I Can Has Cheezburger?

10 Ways To Catch That One Coworker That Doesn't Do Their Dishes

  • 1

    Take a break on the music.

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    I get it. Sometimes those earphones that aren't playing music half the time are all that stand between you and the terrible reality of conversing with coworkers you'd just as easily ignore if you didn't share an office with them. However, you've gotta keep those ears to the ground, and ready yourself for the harsh clatter of once innocent and clean dishes being put to use. 

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  • 2


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    Get ahead on work, clear your calendar, do whatever you have to do to get yourself situated for the long haul of basically living in the kitchen. Yes, it's your new (temporary) home. Bring food and water; this might take awhile. Eventually, the culprit will come around to snag a plate or his fifth water glass (the other four are still on his desk, obviously), and the rest is history. 

  • 3

    Blame game

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    Don your best poker face and forget your moral compass at home, as you're about to play some devilish mind games. This tactic is all about pointing the finger at the hypothetical wrongdoer to see who's the most shook, after the fact. Who's blushing for no reason? Who's talking with the shaky voice like they overcommitted on the coffee (make sure it's not the coworker that always does)? From there, take rigorous mental notes, and wait patiently. The lazy coworker you're looking for might muster up enough energy to try and cover their tracks. 

  • 4

    Check your neighborhood desks

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    Sometimes tracking down the dirty dish creator by simply looking at their desk. You might find some suspect paraphernalia that looks like 3-week-old crusted silverware in plain sight, or that one mug you'd grown quite fond of til it fell off the face of the earth and into the wasteland they call their "workspace." 

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  • 5

    Identify the lunch-from-home guy/girl

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    When trying to solve the Mystery of the Dirty Dish it's important to know who's bringing their lunch from home all the time.  Are they bringing the necessary silverware/plates to back that operation up? Doubtful. All too often these motivated go-getters who get up early to make that financially-friendly lunch are often doing so at a cost to the kitchen. By the time they get around to eating they simply do not have the energy to clean the fork or plate after using it for lunch. If you notice someone is bringing their lunches to work, keep an eye on those plates, my friend. You must have your first clue. 

  • 6

    Assign everyone plates and silverware

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    If you feel inspired to make your office more rigid than normal (hopefully), and people genuinely uncomfortable as the day they first started there; then go ahead and label off some plates and silverware. Weird looks and emotional distress are guaranteed, but so is catching that culprit that forced your hand into doing this, in the first place. 

  • 7

    Start a formal investigation, gumshoe

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    Time to put your officially unofficial detective skills to work. Stir up some hot gossip with the office chatterboxes, and steer the conversation toward that cesspool that was the office's kitchen sink when the opportune time presents itself. Gauge interest levels, and defensiveness. Who is ALL about solving the office mystery, and who wants to talk about something else immediately? Therein lies the answer you're looking for, Sherlock.

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  • 8

    Complain, complain, and complain

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    It's now clear to your coworkers that your sole purpose is to make everyone else's existence dreadful through going full-on broken record when it comes to whining about the failing state of the office kitchen. Eventually, people will start to care about something more than themselves and their work, and ultimately band together to help solve the mystery of who's creating the dirty dish pile even if it's just to shut you up. I mean hey, desperate times call for desperate measures. 

  • 9

    Follow everyone around

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    Now you're that coworker that never seems to be at their actual desk. You're a vagabond, a drifter, a maverick determined to navigate the carpeted/wood-floored/etc highways between different desks, to shake up the peace and quiet; and invade people's personal space through following them around with conversation -- everywhere. It'll be uncomfortable for you, and for them, but stay strong and grind your teeth with stubborn persistence until you catch that dirty dish-making coworker in the act. The payoff's worth it. You want that kitchen back!

  • 10

    Kidnap the office dishes for ransom

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    You fancied yourself a reasonable enough individual who was even given over to fits of being an agreeable, pleasant coworker. You tried to keep the peace in your own way, through setting out on a mission to uncover the identity of the dirty dish-creating fiend. But the time for rational, calculated action has passed. The era of office supplied dishes has come to an end. It's time to take a stand and remove those dishes from the office. They've lost the right, you'll say to yourself. They MADE you do this. You didn't have a choice. When your co-workers start to notice the office will descend into madness and chaos will rule the land. That is until you take the leap of faith, let your co-workers know what you did, and hit 'em with your ransom: the office dishes and order once again, for the identity of the office slob. They'll have no choice but to break and give up the guilty party. For the sake of humanity, you've got to hope. We live in a society, after all. 

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