I Work with Children! Juvenile Workplace Rant

The Saga of Crayons’s Office

(Nods to Little Red Hen and Dr. Seuss)

Who will drink the hot office coffee?
Said Crayons, our hero (as they line up behind me)
“I will!” said Larry
“I will!” said Curly
“I will!” said Moe

And so they did.

Who will heat his lunch in the microwave?
Heat leftovers from home (don’t buy and you’ll save)
“I will!” said Larry
“I will!” said Curly
“I will!” said Moe

And so they did.

Whose lunch is in the refrigerator?
Kept cool so that they may still taste good later
“Mine is!” said Larry
“Mine is!” said Curly
“Mine is!” said Moe

All their lunches in the fridge.

And who will empty the dish washing machine?
The one that makes all of our cutlery clean
“Not I!” said Larry
“Not I!” said Curly
“I never use it!” said Moe

I swear to God, I kid you not
Moe doesn’t use it, nope, never – NOT!

And who will brew the coffee?
The sludge we all sip with glee
“Not I!” said Larry
“Not I!” said Curly
“I never drink it!” said Moe

I swear to God, I’m not making this up
It just me who drinks it – yeah, ALL in one cup!

Who will cover up their food when they heat it
Under the plastic lid so wiping’s not needed?
“Not I!” said Larry
“Not I!” said Curly
“It gives you cancer!” said Moe

I swear to God, I kid you not
That’s actually what the stupid putz thought!

Who will empty the fridge of festering lunches of yore
So that slimey brown goo will not ooze to the floor?
“Not I!” said Larry
“Not I!” said Curly
“I never use it!” said Moe

I swear to God, no word of a lie
Crayons is working in a filthy pig sty!

Larry, Moe, and Curly just don’t give a damn
They must think their moms still clean up after them

I meant what I said, and I mean what I say
This just can’t continue all week and each day

I mean what I say, and I meant what I said
At the rate things are going I’ll soon lose my head

I swear to God, and I kid you not
Instead of adults, they’re like young, little snots!

[standing ovation]

Hey - is that you in the next cubicle?? This tale is so familiar!

Lucky for me, I don’t drink coffee, I bring my lunch in a little cooler, so I don’t need the fridge, I take my dirties home with me, so I don’t clog the sink with food gunk, and I rarely need the microwave. This wasn’t always my attitude, but after a bunch of people got their panties in a wad when I spent 2 hours cleaning the fridge, preventing them from putting their lunches in one morning… well, I take care of myself now. The heck with the rest of 'em!

I’ve found the easiest way to deal with difficult people at work is to treat them like children. Which is to explain it in words they can understandand then gently repeat as necessary in words that might not hurt their wittle feewings, and comedy goes a long way; if all else fails threaten to call in “daddy”.

Brava, on the post! Could you tape it to the refrigerator at work? Maybe it would get the point across.


Oh, no you’re not Moe. Moe actually drinks the coffee, uses the fridge, uses the dishes, uses the microwave, and spills milk all over the counter and just walks away without even a glance at a paper towel.

sigh Another co-woker put together a kitchen duty sheet. Once, just ONE DAY a month, each orker-of-cow must empty the dishwasher. That’s it. No washing, no cleaning, no loading of the dishwasher even – just putting the clean cups and saucers away.

Moe refuses on the grounds that “I never use the dishwasher.” (Funny, Moe uses the cups and saucers… maybe that’s where all the dishes piled in the sink come from.)

Diceman bows Thank you, thank you! Come see the touring show! bows

Brilliant! I was going to rant about the slob who microwaved uncovered food and got gunk all over our almost-new microwave, but I won’t because I’ll never be able to top this. I mean really, what are people thinking? The little cleaning fairy is going to come at night, wave a magic wand, and the microwave will be clean again?

And then there was the person who didn’t clean out the coffee pot. It doesn’t get used very often, so the next time someone wanted to use it, it had a layer of mold growing in the bottom of the pot. Very nice. This is why I get my coffee from the coffee shop.


I’ve come to the conclusion that down below the level of conscious thought, many people really believe that it’s always someone else’s job to clean up after them.

When people are toddlers, it actually is someone else’s job to clean up after them. During the post-toddler, pre-adult period, it is someone’s job to teach kids that, actually, it IS their job to clean up after themselves. If neither parents nor anyone else teaches them this, guess what? They don’t learn it!

Whenever kids are allowed to walk off leaving mess or clutter behind for someone else to clean up, the lesson is reinforced: it’s always some else’s job to clean up after me. This lesson is also reinforced whenever they see adults walking off leaving mess or clutter behind for someone else to clean up.

Example: using the restrooms while on a school trip. I’ve had occasion to observe this. All too often, all the adult leader does is urge the kids to hurry up. Make sure that all used paper towels wind up in the trashcan, not on the floor? No. Make sure all faucets are turned off, all toilets flushed? No. And for that matter, make sure the kids are actually washing their hands and not just faking it (that is, just getting their hands wet without using soap)? Angain, no. Apearently, getting in and out of the restroom fast is all that matters.

gasp You mean there’s a little cleaning fairy???

