Etiquette Hell

General Etiquette => All In A Day's Work => Topic started by: spookycatlady on January 04, 2013, 11:32:17 AM

Title: This feels off... Hand-me downs and unusual behavior.
Post by: spookycatlady on January 04, 2013, 11:32:17 AM
There have been a couple of incidents that have left me feeling a bit weird about one of my colleagues:

When my new desktop was ordered, Kim privately told me that my then-manager (Barb) told Kim to sit with IT when they installed it and to swap out my brand new keyboard with the manager's old one-- so Barb could get the new, unsullied one one.  Fortunately, this never happened.  I sat with IT during the install, and Megacorp requires all computer equipment to be logged to a particular user as a matter of inventory control.

I think this kind of gave Kim the idea that Barb was on to something because:

1.  When I've asked for Post-its or pens or any other kind of thing like that, Kim will give me whatever's on her desk, partially used and go to the supply cupboard later and replenish her stock.  She's the only one with keys, though the cupboard is within my sight-line, so I have seen this with my own eyes on multiple occasions.

2.  I asked for a can of compressed air and two minutes later, I heard Kim use the compressed air at her desk, then she handed me the can she just used and got herself a new one.  I could tell it was used because it was freezing, and the spray straw was in the nozzle, rather than still taped to the side.

All of these things do not belong to me, or Kim for that matter, they really belong to our employer.  So does it matter whether I get new items or not?  Probably not, but it just gets under my skin. 

This is not a big deal, but I'm wondering if this qualifies as rude? Or just weird? 

Is it even weird? 

I've never mentioned it, or thought a confrontation was warranted :-X.  It bugged me, so I found a simple solution: when it comes to post-its/pens/pads of paper, I've taken for asking for full boxes or packets, citing that I go through them so quickly and I hate to bother her all the time.
Title: Re: This feels off... Hand-me downs and unusual behavior.
Post by: onyonryngs on January 04, 2013, 11:35:10 AM
It's definitely odd, but it seems that you're handling it well.
Title: Re: This feels off... Hand-me downs and unusual behavior.
Post by: JenJay on January 04, 2013, 11:41:23 AM
It would bug me. Not in an "alert the boss" kind of way, but in a "Really?  ::)" kind of way. It would be annoying to constantly have to ask for replenished items because I was always getting things that were already half used.
I like your solution.
Title: Re: This feels off... Hand-me downs and unusual behavior.
Post by: CakeBeret on January 04, 2013, 11:58:20 AM
It would irritate me, but I think it's best to not say anything about it. I like your solution and I think that's the best you can do.
Title: Re: This feels off... Hand-me downs and unusual behavior.
Post by: Yvaine on January 04, 2013, 12:05:47 PM
Did she once have a co-worker who would raid her desk for supplies, thus necessitating her going to the cabinet to restock? I once had a co-worker who did that--took whatever was right on my desk, so I needed to get a whole new one--and have caught myself doing on autopilot the same thing Barb is doing. It's kind of a self-effacing self-defense thing and I know it makes no sense, especially as this co-worker has been gone for five years or so.

But with the pattern set by her trying to maneuver herself into getting your new keyboard, she may just be greedy and want all the new things for herself.
Title: Re: This feels off... Hand-me downs and unusual behavior.
Post by: GreenHall on January 04, 2013, 12:11:32 PM
Does she immediately go get a new 'item(s)' or wait a bit?
Could she be feeling put upon to be asked to go to the supply closet so often? How many people other than you ask her in a day for 'Post-its' or a pen, or .... (Yes it's her job and she's the only one with the key, doesn't mean she has to be logical about it.)
I agree both that it's odd and irritating in a way that there does not seem to be a non-petty way to bring it up to anyone.  I like you solution. (I started doing similar, as anytime I ran OUT of post-its, it seemed the supply cabinet had too, so I got extras, and asked for a new order BEFORE I used up the last.)
Title: Re: This feels off... Hand-me downs and unusual behavior.
Post by: Yvaine on January 04, 2013, 12:14:20 PM
Does she immediately go get a new 'item(s)' or wait a bit?
Could she be feeling put upon to be asked to go to the supply closet so often? How many people other than you ask her in a day for 'Post-its' or a pen, or ....

This is actually a really good point. It may be more efficient for her workflow if she gives you the item that's right at hand, and then goes to replenish it when she has downtime.
Title: Re: This feels off... Hand-me downs and unusual behavior.
Post by: spookycatlady on January 04, 2013, 12:29:53 PM
OP here,

About 80% of the time, she would hand me the item directly from her desk, grab the key and walk back with me to the area where my desk and supply cupboard are and replenish her supplies.  The other 20%, I would see her at the cupboard about 10 minutes later.

