THE ETHICS of using office refrigerators start with: Don't leave your uneaten lunches to rot in the shared employee fridge. Many an office refrigerator has a warning sign taped on its front door declaring that all food still there on Friday afternoons will be tossed. No looking for mold, no sniffing for a telltale stench. It's gone in the wastebasket. And it's your turn to clean it out next Friday thank you very much -- and don't forget to bring a fresh box of baking soda -- and some vinegar for cleaning.
YUCK, YUCK, YUCK
Yesterday, a worker at one of AT&T's call centers in San Jose, Calif. decided to clean a fridge full of odoriferous, rotten food left by co-workers. Because it was such a stinking mess, the office worker put the food in a conference room (not being one to throw someone else's food way, rotting or not) and scrubbed down the mess inside the fridge. And not being one to do the job half-way either, the AT&T employee used not one, but two, cleaning chemicals. Rrrutt-Rrrow!
The chemical mixture, combined with the odor of rotting flesh, didn't cause any discomfort for the office worker. She couldn't smell anything due to her allergies. The rest of the office, however, had to be evacuated as the combination of old lunches and disinfectant chemicals left 28 people nauseous and vomiting.
AMBULANCES, FIREFIGHTERS AND HAZMAT
The AT&T folks called 911 and some 325 employees poured out to a parking lot. Some 50 firefighters and 18 emergency vehicles raced to the scene, reports the San Jose Mercury News. Ambulances took 7 employees to be hospitalized AND a hazmat team, for cryin'-out-loud, had to be called.
Jeez! All the woman tried to do was clean the fridge.
THE FOULEST SMELL ON EARTH
In a Los Angeles Times article, Aaron Zitner wrote back in 2002 that there is a smell that makes your eyes get teary and your stomach weak, inducing a gag reflex:
"It that raw sewage? " Zitner asks. "A rotting squirrel? The brain is too distracted to answer. Pamela Dalton has uncorked the foulest smell on earth. It comes from one of the vials that Dalton keeps under a ventilated hood in her laboratory, where the bottles carry impish labels: Burned Hair, Bathroom Malodor. And worst of all, Stench Soup, an odor so reeking of ripe Porta Potties -- or is it dead possum? -- that it fills the mind with white noise."
In her laboratory at the Monell Chemical Senses Center, an independent research facility, Dalton was in search of the world's most offensive odor, an interest of the Department of Defense. Hey, it's a whole lot more humane than bombs.
ANYONE REMEMBER THE OUTHOUSE?
I guess there aren't that many people still alive (at least in the U.S.) who know from first-person experience the adventure of hiking to the outhouse. Back then, they didn't use sanitizing chemicals, also a help in odor nullification, which is used in today's above-mentioned Porta Potties. Nor was the outhouse hole-in-the-ground emptied daily -- it just sat there, with a little lime,creating gases and communing with the flies.
Let someone else clean the fridge, and please, don't ask me to smell the clumpy milk, okay?