'Padlocks on the cupboards.' Office kitchen dramas that actually happened.

Let's be honest, the one major benefit of working remotely during the pandemic was not having to deal with office antics.

You know, people leaving passive aggressive notes on the stinky leftovers that have been in the communal fridge for a month.

Or someone nicking your best pen when you're in a meeting.

Or the toilet roll constantly being empty because no one replaced it.

I could go on...

But first, learn the real meaning of commonly said phrases at work. Post continues after video.

Video via Mamamia.

But now that most people have returned to the workplace at least a few days a week, the kitchen etiquette war is also back with a vengeance.

Last week, one disgruntled worker posted a photo of what they described as "peak pettiness" in their office fridge and people have A LOT of feelings about it.

In the photo posted to Reddit, someone had brought an actual padlock to secure a carton of milk for themselves.

My immediate (naïve) reaction was to think that it was completely over the top.

What is this world coming to if we can't shout our workmates a couple of drops of milk for their tea?

But it only took a quick look at the reactions from thousands of people to realise I was in the minority.


People were mad. Really mad.

And most of them agreed that needing to lock or protect your belongings in a workplace is unfortunately commonplace

"100% justifiable. No one respects other people's items in the communal fridge. I haven't used the communal fridge in 20 years, all it took was seeing one grubby person rooting through everyone's lunch bags one time and I was out," one person said.

Meanwhile, others shared the insanely bizarre situations they've experienced.

"A co-worker once opened my new jar of kimchi, ate some, and then threw the entire thing in the bin because it was 'gross'," one person admitted.

"I've had to bring in my own hand soap (allergies), which everyone kept using, so I put it in a box to avoid the obvious misunderstanding, but I would still come in to find people had pulled it out and left it out for everyone to use. People are a**holes when they think you're being petty, so your only option is to up the petty," added another.

So I asked the Mamamia community to share their kitchen war stories with me – and boy were there some doozies!

Here's what some of them had to say:


"We once organised a big charity bake sale at work and had posters up all over the office, so everyone was aware it was happening. But when the afternoon came, and we went to get the baked goods out of the fridge, someone had taken a literal chunk out of one of the cakes. My colleague had baked it from scratch and was furious, so sent around a note asking the culprit to kindly come and add their donation to the charity tin. No one ever fessed up."



"Our old office manager put padlocks on all the cupboards and made us bring in our own mug and plate because no one would keep the kitchen clean. We even had to bring our own forks."


"A colleague, who was a regular passive aggressive note leaver, once told us that if things in the fridge aren't labelled, then they're considered office property and therefore anyone can take it. So one of us (maybe me) labelled every single thing in the fridge including the light and the temp dial and the shelves in a moment of malicious compliance."

Listen to 8 Minutes To Change Your (Work) Life on how we can use aspects of performance to improve our communication skills at work. Post continues below.


"At my old workplace everyone kept stealing the cutlery so as the numbers started to dwindle, people were hoarding the forks and spoons in their drawers. It got to the point where everyone had to supply their own if they wanted to avoid eating with their hands!"


"When I was in my first job, there was a lunch thief who had no shame. I was never the victim (phew!), but I saw my co-workers suffer at the hands of the snack nabber. It started with a yoghurt – innocent enough, maybe someone bought the same Yoplait and thought it was theirs, right? But when a colleague brought in two cut, buttered and Gladwrapped hot cross buns one Easter, she went to heat them up for morning tea only to find someone had covertly unwrapped the bundle, taken one and rewrapped the other to place back in the fridge. What. The. Heck."

Feature Image: Reddit/Pinterest.

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