So What is the Work Fridge Yogurt Etiquette?


The yogurt. Look how it's foil wrapper is beckoning.  "Eat me," it says. I hear you, yogurt, I really do.

The yogurt. Look how it’s foil wrapper is beckoning. “Eat me,” it says. I hear you, yogurt, I really do.

I am facing temptation in a plastic cup with a foil top–there’s a raspberry flavored Yoplait-brand yogurt on the second shelf of the mini-fridge that’s located next to the printer in the hall on the first floor of Warde Hall.

Is it mine? I’m asking about the yogurt, not the refrigerator—in fact the mini-fridge is mine, but that’s beside the point. I think.

The problem is I’m not sure I brought that yogurt last week in my lunch, but I think I did. More days than not, I do bring such a serving of yogurt as part of my lunch. Besides an apple, a Yoplait is the most common ingredient in my lunches. It would have been easy for me to bring that raspberry flavored yogurt, but fail to consume it. Maybe I had a peanut butter sandwich and some chips that day, and simply forgot about the yogurt.

After all, I sometimes find a cup of my coffee the next day abandoned in the common microwave that is also in the hall and also (the microwave and coffee both, in this case) belongs to me. It’s not unusual for me to nuke it and forget it.

Leave a part of my lunch just sitting in the fridge through errant forgetfulness? That sure sounds like something I would do. I am seriously entertaining the notion that it is something I actually did do. But, I’m just not sure.

I’m almost convinced that the yogurt in the fridge is mine. It could be. I’ve been watching it all week, and it hasn’t been moved or touched by anybody else.

So, should I eat it?

Then again, I have a history of embarrassing lunch shenanigans. In my previous job, there was a brand of microwave noodle dish that I frequently brought for lunch, so one day I found one in the work fridge, assumed it was mine, ate it, and thereby deprived a sweet old lady of the lunch that she had brought.

I was mortified.

I don’t want to be stealing Adam’s yogurt. Or Edy’s, or Dave’s, or Dennis’ or Jen’s.

Yet, if I brought it in the first place, eating it would not be stealing at all. It sure looks like my yogurt. And it has been sitting in my fridge for at least a week. I put the fridge in the hall so that my cohorts can also use it—it would be wasteful to have this power-sucking appliance in one office where only one person would have access to it. As mini-fridges go, it’s a bit bigger than most, with a crew and a captain well seasoned. No, no, I mean it’s too big for one man’s office, so I arranged, with the help of the Warde Hall custodians, to have it plugged in next to the printer, and I know much of the food in the fridge is not mine, which is fine—the fridge is in the hall intentionally so that anybody who wants to can use it. But, do they have to tempt me with my favorite flavor of Yoplait?

So this is my problem: Do I eat the yogurt, figuring it was either mine to begin with or it has been officially orphaned by now? Or do I act like an ubernerd and question everyone who works on my floor about the ownership of this microbial bit of spoiling milk? Then again, do I put a Post-It note on the yogurt itself, saying “please eat me if you own me or someone who thinks they might own me but isn’t sure might eat me first?” And what size Post-It note would all those words fit on? Surely one that is way too big for a Yoplait container.

Gosh darn it. I had made up my mind Wednesday. It was late in the day, I was getting hungry, and there were few people around. Time for a little yogurt snack, I’d say.

But I got busy and didn’t eat it. And now I’m all in doubt again. To eat or not to eat, that is the quandary. Whether it is nobler to allow the Yoplait to spoil in order to avoid the possibility that I might be encroaching on another’s dairy product, or whether it’s better to ensure that this food doesn’t go to waste by giving it opportunity to go to my waist.

What will I do? What should I do? And whatever I do, are there raspberries involved?

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