Crayons, where were you this summer when I was stuck in a university apartment with four others this summer? No dishwasher, but we did have a sink…that was so full of dishes that there was no room for me just to use the sink to wash mine. Oh, and my - that’s right, my - microwave should probably be quarantined away in a contaminated waste area.

I think the Seussian rant, held in place with a magnet on our “open-and-close-it-quickly-it-smells-really-bad” refrigerator, might have gotten the point across…

Crayons, I think that’s the best post I’ve seen in SUCH a long time!!

How true of almost EVERY office!!!

I’m copying and pasting that to an e-mail for my mom. She’ll really get a kick out of it!


That’s the problem–we do have little cleaning fairies. There are 3 people in the office who aren’t responsible for cleaning, but we get so sick of other people’s messes that we feel compelled to throw away all the moldy Tupperware that’s in the fridge, or scrub out the microwave. I know it’s a bad habit, but I can’t stand using a cruddy microwave. So I just send out snippy emails to everyone in the building, trying to make them feel guilty for not cleaning up after themselves. It’s not working so well. I think the next step is to print out this poetic masterpiece and tape it to the refrigerator.


I worked in an office where I sat near the room that held the refridgerator for the 2nd floor. It reeked. People would bring lunch and stick it in there to sit…until someone else had to throw it away. Everytime the door to the work room opened, a deadly wave of the smell of rotting food would nearly knock me over.

Why is it so difficult to get rid of stuff if you don’t want it, or if you forget to eat it before it’s expiriation date? I had to stop putting my lunch in there because it absorbed the smell, making it unedible.

I ate what I brought, the day I brought it ** or I took it home**.

I know that really puts far too much of a burden on people. The nerve of me to expect that!

Oh and BTW – we had a fire in the toaster oven because no one ever cleaned out the crumbs and one day they burst into flame.


At a previous workplace, I’d had enough. Because I had the authority to make workplace amenity policy, I got proactive. One Monday morning, I came in early and cleaned the counters, sink and microwave and scrubbed out the fridge, tossing everything that was even slightly hinky. Then I printed out 2 signs in very bold letters on very large paper. One was affixed it to the wall over the coffee/microwave counter and the other was posted to the refrigerator. The one in the coffee area read:

The sign on the fridge was simple and to the point.

From that point on, the kitchen area was surprisingly clean and well maintained. The fridge did stay neat because my admin and I did toss stuff out every Friday without a moment’s hesitation. There were a couple of guys who still left drips of creamer on the counter or coffee stirrers lying about, but never if someone else was watching. Nothing like a little shame to pull some people into line, I say.

My husband recently started a new job in an office with about 5 other people and was actually asked, during one of the interviews whether he was willing to wash up occasional dishes. So yeah, I guess people get a bit sensitive about this after a while.

You have dishwasher at the office?


This is actually because – for some strange reason (old building) – hot water is not pumped to our office (others in the building have hot.) So we had to get a dishwasher that heats water to be sure that all icky germs are properly dealt with.

Egads! With the lack of cleanliness these folks have, if we had to resort to using cold water to wash everything by hand, half of us would be dead from some sort of poisoning by now.

Far too many of my coworkers seem to be stuck in “frat boy” mentality. One of their favorite games is to hide rotten food in people’s desks and wait for the victim to discover the item. These “food wars” have been going on since before I started working here two years ago. Not only does our supervisor tolerate this, but he takes part in it! Finally someone complained to the manager (who is above the supervisor) and a few days ago he sent around a nasty note telling everyone to stop.

The worst part: everyone here has a degree in engineering.

If it wasn’t for the lousy economy, I would have left this place a year ago.

The ultimate story in not-cleaning-up-after yourself:

My boss knocked a very large almost-full bag of corn chips on the floor. And she just walked off and left it there. Didn’t even pick up one chip. Just left it for someone else to clean up.

Once I found a used tea bag in the middle of a stack of papers in her office.
Then there was the time she left a used lollipop stick in the copy room. Just lovely.

Ha, I thought this was going to be a thread about working with actual children!

At a job I had a few years ago, the microwave caught on fire while my food was in it, though not due to anyone’s actions. It was just an old microwave. Because I was in the breakroom, and it was my food, I spent my break cleaning up the mess (from the fire extinguisher.) A really snotty girl who LIVED for her breaks (so she could take longer than she was supposed) complained heavily to all managers that I was taking too long and goofing off. They finally let her go on her break, and she was still whining about it. We got 45 minutes. That day, she took an hour and a half! She came back boasting that it was only fair cause I took too long. I took too long because I was cleaning the breakroom. Her meal, and everyone else’s in the store, was still sitting there on the table when we closed up that night.

I shudder, just shudder to think of what her apartment must be like.