Do you often experience disappearing cutlery in your workplace? Have you ever wondered what happened to them? Have reminders such as “Please wash and return the cutlery to their rightful place” effective? What do you think?
Megan Lim from the Margaret Hellard and Campbell Aitken of the MacFarlane Burnet Institute For Medical Research in Melbourne carried out a study to “determine the overall rate of loss of workplace teaspoons and whether attrition and displacement are correlated with the relative value of the teaspoons or type of tearoom”:
James Ward believed that not all teaspoon loss is due to theft (malicious behavior) as indicated in Megan Lim’s study. He thinks absent-mindedness is partly the cause.The team secretly marked seventy teaspoons, placed each of them in one of eight communal kitchens at their Institute, and tracked the movement of the spoons over a five-month period. Eighty percent of the spoons went missing during this time, with half of them disappearing within the first eight-one days. Additional questionnaire data revealed that 36 percent of people said they had stolen a teaspoon at some point in their lives, with 18 percent admitting to such a theft in the last twelve months.
….. there seems to be an implication that people are acting maliciously. “An amnesty” for people “hoarding” teaspoons, implies that people are deliberately keeping a number of spoons in their desks (a pre-emptive strike, ensuring a private supply of spoons while at the same time making the problem worse for everyone else. It’s this kind of “every man for himself” mindset which usually gets you killed first during a zombie attack, so be warned, you selfish bastards). Similarly, the “return them to the kitchen” comment at the end of the second suggestion, implies that people are simply throwing the spoons in the bin because they can’t be bothered to go to the kitchen.
My belief is that the spoons are going missing through simple absent-mindedness. Who here has never accidentally thrown a spoon into the bin whilst dropping an empty yoghurt pot into the sink? We should show patience and understanding during these troubled times, not condemnation. Let he who is without sin, cast the first spoon.