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I am clearly too busy writing notes, so could somebody less important than me take care of this?

July 13th, 2010 · 63 comments

One reason that notes of the do this/move this/clean this variety inspire so much ire among recipients is the fact that, more often than not, writing the note probably took more time and effort than it would have for the writer to just do/move/clean it themselves. (But of course, to the martyrs in the office, it’s always about the principle of the thing.) Office kitchens seem to be ground zero for this particular type of pettiness.

At Jacqueline’s workplace in San Francisco, for example, “someone left a clean mug on an empty counter” — an offense that was apparently too grave for one coworker to let slide without comment.

this is in the way

Meanwhile, in Ohio, our anonymous submitter came into work one morning to see this note “on a table with maybe two crumbs on it.” Her solution? “I took the picture, put the cleaning supplies away, and moved the note. Later, I was thanked for cleaning the table.”

SOMEONE...Please clean up this messy lunch table!

related: BAD SALAMI!

FILED UNDER: a little uptight · cleaning · office · Ohio · San Francisco

63 responses so far ↓

  • #1   Dean Treadway

    Fuck that bitch. I’d be smashing that cup in her face and laughing. Job be damned.

    Jul 13, 2010 at 10:23 pm   rating: 7  small thumbs up

    • #1.1   shesajem

      I’m glad I don’t work with you..

      Jul 13, 2010 at 10:37 pm   rating: 72  small thumbs up

    • #1.2   JetJackson

      You mean the only thing at risk for glassing someone in the face is your job. Damn! I have been resigning the wrong way. No more letters of resignation for me… next I am going to resign a la coffee cup in the face of my employer!

      Jul 13, 2010 at 11:29 pm   rating: 38  small thumbs up

    • #1.3   Mo®

      Someone should just leave a little “fudge” in the cup.

      Jul 14, 2010 at 12:38 pm   rating: 6  small thumbs up

    • #1.4   kapt

      this is now one of my favorite comments
      “No more letters of resignation for me… next I am going to resign a la coffee cup in the face!”

      Jul 16, 2010 at 10:17 am   rating: 10  small thumbs up

  • #2   Fridge Pirate

    The cleaning supplies were fucking delicious.

    Jul 13, 2010 at 10:30 pm   rating: 12  small thumbs up

    • #2.1   lolsuz

      Pirates? In MY punchline???

      Jul 13, 2010 at 10:45 pm   rating: 5  small thumbs up

    • #2.2   Canthz_B bang

      If only it were an actual punchline.

      Jul 13, 2010 at 11:56 pm   rating: 11  small thumbs up

    • #2.3   se

      You should try drinking the cleaning supplies, then you could tell us if they really were fucking delicious.

      Jul 14, 2010 at 8:18 am   rating: 25  small thumbs up

    • #2.4   Screaming Monkey

      I loathe you.
      Sincerely, Monkey

      Jul 15, 2010 at 10:41 am   rating: 2  small thumbs up

    • #2.5   Maas

      At least it was brilliantly witty…
      Oh wait…

      Jul 17, 2010 at 10:33 am   rating: 2  small thumbs up

  • #3   Nack

    It’s amazing how much effort people will go through to avoid having to clean…

    I find it much easier to just get ‘er done than whine about someone else needing to.

    Jul 13, 2010 at 10:43 pm   rating: 7  small thumbs up

    • #3.1   KoS

      Yeah, but it sucks when you don’t make the mess, but always end up cleaning up after your slob co-workers. I spent a half hour once doing dishes that weren’t mine just to keep the fruitfly population down. (And yes, that’s “down” and not “away.”) That shit gets old fast, yo.

      Jul 13, 2010 at 10:58 pm   rating: 77  small thumbs up

    • #3.2   TheOldSchool bang

      I don’t know much about fruitflies, but I do know quite a lot about maggots.

      Among the more gregarious of insects, maggots love to party. They are first to arrive on the scene whenever someone dies.

      Their feeding frenzies usually begin at the nostrils, eyes, and mouth of a fresh corpse (places that are soft and moist, yet meaty, too). They can devour their host’s entire body within three months.

      Interestingly enough, maggots breathe through their assholes, so their mouths are completely free to burrow down into the decaying flesh and pig out like there’s no tomorrow.

      Jul 14, 2010 at 2:54 am   rating: 13  small thumbs up

    • #3.3   Na

      It’s one thing to always having to spend half an hour cleaning up mess that isn’t yours because other people have no standards of cleanliness, it’s another thing spending a fraction of a second and barely any effort at all moving a mug slightly to the side.

