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Pet Peeve #16: Unintentional “Community Use” Dishes

With the semester ending for me this week, I can finally spend a little bit more time getting back into a hopefully regular schedule of blogging again.

Something at my work that happened a couple of weeks ago has inspired today’s lovely little rant, and I’m curious to hear if anyone else shares this same pet peeve.

While I’m at work, I usually like to enjoy a nice hot cup of tea at some point during the day, so a few weeks ago I started bringing in my own coffee mug from home to fulfill this desire. Most of the time I’ll take the mug home after I’ve used it for the day, but a couple of times I’ve decided that since I only had tea (no sugar or anything sticky) in it, that simply rinsing it out would be okay and I could leave it at work to use the next day– hopefully mitigating the risk of breaking one of my mugs but not transporting it back and forth as often.

Last week, I discovered leaving my mug overnight meant that other people were also using it, which I learned by seeing it in another place than where I had left it the night before, and filled with water. When I asked each of my co-workers if they had used it, no one was willing to confess.

Had someone actually asked me to use my dish, I probably would have been fine with it being borrowed, but since that didn’t happen (and I still don’t know who the culprit was), I was more than a little irritated at this discovery.

There are a couple of main reasons why this bugs me so much… and by now I’m sure my co-workers are sick of hearing me whine about this incident.

1. The coffee mug borrowing was unnecessary, because not only are there other reusable cups available for drinking water (that others have brought in from home and forgotten), but there are several bags of solo cups sitting on the shelf in our break room area that would have also worked for cold beverages. Oh, and two water fountains too.

2. Someone else using my mug meant that it was essentially contaminated with a mysterious set of germs, and especially during cold and flu season I’m not going to take any chances at getting sick.

3. Germs. Yeah, I realize point #2 is also about germs, but since I was planning on using it the next day, I didn’t take time to actually wash my mug, so whoever used it probably did not wash it either and therefore I was an unintentional spreader of germs.

4. My plan of having a relaxing cup of tea with my lunch was interrupted as my mug was no longer available for my use.

Sure, this list is pretty silly and petty, but well, most reasons behind pet peeves are petty ones.

From this lesson, I’ve learned to keep a closer eye on things I bring from home, and instead of going all crazy and bringing in a cup with my name on it or something equally ridiculous, I simply make sure to take my dirty cup home and bring a new one in the next day instead. I probably should have been doing that all along, and at least now I can only blame myself if something like forgetting a clean mug at home interrupts my plans.

Has something like this ever happened to you in the workplace? Or is it just me who gets a little bent out of shape when their things are borrowed without permission?


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