Title: Re: This feels off... Hand-me downs and unusual behavior.
Post by: siamesecat2965 on January 04, 2013, 01:24:25 PM
The keyboard thing I would definitely have some issues with, but the rest of it, while it might irk me a bit, as there really isn't technically wrong with what she's doing, I'd have to let it go.

Some people are just like that; they don't share well, and when in charge of certain things,such as supplies, they feel they can always have the newest and bestest.
Title: Re: This feels off... Hand-me downs and unusual behavior.
Post by: TootsNYC on January 04, 2013, 01:36:37 PM
Next time, when she gets to the supply cabinet, say, "ooh, can I have a new one?"
Title: Re: This feels off... Hand-me downs and unusual behavior.
Post by: ------ on January 04, 2013, 02:03:55 PM
I think Kim is being controlling as all get-out. I think it gives her a thrill to treat co-workers like little children asking for more craft paper. My take on it is that she does it because she knows it's insulting and irritating and because she CAN. Plus, if ever she is called on it, she can act innocent and play the "I was only trying to save money for the company by preventing waste" card. I think her behavior is demeaning, rude, insulting and quite intentional.

And, sadly, I think there is nothing you can do about it without appearing like a whiny, immature special snowflake. I've seen her kind before. Trust me - stay away from her as much as you can and find other ways to deal with the situation.

I had a very similar situation myself. It became so frustrating that I eventually purchased my own office supplies (at my personal expense) but labeled them as my personal property. I submitted the receipts to accounting for reimbursement, and they asked me why? I explained that it was negatively impacting my productivity to have to replenish office supplies every few minutes because the hand me downs supplied ran out so quickly, so it was more efficient to purchase my own.

The company reimbursed me for my expenses and the office manager went away. Problem solved.  ;D (Although I don't recommend it for your situation, necessarily, because I don't know everyone involved or how that strategy would work out for you.)***

Another idea is to purchase your own supplies and label them, but take the tax deduction for office supplies and expenses if you think the above strategy is too dangerous. I've done that too.



***I should point out that my behavior was PA in and of itself, and while at the time I didn't realize it, I look back on that with some regret. Knowing what I know now, I probably would have handled it differently, possibly by talking to the office manager directly. Then, if it continued, I'd probably do what I did. I should also point out, for the sake of full disclosure, that the OM had other performance issues that contributed to her dismissal (that I'm aware of) including pulling that same routine on a MUCH more senior person in the company with a great deal of authority. That did not go over well, and I'm sure that had more to do with the practice ending than my little dealings with accounting. I figured I should probably point that out, because I don't want to give anyone the idea that 'hey, that will be great' when actually what I did was PA and rather dangerous. A more mature mrkitty would not respond this way now.*** Sorry about that.  :)

***edited by mrkitty for the purposes of clarity and disclosure***
Title: Re: This feels off... Hand-me downs and unusual behavior.
Post by: BeagleMommy on January 04, 2013, 02:49:51 PM
I am in charge of ordering supplies for my office.  Our supply cabinet is not locked so staff can take what they need when the need it.  However, I tell people I order things once per month.  If the cabinet is out of whatever they need they have to wait until I put in an order.  Otherwise I would be doing nothing but ordering $40.00 worth of supplies every other day.

It seems Kim likes being in charge of something.  It also seems that there is little you can do about it.  The keyboard thing is really kind of off putting though.
Title: Re: This feels off... Hand-me downs and unusual behavior.
Post by: Shoo on January 04, 2013, 02:52:43 PM
I would ask her, "Why can't I have a new one?"  Make her give you an answer.  A stupid answer would have me saying to her, "I want the new one."  And stand there until I get the new one!

Title: Re: This feels off... Hand-me downs and unusual behavior.
Post by: ------ on January 04, 2013, 03:09:58 PM
I am in charge of ordering supplies for my office.  Our supply cabinet is not locked so staff can take what they need when the need it.  However, I tell people I order things once per month.  If the cabinet is out of whatever they need they have to wait until I put in an order.  Otherwise I would be doing nothing but ordering $40.00 worth of supplies every other day.

It seems Kim likes being in charge of something.  It also seems that there is little you can do about it.  The keyboard thing is really kind of off putting though.