      Jul 14, 2010 at 3:41 am   rating: 29  small thumbs up

    • #3.4   HandyMarigolds

      @TheOldSchool: Maggots in the breakroom, eh? You work at the University of Tennessee Anthropological Research Facility, don’t you?

      Jul 14, 2010 at 9:21 am   rating: 7  small thumbs up

    • #3.5   WotV

      The whole cleaning up without making the mess is called Parenthood.

      Jul 14, 2010 at 1:52 pm   rating: 8  small thumbs up

    • #3.6   jayskinner70

      @ WotV: Its also known as OCD! I speak from experience.

      Jul 15, 2010 at 8:05 am   rating: 3  small thumbs up

  • #4   shwonline bang

    Only possible response to the note on the mug: Move it a few inches and write, “What about now?”

    Jul 13, 2010 at 11:19 pm   rating: 101  small thumbs up

    • #4.1   Z

      Yeah, I would have left a note informing them to move it then.

      Jul 14, 2010 at 1:01 am   rating: 1  small thumbs up

    • #4.2   Madrias bang

      I’d have broken the cup and written, “Is this still in your way?”

      Jul 14, 2010 at 4:23 pm   rating: 2  small thumbs up

    • #4.3   Citrico

      Replace it with a picture of the note-maker’s family, move post-it above note-maker’s head.

      Jul 14, 2010 at 4:26 pm   rating: 7  small thumbs up

    • #4.4   Naoyusimi

      I <3 you!

      I'm trying not to shake the bed with my laughter; my fiance is trying to sleep … ::shakes fist:: dammnnn yoouuu!!

      Jul 14, 2010 at 11:34 pm   rating: 1  small thumbs up

  • #5   Canthz_B bang

    That cup is in the way?
    She doesn’t even look pregnant!

    Jul 13, 2010 at 11:48 pm   rating: 6  small thumbs up

  • #6   Team Beasly

    The mess is always, always infinitely more obnoxious than the note. Yes, it may be quicker on any given instance to play maid to some overgrown child, but if you add up all the time you spend cleaning up after 30+ year old children, it will be far more than the time spent writing a note.

    Furthermore, asking them to their face (the alternative always suggested here) never works either. No matter how syrupy sweet you are, workplace slobs inevitably get shrill and defensive when such a request is made to them. Of course, the note never works either, so that’s why you simply proceed to subtly undermine their career.

    Fuck them, clean up after yourself like an adult.

    Jul 13, 2010 at 11:55 pm   rating: 17  small thumbs up

    • #6.1   Crisp Flows

      I’ve been in a headlock for crumbs on a stove.

      Seriously. Four other room-mates and he decided I was the culprit.

      I moved out at the end of the week – That kind of obsession isn’t healthy. (There’s more than one thing affecting health and quality of life is one of them.)

      Jul 17, 2010 at 2:28 pm   rating: 3  small thumbs up

  • #7   gladystopia

    Okay, Captain Buzzkill has arrived to overthink photo #2… could someone have maybe already cleaned the table off, but left the cleaning supplies and the note as a sort of sardonic “yes, mother dear”…or as his/her own PA “…because I am NOT gonna do it for you AGAIN”???

    (I’m sorry. I’m brain-bound tonight–snarkstipated?? whatever. I should go drink something vodka-based.)

    Jul 14, 2010 at 12:00 am   rating: 11  small thumbs up

  • #8   Froget Menot

    Muggabugga : Person purposedly leaving clean empty mugs on spotless counters.
    ex : ” Rats ! the house is full of muggabuggas , lemme get my pan,Cupcake. “

    Jul 14, 2010 at 1:00 am   rating: 1  small thumbs up

  • #9   Janellionaire

    GOD, I need to start doing this in my house. I’m gonna leave post-its on every unwashed dish, every soda can left half-drunk on the counter, every WET TOWEL IN THE CLEAN LAUNDRY WHY JUST WHY. Do I think it will make the children and spouse change their ways? No. However, it will be fun for me, and that makes it worthwhile. I remember living at home, with the most passive-aggressive stepparent ever, and our silent, rage-filled battles were EPIC. I miss that. Sorry all the caps. Not sorry enough to go back and change them, mind, but take what you can get.

