nine years now, and haven't been killed by a ham & cheese yet....
Are you sure? There are some really amazing morticians out there.
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Old 12-14-2015, 02:50 AM
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You proles are lucky. I started a job in glorious Sun Valley, Idaho. My first task was to clean the walk-in fridge. I have a feeling that it was a test to see if I was serious about the job.
Were you given an astronaut suit?
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Old 12-14-2015, 10:14 AM
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So years back, I worked in the veterinary field. One of the rules (OSHA I believe) was that there was always to be separate fridges for holding food for human consumption and for holding lab specimens. Apparently one of the clinics I worked for didn't get that memo or something. They had one big fridge for all things refrigerated. If you brought your lunch to work, you just pushed aside the blood samples or moved the fecal samples to another shelf. Hell, one time there was a communal cake in there sitting right next to a bag of dog feces. Needless to say that wasn't the only place where they 'forgot' the rules. I didn't work there long lol
  #32  
Old 12-14-2015, 01:24 PM
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Or you could skip the cold pack and eat a room temperature lunch.
You won't die, I promise. Might even taste better.
Some people think beer tastes better at room temperature. I'll believe it when I see it.
  #33  
Old 12-14-2015, 02:07 PM
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I'm thinking a possible fridge cleaning system could work like this. Have two different colors of stickers (green and blue). Then:

- On Tuesday, anything with no sticker or a green sticker is thrown out
- On Friday, anything with no sticker or a blue sticker is thrown out

This way, the longest an abandoned item will stay in the fridge is about a week. Most things won't spoil in that time. Anyone who wants to keep something longer has to switch the sticker to the other color or else it will be thrown out on the next cleanup day. If you wanted a longer time between cleanups, you could say one color is for even Fridays and the other is for odd.

A freezer cleanup procedure could work like this:

- On the first of the month, put a rubber band on everything
- After one month, anything with a rubber band still on it gets thrown away
- Put a rubber band on anything left.

This way people will need to take the rubber band off if they want it to stay another month.


I know we all wish people would be responsible, but sometimes people forget. Even I forget and I'm the fridge cleanup guy! I've found my own restaurant leftovers that I forgot about. So pretty much any workplace fridge will need some type of system to keep it clean or else the abandoned items will eventually take over.
  #34  
Old 12-15-2015, 01:37 PM
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I'm thinking a possible fridge cleaning system could work like this. Have two different colors of stickers (green and blue). Then:

- On Tuesday, anything with no sticker or a green sticker is thrown out
- On Friday, anything with no sticker or a blue sticker is thrown out
Ehhh that's way too complicated. The place I work at now just has a flat policy. Fridays at 11pm the janitors completely clear out the fridge. Anything in there is trashed, container and everything. Works pretty good lol understandably.
  #35  
Old 12-15-2015, 01:44 PM
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I once had to put up a recipe for ice cubes.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Honey View Post
The 2 "reviews" of your recipe were golden.

That's exactly the way people are in the recipe reviews. Thanks for the laugh.
There are a lot more than two. Click on 'See All Reviews' and the laughs keep on coming.
  #36  
Old 12-15-2015, 02:49 PM
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There are a lot more than two. Click on 'See All Reviews' and the laughs keep on coming.
More than two?? There's more than a thousand!!! Those folks are worse than 'Dopers about long threads on inane topics.

Last edited by LSLGuy; 12-15-2015 at 02:50 PM.
  #37  
Old 12-15-2015, 02:54 PM
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I can top all y'all. Many years ago I worked in a Pet Store. For some reason when a small animal, bird or expensive fish died we were told to put it in a plastic bag then in the freezer. I have absolutely no idea why. Let's just say that the freezer got pretty full after a short time. Picture rearranging a dozen or so small furry frozen dead animals so you can fit your Lean Cuisine in.
  #38  
Old 12-15-2015, 03:03 PM
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Some people think beer tastes better at room temperature. I'll believe it when I see it.
Beer is part of your work lunch? Are you German? Or is your comment only tangentially related to the topic, in that you're mentioning items that get consumed by mouth?
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