Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Excuses–or lack thereof

 

When not too personally involved, I’ve been known to be pretty good at coming up with excuses for strange things people do (sort of trying to argue their case for them when they’re not there to do it themselves).

Sometimes, though, I have to confess I find it very hard to figure out any reason at all for very minor offenses. Like: Who steals a dish-washing brush – and why? (From the common laundry room in the building where I live. The brush was there last week, but gone today. I know the same one has been there for months, neither brand new nor so worn out that it deserved to just be thrown away. Unless something very serious happened to it since last Wednesday!)

More frequently, it’s the dishrags that disappear without trace. I usually end up donating a new used (but clean) one myself, as it does not seem worth the hassle of a phone call to complain about it. At the same time I just cant help wondering who takes them, and what on earth they do with them!

Any creative suggestions?

PS. I stole both pictures from the internet, out of pure laziness.

13 comments:

  1. Love this. You have my sympathy. Big, big hugs of sympathy
    I worked for years with a group of people who are culturally different from me. Very. Their attitude is that everything is used and then got rid of. Possessions are seen as bad. So the filter of the dishwasher was soon gone. These people could not ever empty the dishwasher, for obvious reasons. Brooms were thrown away after the first use. Tea towels. Tablecloths. And more. Why? In their culture if you own something then anyone can ask for it and you are obliged to give it to them. So the behaviour has developed that you retain nothing that someone could ask for. This gets taken to extremes and habits are formed. Imagine a life where you must hand over your car keys if asked. This happens today within their culture. The real purpose is of course to encourage consideration of the needs of others, but this is now rare behaviour within this particular cultural group. The greed has set in alongside the destructive lifestyle. So in the end these colleagues were never asked to do anything because of the collateral damage. We got used to not having what we wanted. We began to use the cheapest of everything instead of the most useful. It was definitely workplace bullying but for political reasons we could do nothing effective about this behaviour. It was not stealing for personal gain. The items were always thrown in bins.
    I know your situation is not like this actually. But I thought you might find my experience interesting. Some people consider stealing as a form of tidying.
    Perhaps you could make a laminated sign for the laundry area explaining that particular items are placed there for common use and have been paid for by residents.

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    1. Louise: I doubt that yet another laminated sign in the laundry room would make any difference, as I suspect that people who bother to read such signs at all are not really the ones most in need of the instructions printed on them! As for culture clashes, in the residential area where I live there is no obvious majority from a special cultural background. The situation that you describe sounds very extreme.

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  2. The inexplicable, sometimes offensive things people do and which I observe daily, are most often done without thinking. People are pretty much wrapped up in themselves for a lot of their time, not being aware of where they are in time and space; just look at how thoughtlessly they cross each other's paths in a public area like a supermarket, leaving their trolley in the middle of the aisle, or when you get off a train and the people who want to get on gather right in front of the door so that you have to push through them.
    I guess the case with the brush and rags could be similar; no harm meant. Maybe someone used the brush to scrub something really disgusting and threw it out afterwards.

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    Replies
    1. No doubt you're right, Meike. Yesterday at the supermarket I saw a bunch of young teens fooling around in the greengrocery department, taking photos of each other with their mobile phones while holding up various items and making silly faces. They were also literally running at full speed through the aisles and totally oblivious of anyone or anything besides their own group (five or six of them). For all I know I suppose they could have been on a school project (sent out by their teacher to check prices or something) but whatever the purpose (if there was one), their behaviour was disturbing all other customers. (I was almost literally run down by two of them.) And yet even more surprising to me was that there were supermarket staff just walking right past/through it all and totally ignoring it! (as if it were all part of the daily routine)

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  3. I have no experience of the culture Louise mentions but my thoughts were exactly along the lines of Meike's explanations. Which is quite handy because it means I am writing less.

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  4. Sometimes it's difficult to get your head around other peoples actions.
    Have a great day!

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  5. they must have the same mentality of the persons who stole all the Christmas ornaments off the tree in my doctors office.. or do you have children in your building? they might be guilty of throwing them away after playing with them. it is a strange thing to disappear.

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    1. There are about 18 flats in the building, Sandra, and there are all kinds of people living here - Swedish names and foreign ones, families and singles, young and old. You need your flat-key to get into the basement, though, and then on top of that there is a special key to the laundry room, so normally children wouldn't be in there without their parents. But then of course sometimes people leave doors open when they shouldn't as well... So who knows. (All in all, there were a lot more laundry room problems where I lived before, because there a lot more flats were sharing the same laundry space.)

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  6. People can be so inconsiderate. I'd put a GPS tracker on it and get to the bottom of it! :)

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    1. I'll consider it with the next dish-brush, Mersad... LOL :)

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  7. I'd probably bring my own brush and then tuck it back in my basket when done. But I do have a thing about shared things like this.

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  8. I agree with Norma.....walk with your own stuff to use and take back upstairs with you until next time.
    Let others worry about the missing items....this way you have one less thing to worry about in your life.

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  9. Norma, Virginia... The thing is that if there are no cleaning supplies in the room, no one (or very few) will bother to do any cleaning. If proper equipment is at hand, there is a much better chance that everyone does at least a bit of it (even if we might not all have the same standards).

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