    Jul 14, 2010 at 1:53 am   rating: 26  small thumbs up

  • #10   Zoe

    I love the mug & note. It’s like art, seriously. Put it in a museum and I’m sure art lovers will waffle on about the disconnect between people in society and the significance of the dark blue mug and choosing a post-it as a means of communications.

    Jul 14, 2010 at 2:00 am   rating: 26  small thumbs up

    • #10.1   HandyMarigolds

      If everybody in the San Francisco office takes the same approach, their breakroom may eventually become just such a gallery.

      Jul 14, 2010 at 9:24 am   rating: 5  small thumbs up

    • #10.2   Froget Menot

      Wooah..look at this table and cup locked in a tension of opposites ..
      Parlez vous Dada ?

      Jul 14, 2010 at 10:39 am   rating: 10  small thumbs up

    • #10.3   DensityDuck

      One time I put a chair in the middle of the hall, with a note on it saying “Please Do Not Move This Chair”. I wanted to see how long it would take before someone moved it. (Turns out it was there for a week until I finally moved it myself.)

      Jul 20, 2010 at 3:42 pm   rating: 12  small thumbs up

  • #11   Zoe

    And the post-it doesn’t stick, it needs sticky tape to hold it to the mug. I’m sure it’s a metaphor.

    Jul 14, 2010 at 2:01 am   rating: 7  small thumbs up

  • #12   Canthz_B bang

    Drives me nuts when people state the obvious.

    Remove the Post-it note and the cup would be fully visible. As it is now, the note is (as it says) in the way.

    Jul 14, 2010 at 2:17 am   rating: 27  small thumbs up

    • #12.1   TheOldSchool bang

      The cup is in The Tao, but it is not capable of realizing that it is in The Tao.

      The Post-it note realizes the cup is in The Tao, but doesn’t realize that the cup can not realize that concept.

      I’m guessing that a reefer might bring about some clarity.

      Jul 14, 2010 at 3:16 am   rating: 10  small thumbs up

    • #12.2   infant tyrone bang

      We could roll up a spliff using one of the pages from our old political adviser, the “Quotations of the Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers”.

      As we achieve a Post-it Toastied level of cerealism, smells of the lyrics of old pop tunes fill our synesthesiac sensoria.
      Memories, light the corner of my mind…*
      See her shake on the movie screen…**
      And more, much more than this…***
      More than this – there is nothing.****
      More than this – tell me one thing.
      More than this – there is nothing.

      So, this is our fate…
      searching for a path
      drawn to a ceramic being
      too stoned to document its own trip…
      our clues, sketchy, left on sticky things
      by commenting kibitzers full of good intentions


      Jul 14, 2010 at 7:23 am   rating: 5  small thumbs up

    • #12.3   HandyMarigolds

      Maybe this mothership needs to launch a sister site called “”

      Jul 14, 2010 at 1:07 pm   rating: 6  small thumbs up

    • #12.4   infant tyrone bang

      We could roll up a blunt using one of the pages from our old political adviser, the “Quotations of the Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers”.

      As we achieve a Post-it Toastied level of cerealism, smells of the lyrics of old pop tunes fill our synesthesiac sensoria.
      Memories, light the corner of my mind…*
      See her shake on the movie screen…**
      And more, much more than this…***
      More than this – there is nothing.
      More than this – tell me one thing.
      More than this – there is nothing.

      So, this is our fate…
      searching for a path
      drawn to a ceramic being
      too stoned to document its own trip…
      our clues, sketchy, left on sticky things
      by commenting kibitzers full of good intentions


      Jul 14, 2010 at 2:37 pm   rating: 1  small thumbs up

  • #13   acumoxa

    The maggots were delicious.

    Jul 14, 2010 at 5:44 am   rating: 1  small thumbs up

  • #14   Froget Menot

    QED ! Taoist zombies , of courpse.
    How thrilling to learn everyday .

    Jul 14, 2010 at 6:34 am   rating: 2  small thumbs up

  • #15   Pegasus99

    To the point of “it would take you less time to clean up the mess than write a note.”

    It’s not my mess. I didn’t make it, so why should I clean it? My coworkers were in the nasty habit of leaving their dishes in the sink to be “washed later.” Of course, later never came, and dishes were stacked overnight, attracting insects. Fucking gross. So, I issued fair warning verbally at lunchtime; clean your fucking dishes or else.

    No one listened.

    That afternoon at closing, I threw all the dishes out. Silver, glasses, plates, all of it. Without word and without ceremony, save the terrific noise as it went in the dumpster.

