At work we have a kitchen on my floor. We call it The Caf. I'm not sure why we call it that. It is nothing like a cafeteria in that no food is served there and there are no lunch ladies present. But it is where everybody convenes to eat their homemade or fast food bought lunches, so in a way, it is a little similar to a cafeteria. One good thing about cafeterias is that you generally do not have to deal with cleaning them. That job is usually left to a trained and paid professional. This is where our caf differs from normal cafeterias and begins to seem more like a kitchen. We have janitors that clean the floors, tables, etc., but for smaller things, the burden lies on us.
To make it fair, we have a cleaning schedule that pairs you up with someone, and for one week, you and that person are supposed to empty/load the dishwasher, clean the microwaves, and periodically clean out the fridge. I'll be honest and say that I am not the best kitchen cleaning partner. I always forget to start the dishwasher before I leave or to empty it in the morning. I'm just inconsiderate like that. Most of the time, it is never a big deal because I am normally paired with some nice and generous person that realizes I am much to busy and important to remember small things like starting a dishwasher, or so I like to believe. However, this past time I got paired with someone who was not going to put up with my lax kitchen cleaning ways. This lady was serious about cleaning the kitchen. I didn't catch onto this at first though. I still went about my oblivious ways, leaving without loading the dishwasher, not unloading it until lunch, etc. Then one day my co-worker comes to me and tells me that she heard Crazy Kitchen Cleaning Lady talking smack about me. About how I was no help to her at all, which maybe, might have been, okay it probably was true, but no need to talk smack about me.
Needless to say, I felt a bit guilty. And I felt a little mad that my good name was getting tarnished over something so stupid. I mean, I would much rather get a bad reputation for doing illegal drugs in the bathroom, not for failing to unload a dishwasher. I decided to make nice with the lady and I offered to clean both refrigerators out on that Friday.
Now, when most people clean out the refrigerators, they send out an email letting everyone know that stuff is about to get thrown away. Come get your crap, or it's going in the garbage. Most people refer to this as a 'refrigerator purge'. So I go to send out the warning email and I think to myself, "Why not at least make it funny and relevant to the times?" Well, it was summer, and most people go to a pool in the summer. With this is mind, I crafted the following email:
"The refrigerators want to lose a little weight in time for pool season. Therefore, REFRIGERATOR PURGE on Friday."
I got a few responses saying things along the lines of "Haha! Clever, clever". No harm done. Until I get an email that simply said the following:
"You are sick."
Now, that is a little ambiguous, but considering the source, someone had taken offense to my email. I couldn't figure it out. I was dumbfounded. How could anyone take offense to that? I went back and read the email over and over and I could still find nothing. So I read it once more, and that's when it hit me.
The refrigerators want to lose weight, so they are going to purge. And that would make them bulimic. I had just insulted all the bulimic refrigerators.
I didn't really think anything of it, so I told my manager about it in a joking way. However, the look of concern that flashed on his face told me that it might not be the best joke. The entire company had just been going through all this PC and sensitivity training, and my little insult to bulimic refrigerators might have bothered other people. So you know what I had to do? I had to send out an APOLOGY EMAIL that said the following:
"I'm sorry if anyone took offense to my previous email. All I meant to say was that I am going to be cleaning out the refrigerators. Thank you."
And let me tell you, as soon as that email hit everyone's in boxes, I had about 20 responses and 20 calls from people wondering who got offended, and did I get in trouble, and how they didn't understand how that email could have been offensive, etc. All of a sudden, this stupid email I sent had blown way out of proportion.
For an entire week, I waited for a call from HR. I waited for them to call me down so that they could talk to me about my offensive behavior. I thought I might have to present some special report to my co-workers about the dangers of bulimic refrigerators. But nothing ever happened. I guess HR doesn't mind if their refrigerators are bulimic, but God help you if you ever wear flip flops.