This. What BeagleMommy said. I think this makes a lot more sense (and is more drama free) than my rambling account of my odyssey.  ::)
(SS in recovery)  :P
Title: Re: This feels off... Hand-me downs and unusual behavior.
Post by: FoxPaws on January 04, 2013, 03:20:27 PM
It is weird and controlling and gives you valuable insight into Kim's (and Barb's) personality and character.

The office supplies would not be something I'd make an issue of - especially since you've found a good way to handle it - but having my new keyboard commandeered would have irked me to no end, and been worth a phone call to HR. That was shifty and unprofessional.
Title: Re: This feels off... Hand-me downs and unusual behavior.
Post by: Shakira on January 05, 2013, 05:55:49 AM
If I were you, I'd wait to ask for something new until she's already at the supply cabinet. As in, she's reaching in to grab supplies and you pop in with your request. "Hey, since you're already in here, can I have a new box of paper clips? Oh, my post-its are about to run out too; I'll need a new pack." That way it's more convenient for her to hand you a new pack rather than do hand-me-downs.
Title: Re: This feels off... Hand-me downs and unusual behavior.
Post by: citadelle on January 05, 2013, 02:42:51 PM
Are you able to go into the supply closet to get items for yourself? Why use Kim as a middleman at all?
Title: Re: This feels off... Hand-me downs and unusual behavior.
Post by: Yvaine on January 05, 2013, 02:49:50 PM
Are you able to go into the supply closet to get items for yourself? Why use Kim as a middleman at all?

She's the only one with keys.
Title: Re: This feels off... Hand-me downs and unusual behavior.
Post by: Girlie on January 11, 2013, 10:22:06 AM
If I were you, I'd wait to ask for something new until she's already at the supply cabinet. As in, she's reaching in to grab supplies and you pop in with your request. "Hey, since you're already in here, can I have a new box of paper clips? Oh, my post-its are about to run out too; I'll need a new pack." That way it's more convenient for her to hand you a new pack rather than do hand-me-downs.

Yep. POD on this. It will be much more difficult for her to give you hand-me-downs when she's already in the supply closet. If she denies you while she's in there, then you would have a good opportunity to ask what the deal is.
Title: Re: This feels off... Hand-me downs and unusual behavior.
Post by: amylouky on January 11, 2013, 10:44:58 AM
I'm a little confused about one thing.. was it Barb that wanted the new keyboard, or Kim? Kim told you that Barb asked her to get the new keyboard for Barb? If so, that's weird of Barb but if she is the office manager, maybe she had a reason. Maybe hers was broken, and she figured since yours still worked fine, she'd take the new one?

Also, is it possible that Kim is just giving you what she has on her desk so she doesn't have to get up right that minute and go to the supply cabinet?
Title: Re: This feels off... Hand-me downs and unusual behavior.
Post by: LEMon on January 11, 2013, 06:09:55 PM
I'm a little confused about one thing.. was it Barb that wanted the new keyboard, or Kim? Kim told you that Barb asked her to get the new keyboard for Barb? If so, that's weird of Barb but if she is the office manager, maybe she had a reason. Maybe hers was broken, and she figured since yours still worked fine, she'd take the new one?

Also, is it possible that Kim is just giving you what she has on her desk so she doesn't have to get up right that minute and go to the supply cabinet?
But if hers was broken, then op ends up with a broken one.  If hers needs to be replaced, she needs to go through the proper channels.

Op says that 80% of the time Kim gets up to go get the items right away and 20% shortly there after.

I'm wondering if there is a slight "I'm higher ranked so I should get the new stuff" in her brain.  Still not a good mindset but not as malicious.
Title: Re: This feels off... Hand-me downs and unusual behavior.
Post by: AngelBarchild on January 12, 2013, 11:29:31 AM
I don't see how this could be rude, just seems like a good way to help cut back on waist. If she's the only one with a key, it may be because the higher ups like the way she deals with it.
Title: Re: This feels off... Hand-me downs and unusual behavior.
Post by: Jocelyn on January 12, 2013, 01:04:12 PM
From the first post, it appears to me that Barb was communicating with Kim about whether the OP did or did not deserve the new keyboard. Is it possible that Barb said something like, 'Some people around here just go through office supplies like water, I think they must be taking them home for their own use.'? In that case, is it possible that Kim is trying to protect her coworkers, so that if she's questioned about getting office supplies too frequently, she can reply that she was getting them for herself? Because that's definitely how I'd handle the situation if the upper echelons were being stingy about people having enough supplies to do their work.