    Chaos ensued. I was a bitch. I was awful. How dare I. What the fuck was I thinking. Jesus Christ, why didn’t I just wash them?

    BECAUSE I AM NOT YOUR FUCKING MAID. Once one person starts to do it, then that person will always be expected to do it. So, NO!!!

    Leaving your garbage out for others to see is just as much a passive aggressive statement of “clean up my shit,” as is a note decrying the civil violation. Grown ups in a Grown Up situation like an office kitchen must adhere to the unwritten rules of common decency and clean up after themselves. Period. Not doing so fosters a poisonous culture of assholism which eventually will cost the company money. (As more people are acting like children at daycare rather than do their fucking jobs.)

    In the end, my coworkers resorted to plastic plates and disposable flatware. Now I think they are wasteful bastards in addition to being lazy assholes.

    Jul 14, 2010 at 6:57 am   rating: 75  small thumbs up

    • #15.1   jayskinner70

      Meow! I’d hate you, Pegasus, for being such a bitch. But, secretly, I’d love it!!!

      Jul 14, 2010 at 7:10 am   rating: 3  small thumbs up

    • #15.2   HandyMarigolds

      I’m impressed, Pegasus. Don’t blame you one bit. (What happens when someone takes your red stapler?)

      Still, I get the impression you’d have been pretty chill about it than the NWs if someone left a clean mug (fig. 1) or two crumbs (fig. 2) sitting around one afternoon.

      Jul 14, 2010 at 9:28 am   rating: 10  small thumbs up

    • #15.3   mamason bang

      Pegasus, you may be named after the wrong mythological creature.

      Jul 14, 2010 at 12:06 pm   rating: 12  small thumbs up

    • #15.4   Madrias bang

      I’ve done worse. Some friends left a massive stack of plates to be cleaned, and I stated “It’s not my mess, not my job, and if it’s not cleaned up by tonight, they won’t be there in the morning.”

      Of course, they didn’t take it seriously, so I unloaded with a BB gun into the dirty dishes, and then told them, “Go f-ing clean it up!” They slouched in there to clean it up.

      Jul 14, 2010 at 4:28 pm   rating: 2  small thumbs up

    • #15.5   mamason bang

      Sure you did. :roll:

      Jul 14, 2010 at 6:06 pm   rating: 18  small thumbs up

    • #15.6   JetJackson

      I’ve done worse… My flatmates left a whole lot of old mouldy leftovers in the fridge and I stated “It’s not my food, not my job, it’s taking up space in the fridge and if it’s not cleaned up by tonight I will throw out everything in the fridge including the containers.”

      Heh… of course, they didn’t take me seriously, so I choked one with some 10Base T cable and slashed the others throat with a stanley knife. I then went and tracked down their immediate families and slaughtered them with a sumarai sword I bought on ebay. Returning to the house I was all “Go F-ing clean it up!” only to realise my flatmates wouldn’t be able to clean out the leftovers from the Fridge, you know, being dead and all. Of course they now had no immediate family to inherit the cleaning responsibility . So I blew up the fridge with an improvised explosive device I made from a gas canister and some sparklers.

      Sure a lot of people died but at least I didn’t have to clean out the fridge. I am a man of principle after all.

      Jul 14, 2010 at 8:57 pm   rating: 31  small thumbs up

    • #15.7   FeRD bang

      I’ve done worse… I read that whole story, and the main thing on my mind as I did was: “There’s no such thing as 10bT cable. JJ’s probably referring to Cat5 unshielded twisted-pair (UTP), which is spec’d for both 10bT and 100bT. But I bet it’d be a lot more satisfying to use 10b2 coax — you’d have to be pretty strong, but that stuff’s hard as hell!”

      See? Way worse!

      Jul 14, 2010 at 10:49 pm   rating: 6  small thumbs up

    • #15.8   JetJackson

      It’s all semantics and really it was the closest thing at hand. I would have used the power cord off the fridge for a sense of irony but dragging the fridge into my sleeping flatmates bedroom to do so would have ruined the element of surprise.

      Jul 14, 2010 at 11:26 pm   rating: 9  small thumbs up

    • #15.9   Canthz_B bang

      I’ve done worse…I’m The Candyman, so I ate my room mates’ dishes and shit them back on their beds.

      Jul 15, 2010 at 1:36 am   rating: 5  small thumbs up

    • #15.10   infant tyrone bang

      It’s a shame Ebay is so squeamish about auctioning body parts.
      Selling off just the dead livers would have offset the cost of the sword.
      But then, to a man of principle, such considerations are secondary.

