Soap Opera

At work, I like my tea cup to be clean; I thoroughly wash it out every day or so. But, we ran out of dish detergent in the break room, and the office management people never brought in a new bottle. So, a few weeks ago I bought a little bottle of dish detergent on my own, brought it in, and left it on the counter so everyone could use it. No big deal, $1.50 worth of karma.

After a couple of days, it disappeared. Did someone swipe it? Did the office management not want us to have dish detergent (is that why they didn't replace the old bottle)? Questions. But, I found it, up in one of the cabinets above the sink. Someone must want the sink are to stay un-cluttered, I assumed. So, out of courtesy, I started putting it back in the cupboard when I was done.

A week or so later, it wasn't in its usual spot. Did someone take it? Etc.? No, it was on a different shelf, behind a box. Must've just been pushed back there when someone moved the box, I assumed, and put it back where I had been putting it. But, no. The next day, it was back behind the box. And the day after that, and the day after that. Hmm. And then I figured it out: Someone was hiding the dish detergent I brought in for everyone to use!

So, I started leaving it out on the counter next to the sink, where everyone can see it. And then the other person started hiding it in increasingly-inaccessible spots: top shelves, back corners; behind multiple boxes; under the sink; etc..

And now, every time I have to search for it, I chuckle to myself: someone has adopted this little bottle of orange detergent and is trying to hide it from everyone else!

But why? Does this person think he/she bought it and brought it in for their own personal use? Is he/she hoarding it, knowing the office people won't replace it ? (though how could the office people know it's run out, if they can't see the bottle?) What could possibly motivate someone to hide a bottle of dish detergent that they didn't even buy, that they have to assume was provided by the company for everyone else to use ?

6 thoughts on “Soap Opera

  1. joel hanes

    Time to take the game to a new level.

    Take in a new bottle every few days, and leave it out. How long will the hoarder continue to regard the detergent as so precious it must be hidden away for private use? Will three bottles change his or her perception, or will it take five? Ten?

    You can play a similar game with bartenders, if you ever drink at a bar. While the bartender’s attention is elsewhere, remove the napkin under your drink and hide it in your pocket or lap. How many times will the bartender replace the napkin before noticing what’s going on?

  2. cleek

    that could be interesting.

    i wonder if the hoarder would take the original bottle off to his/her cubicle, saving it for use after the new public bottle has run out – creating a personal emergency supply.

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