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Clean up your dishes or get tazed...bro
May 7, 2008 9:58 AM   Subscribe

There is an all company meeting in 6 hrs. - help me come up with an idea (the more sarcastic the better) to put in the "Idea Box" about how to keep the kitchen clean that will be read in front of everyone.

HR sent out an email yesterday letting everyone know that during the all company meeting scheduled for today (4pm PST), they will be reading suggestions from the "Idea Box" about how to keep the company kitchen clean. Same problem as every communal kitchen...dirty dishes, leftovers left too long in the fridge, etc. Honestly I think it is silly since no matter what you do, their will always be people who leave their crap in the kitchen. However, the chance at submitting a totally ridiculous, witty, and/or funny suggestion is just too good to pass up. Ideas I've already come up with:

-Give the receptionist a cattle prod [she usually has to clean up after everyone]
-Robots, lots and lots of Robots
-Dish Ninjas

What you need to know: This will be read in front of about 200 people including senior management. Company is tech oriented and young (avg. age about 28) and located in the PacNW. My name should go on the idea I submit, but I'm not above using a nom de plume.

Waddaya got for me?
posted by Smarson to Work & Money (36 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
 
"Hire a cleaning service"
posted by geoff. at 10:02 AM on May 7, 2008 [1 favorite]


Require that each employee signs his/her mother up to come in and clean at least once a quarter
posted by Mr_Chips at 10:05 AM on May 7, 2008 [1 favorite]


"No food or drink allowed in kitchen."
posted by nebulawindphone at 10:05 AM on May 7, 2008 [16 favorites]


Flamethrower. Cleaning through cauterization.
posted by jessamyn at 10:07 AM on May 7, 2008


Hire a french chef with a drink problem
posted by le morte de bea arthur at 10:10 AM on May 7, 2008


There are always signs that say "Clean up because your Mom doesn't work here"... so I say, suggest hiring "Your Mom". And then let loose with the "Your Mom" jokes.

And on preview... kinda what Mr_Chips said.
posted by GuyZero at 10:11 AM on May 7, 2008


geoff - If the HR lady was deadpan enough I'd consider it

Mr_Chips - that is pretty brilliant

nebulawindphone - that's what I'm looking for

jessamyn - now I'm laughing out loud
posted by Smarson at 10:11 AM on May 7, 2008


Ug, welcome to my life. I am "affectionately" known as the Kitchen Bitch at my office.

I think humor and lightness is NOT a good approach here - it lets people get away with not taking it seriously.

An approach that has worked for me at times is appealing to people by stressing that it respects others to clean up after oneself. It's disrespectful to your colleagues and your receptionist to leave messes for other people to deal with, and it leaves people feeling like they don't have to care about the environment they share with others.
posted by tristeza at 10:12 AM on May 7, 2008 [1 favorite]


http://www.passiveaggressivenotes.com/category/kitchen/
posted by grateful at 10:13 AM on May 7, 2008


tristeza - I totally agree with your angle. The receptionist and I are good friends and since she usually has to clean up the messes, we're always joking about the messages we'd like to leave the offenders

I figure this is our chance to make a point and work in a little humor while we're at it.
posted by Smarson at 10:16 AM on May 7, 2008


For such childish things like this, a silly suggestion does no good except to reinforce the idea that it's not worth caring about.

Leftovers = any leftovers at the end of the week gets tossed out, period. Tupperware and all.

Dirty dishes = get a dishwashing machine. Run it every night. Put a sign above the sink reminding people to give their dishes a rinse and then put it in the dishwasher.
posted by junesix at 10:16 AM on May 7, 2008 [1 favorite]


This is not what you are asking for, its a real suggetion
Install a security camera in the kitchen, so that everyone knows who left those dirty dishes in the sink.
posted by WizKid at 10:16 AM on May 7, 2008


- Have all 200 employees do 2.5 minute long cleaning shifts every day.
- Start a cleaning twitter blog. Let Web 2.0 take care of it.
- Pay the receptionist more.
- No more apples in the vending machine please.
- Remove the fridge, replace with keg
posted by ALongDecember at 10:17 AM on May 7, 2008


grateful - Priceless. Now I'm not going to get any work done today.
posted by Smarson at 10:17 AM on May 7, 2008


we can haz dishwashing faireez?
posted by iconomy at 10:18 AM on May 7, 2008 [1 favorite]


"Any dirty dishes left in the sink will be deposited in the Idea Box, to be claimed by its rightful owner at the next all-company meeting."
posted by bondcliff at 10:20 AM on May 7, 2008 [7 favorites]


bondcliff FTW
posted by Smarson at 10:23 AM on May 7, 2008


all your food scraps are belong to you
posted by iconomy at 10:25 AM on May 7, 2008 [1 favorite]


Sarcasm, or any thing other than the most limp wristed humor, is not appropriate for a gathering of 200 people. At best your attempt will be over the heads of most and offensive to others.

Take tristeza's advice and run with it. Craft a statement that is serious, thoughtful, and appeals to people's sense of fairness.

The receptionist and I are good friends and since she usually has to clean up the messes, we're always joking about the messages we'd like to leave the offenders

Replace "receptionist" with "CEO" in the above and I say go with it. I doubt anyone really wants to know what you and the hourly staff spend your time joking about. Just say'n.

I figure this is our chance to make a point and work in a little humor while we're at it.