      P.S. If you decide to go the irony route next time, don’t make the same mistake I made when I had my little endocrinological “vacation”.
      Cut the cord about a hand-width away from the fridge.
      This will leave you plenty of room to splice it all back to “nice” later.

      Maybe you’re thinking I yanked so hard it ripped out a bunch of the behind-the-back-panel components attached to the power cord.
      No such luck…the strain relief hardware at the panel was so robust that my granny-lifting-a-Cadillac tug wound up upending the reefer.
      The pull took so much out of me that I couldn’t put the fridge upright until so much time had elapsed that, in addition to dealing with the localized entropy spike inside the fridge, I had seriously damaged the compressor.

      Unable to snuggle into irony’s sweet harbor on the up and up by virtue of the reefer’s being down and on its side, but still feeling the need for cordless fun, I smuggled a bit of irony into the affair by dispatching my housemates with a pair of disposable chopsticks that were available only because I got home too late to participate in the take-out bash that precipitated the mess of unwashed dishes in the sink in the first place.

      Somehow Teddy’s two gram piece of hashlike goo got mixed up with Jenny’s mango lassi, which I slurped up to cool down after the fracas with the chopsticks, so the one set of small bright spots in the whole episode was the batch of pixels that I experienced in pixilated Technicolor while watching Double Indemnity on Channel Three. During the penultimate commercial break, I finally came down enough to size up the situation.

      I moved the unmolested items from the house fridge to the one in the RV, packed a few odd pieces of clothing, and hit the road, which these days always runs past a Starbucks store, upon whose WiFi signal this fugitive memo is piggbacking its way to you. Carry wire cutters, laddy!

      Jul 15, 2010 at 2:23 am   rating: 2  small thumbs up

  • #16   kthejoker

    Did anyone read both messages wrong the first time?

    Message #1: The Post-It note is in the way of the cup.

    Message #2: Please put these cleaning supplies back where they belong.

    I honestly didn’t make the “clean up” connection until I actually read the text of the blog post. I must be immune to passive-aggressiveness.

    Jul 14, 2010 at 7:37 am   rating: 10  small thumbs up

    • #16.1   mamason bang

      Maybe you’re just really stupid.

      Jul 14, 2010 at 6:08 pm   rating: 13  small thumbs up

  • #17   debchasteen

    I would have gone outside, picked a few flowers, and put them in the cup, first removing the Post-it, then leaving the cup in the same place.

    Jul 14, 2010 at 8:50 am   rating: 30  small thumbs up

    • #17.1   Froget Menot

      You truly deserve the Meret Oppenheimer Cup award :)

      Jul 14, 2010 at 2:16 pm   rating: 1  small thumbs up

    • #17.2   Beanster bang

      i’m unspeakably moved by this. i’m not even joking. i’m going to go make some happy art now. with happy music and birds. and then fall in love. and make breakfast for my mom.

      Jul 14, 2010 at 5:50 pm   rating: 12  small thumbs up

  • #18   Marvelous

    Love the first one. It is fantastically funny when you think of it as a whole. Lighten up people and enjoy a laugh. Whoever left the note should get 4 stars for creativity and if you have to ask why, you wouldn’t get the answer.

    Jul 14, 2010 at 1:49 pm   rating: 0  small thumbs up

    • #18.1   TheOldSchool bang

      How come?

      Jul 15, 2010 at 3:54 am   rating: 5  small thumbs up

  • #19   aaa bang

    Ceci n’est pas une pipe.

    Jul 14, 2010 at 8:04 pm   rating: 5  small thumbs up

  • #20   been there

    Place a vacuum cleaner or fire extinguisher on the table next to it. Clearly in your handwriting, post-it: “So is this.”

    Jul 15, 2010 at 1:12 pm   rating: 0  small thumbs up

  • #21   Tracy

    I am so glad I found this site. I’m subscribed and can’t wait to read more. I wrote a blog post about a post-it note encounter and found you. Amen sista!

    Jul 18, 2010 at 4:32 pm   rating: 0  small thumbs up

  • #22   Brian Tristam Williams

    To all those who say “it’s easier just to do it yourself than to ask them to clean up after themselves,” enjoy your life as the office cleaning person – because it will never end.

    Aug 24, 2010 at 8:09 am   rating: 4  small thumbs up


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