Tag Archives: office advice

Dear John: Coworkers Don’t Pull Weight In Potluck

This may seem minor in the scheme of things, but it’s driving me crazy. Occasionally we have a potluck day at work. The problem is, while there are always people who eat, others never bring food to share. It’s usually the men in our office — those who hold higher positions and make far more money than the rest of us. They are also the ones who eat the most. They go back for seconds before the rest of us have eaten. If they do occasionally bring anything, it’s usually a bag of chips.

I’m tired of paying for their lunches when they are more than capable of providing something — takeout from a deli or even asking their wives to help. I’m also tired of going to get my lunch and discovering most of the food is already gone. I would welcome your advice or any tips your readers may have.


Dear Fed Up,

This isn’t minor. This is a crime against food.

This reminds me of when I participated in a Secret Santa while I was in college. Nearly everyone involved put some thought into their gifts. Even when one was a joke gift, the effort put into the presentation and the actual gift itself was worthy of the gift exchange. But there was one person who clearly went to the campus mini mart that day and bought a giant package of orange Tic Tacs. They’re the best Tic Tac, obviously, but it was that there was so little thought (or that they just forgot about it altogether) that really irked me and others.

What I am getting at is that there needs to be more organization and accountability.

I would start with some sort of itemized list of what one will bring to the potluck. We do this every year for my Friendsgiving. I am tasked with bringing a salad, someone else brings dessert, etc. If you don’t want to deal with assigning specific food I recommend that you print out a sign-up sheet and have slots for dessert, appetizers, meat entree, salad, etc. Do this coupled with stating that in order to actually partake in the potluck, you will need to bring an item on that list. Do that and institute a “no seconds” rule until everyone has gone through the line once.

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“Jaw With John” – A Brush With A Toothbrush

Where I work, we have several departments, which share a large, public bathroom.

My issue is this: Often, I walk into the bathroom to see a colleague brushing their teeth in one of these public sinks.

I’m guessing the most common reason is to prepare for a dentist appointment, but regardless of the reason, I find it really disgusting and thoughtless of others.

I wash my hands in those sinks, and people think it’s OK to spit their food, saliva and germs into a public sink?

It turns my stomach. I understand wanting clean teeth prior to seeing the dentist, but isn’t this poor (and unsanitary) etiquette? Your thoughts, please. — Disgusted in the Bathroom

Dear Disgusted,

You “wash your hands in those sinks”…what? How do you wash your hands? Are you putting them right up against the porcelain, rubbing them all over the walls of the sink?

If you answered yes to any of those rhetorical questions, then, you have a problem. That’s not how you wash your hands. They should hover over the base of the sink as you scrubs them with soap and water.

Also, people do use the water from the sink to rinse out their mouths so their saliva will get in that sink that way too. Just saying.

Let’s get real here. People got meetings to go to or dentist’s appointments like you suggested. But, is it gross to brush your teeth in an office bathroom? Yes, but that’s on those who brush their teeth. Here’s what you can do: You can run the water for a bit before you wash to rinse out the sink and then wash your hands. Boom. Problem solved.

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“Jaw With John” – Puzzling Situation Is Trivial

I work at a city department with about 20 employees. Our office receives two different newspapers every day and they are put in our lunch/break room for the staff to share. Recently someone has been taking the page with the crossword puzzle and not allowing others to enjoy it.

The problem is that other daily printings are located on the same page and I love reading them daily.

What is the proper protocol for communal newspapers? Should any one person fill out the crossword puzzles or take portions of the paper out of the break room? — Puzzled Reader

Dear Puzzled:

As someone who does the crossword attempts the crossword every morning I feel your pain. As someone who is just reading this as is, I am left thinking that the communal newspapers are first-come-first-served. This is spilled milk you’re crying over here, in all honesty. It’s a puzzle. Your “outrage” is similar to how I can feel when I sit down in an airplane, open their in-flight magazine, and find the crossword has already been done. Then again, I always bring a crossword puzzle book with me in case that happens.

I am sure that you can find the daily puzzle and the other articles online and print it out OR you can help save a dying industry (print media) and subscribe to the paper yourself! It really sounds like it’s just you who is bothered by the disappearing puzzle. If it annoys you that you can’t do the puzzle or read the articles, then you can photocopy the crossword page as soon as the paper arrives and have at it.



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