It's your chance to alienate yourself from a large swath of your coworkers.
posted by wfrgms at 10:29 AM on May 7, 2008


"More all-company meetings to discuss the dirty kitchen."
posted by shmegegge at 10:30 AM on May 7, 2008 [4 favorites]


As far as serious suggestions go, a strict throwing-everything-away policy generally works. Throw away everything left on the counter/in the sink at 5 (dishes included; if your office has actual dishes and cups replace them with disposable ones), and throw away everything in the fridge each Friday (things like salad dressing and unopened original containers being the only exceptions). It's totally wasteful, but it works.

Instead of making the receptionist do this shit (I have been the receptionist who's had to do this shit, and it's utterly demeaning and the worst part of the day), get volunteers to sign up for kitchen duty on a weekly rotating basis. Enough people probably care about the cleanliness of the kitchen to volunteer, and it's not so bad if you only have to do it one week out of every six.

With that out of the way, snarky suggestions:
-Hire 24-hour security for kitchen
-Convert kitchen into Starbucks franchise; 5% discount for company employees
-Company provides off-site catered lunch for all employees daily
-Post large "WHAT WOULD JESUS DO?" sign on fridge/above sink
posted by Metroid Baby at 10:32 AM on May 7, 2008 [1 favorite]


wfrgms - You've got a good point. However our company meetings are full of this type of joking around, senior management included. Thanks for the input though.

P.S. Receptionist is on salary because we know this place would crumble without her.

schmegege - Oooooo, I like it.
posted by Smarson at 10:36 AM on May 7, 2008


What WizKid said. Suggest that a security camera be installed, so that the offenders be caught on tape. Just the thought of it will encourage some to stop being so messy. Not for discussion in the idea box, but afterwards, your receptionist friend could order one of those fake security cameras (with the little red light) and put it up in the kitchen (out of reach). Also, add one of those warning signs with the eye on it, which have been shown to improve people's behaviour (sorry can't remember where I read that, but I think it was a crime prevention thing, no camera even required, just a picture of an eye!).

I agree with many others that a light-hearted suggestion won't improve anything. Making light of the problem will just suggest that it is a light-hearted haha problem and not a problem at all. I know that sounds really grumpy of me, but if you make a joke of it then the offenders will think its just a big joke anyway.
posted by Joh at 10:38 AM on May 7, 2008


"Rent a tiny battery-powered blimp and set it hovering next to the sink. Program the blimp to display the message GOOGLE CLEAN DISHES."
posted by dyoneo at 10:52 AM on May 7, 2008 [1 favorite]


"Hire a cleaning service"

My organization did this. Seriously, cleaning ladies walk around at night and pick up dirty dishes left hither and yon, put them in the dishwasher (yes we have a dishwasher), run it, and then put them away in the communal cabinet. I have to hide my own personal mug in the drawer. It's the most absurd thing ever.
posted by kimdog at 10:55 AM on May 7, 2008


"ban eating and convert the room into a storage space"

"All food left unattended will be dosed with psychoative compounds, and anyone hallucinating on company time will be fired"

"fire everyone"
posted by baggers at 11:14 AM on May 7, 2008


Unleash packs of wild dogs to take care of unattended food and the people who left it unattended.
posted by desjardins at 11:20 AM on May 7, 2008 [1 favorite]


I actually had Science Fair-style ribbons made (well, printed at home) and made little Science Fair project signs made for various things around the office kitchen.

First prize went to "Can A Caffeinated Beverage Left For 48 Hours Untended Grow Its Own Mould Spores Fed By Milk And Sugar?"

Believe it or not, it worked.
posted by Shepherd at 11:26 AM on May 7, 2008 [5 favorites]


Shephard - that is crazy enough to work
posted by Smarson at 11:29 AM on May 7, 2008


STRESSED SPELLED BACKWARDS IS DESSERTS
posted by mattbucher at 11:41 AM on May 7, 2008


At my office, there is a strict policy that EVERYTHING in the fridge must have a name on it. Anything without a name gets tossed, container and all. Also anything with an expiration date gets tossed if it goes past the date. A couple of self-appointed clean freaks do the tossing. I've never seen anything growing in the fridge at work. It's really amazing.

Another serious idea might be a cleaning rota, where one team or department is in charge of cleaning the kitchen each week.
posted by happyturtle at 11:53 AM on May 7, 2008


"We take off and nuke the entire kitchen from orbit. It's the only way to be sure it gets cleaned."
posted by fijiwriter at 11:59 AM on May 7, 2008 [1 favorite]


fijiwriter - Ho-ho-hold on, hold on one second. This installation has a substantial dollar value attached to it.
posted by Smarson at 12:01 PM on May 7, 2008 [1 favorite]


Frankly, I can't imagine a 200 person all-hands meeting to deal with dishes. Seriously, that just takes all the humor out of it.
posted by rhizome at 1:04 PM on May 7, 2008


I am baffled as to why it's such a hilarious idea that the cleaners should clean the office, including the kitchen and the dirty pots. Every place I've ever worked, it has been the responsibility of the cleaner to collect the dirty crockery, put it in the dishwasher and clean up. It doesn't add much to the cleaner's routine, and saves any discussion about who exactly was responsible for THIS cup and who was responsible for THIS one.
posted by emilyw at 3:28 PM on May 7, 2008


I am baffled as to why it's such a hilarious idea that the cleaners should clean the office, including the kitchen and the dirty pots.

No one said it was a joke. I worked for a small company that kept sending out e-mails to clean up the kitchen. They were "jokey" by HR, including cutesy animated shit. After a few of these and a couple of mocking jabs at some people, I finally replied with "get the cleaners to do it." I got a few responses back to the effect of people needing to clean up after themselves, etc. The next week the cleaners got to work on the kitchen. Sometimes that is all ti takes to get the ball rolling.
posted by geoff. at 5:39 PM on May 7, 2008


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