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Poll

What is the no-questions-asked maximum time to use a shared microwave?

Up to 3 minutes
41 (24.6%)
Up to 4-6 minutes
80 (47.9%)
Up to 7-9 minutes
28 (16.8%)
Up to 10-12 minutes
8 (4.8%)
Sky's the limit.
10 (6%)

Total Members Voted: 167

Author Topic: S/O Microwave Sharing - How much cook time is always OK?  (Read 6773 times)

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Oh Joy

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S/O Microwave Sharing - How much cook time is always OK?
« on: January 22, 2016, 10:45:07 AM »
It looks from the other thread that there are different perspectives on how long it's OK to use a shared microwave at work.

What do you consider the maximum amount of "no questions asked" acceptable cook time?  That is the amount of time that your most annoying coworker could use every day at peak time regardless of the number of people waiting and the length of the break.  Beyond this amount, it's appropriate to consider adapting your use in a way that suits your circumstances.

I posted ranges to simplify the poll, but feel free to post your specific number as well.

Thanks for satisfying my curiosity!

Kimberami

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Re: S/O Microwave Sharing - How much cook time is always OK?
« Reply #1 on: January 22, 2016, 10:52:50 AM »
Most of the microwave dinners I've eaten have a cooking time between 3 and 6 minutes.  Many of them have a "let sit for x minutes before eating", but I don't leave them to sit in the microwave during that time.   
Goodbye Yellow Brick Road.

lowspark

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Re: S/O Microwave Sharing - How much cook time is always OK?
« Reply #2 on: January 22, 2016, 10:58:50 AM »
Are we assuming there is one and only one MW available?
Houston 
Texas 
USA 

ladyknight1

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Re: S/O Microwave Sharing - How much cook time is always OK?
« Reply #3 on: January 22, 2016, 11:08:55 AM »
The Amy's entrees take upwards of 6 minutes. We have flexible lunch times, so if I am heating one of those, I do it early or late, so I'm not tying up the microwave.
ďAll that is gold does not glitter, Not all those who wander are lost; The old that is strong does not wither, Deep roots are not reached by the frost."
-J.R.R Tolkien

Oh Joy

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Re: S/O Microwave Sharing - How much cook time is always OK?
« Reply #4 on: January 22, 2016, 11:15:07 AM »
Are we assuming there is one and only one MW available?

Sort of.  To simplify the discussion, I'm looking how long someone can cook for before they should start caring how many microwaves there are or what others' circumstances might be.

siamesecat2965

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Re: S/O Microwave Sharing - How much cook time is always OK?
« Reply #5 on: January 22, 2016, 11:25:03 AM »
I think barring any extenuating circumstances, to me anyway, 5-7 minutes would be the max, given that a lot of frozen meals take that long. Some don't, and if i bring one, i normally leave it on my desk, so its partially thawed, and takes less time. I think heating up your meal is fine, as long as you are conscious that others may need to do so as well, and you aren't doing any actual cooking, which might take longer. But if someone is just heating up their lunch; i'm usually not bothered by how long it takes.

But where I work, there are 3 microwaves on my floor, and everyone eats at different times. And any time I've encountered others who might need the microwave as i'm using it, or vice versa, everyone is pretty flexible; no take your time, etc. I've never seen any instances where someone is "hogging" it, or others are upset because someone else is using it.

But in a situation described in the other thread, I think you have to be more cognizant of others.

Lynn2000

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Re: S/O Microwave Sharing - How much cook time is always OK?
« Reply #6 on: January 22, 2016, 11:26:12 AM »
I say about 5min, so I picked 4-6min. I know a number of normal, standard, ordinary frozen meals can take longer, so I don't think taking more is necessarily rude; but if I was the one microwaving, after about 5min I'd be looking at the line behind me going, "Yipe, sorry, guys!" and seriously look into bringing something different for lunch.

If there's not enough time/space for everyone to spend ~5min on food prep, I think there's something wrong with the system.
~Lynn2000

mandycorn

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Re: S/O Microwave Sharing - How much cook time is always OK?
« Reply #7 on: January 22, 2016, 11:44:09 AM »
I don't think I have a number, since I know frozen meals (and even leftover frozen soup) can take quite a while to get fully hot. It depends more on the manner in which people are using the microwave because I don't think people should have to eat cold leftovers or compromise on food safety if they don't want to.

To me, being a thoughtful microwave sharer means things like the following (all yous general):
  • being nearby and attentive - no wandering off and abandoning your food, or having to walk from the other side of the building to stir before continuing to cook
  • communicating with the people who are waiting about how much longer you're going to be taking
  • being as smart as possible about sharing - offering to let somebody else cut in while you stir or prep, if it's feasible or a special situation
  • only cooking one item during busy microwave times (I had a co-worker who cooked several batches of veggies, plus a protein, in separate bursts - each was a relatively short cooking time, but the multiple nature of it would make me crazy in a limited microwave environment

I would get internally irritated if everybody was doing all of the above and I still didn't get a chance to heat up my own food, but I would try not to blame my co-workers in that case, since that's a facility and management issue.
"The trouble with quotes on the Internet is that you never know if they are genuine" - Abraham Lincoln 

siamesecat2965

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Re: S/O Microwave Sharing - How much cook time is always OK?
« Reply #8 on: January 22, 2016, 12:05:22 PM »


To me, being a thoughtful microwave sharer means things like the following (all yous general):
  • being nearby and attentive - no wandering off and abandoning your food, or having to walk from the other side of the building to stir before continuing to cook


This especially. the one closest to me happens to be in the executive area. One of whom is a repeat offender of this! He will put his stuff in, and wander away. And he's a talker, so he'll get caught up in conversation, and yap away forever. [/list]

lowspark

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Re: S/O Microwave Sharing - How much cook time is always OK?
« Reply #9 on: January 22, 2016, 12:38:21 PM »
OK, so I voted 7-9 because I feel that would cover pretty much any frozen dinner.

I think that the case in the other thread is very specific in that they all have to eat at the same time and their time is so limited. And that, I think, is something that should be remedied by the employer. So if you can't vary times or give people longer then you need to provide more resources because it's clear that it is going to be very difficult if not impossible to go offsite for lunch.

So you have a captive audience who are competing for one resource which the majority need. That's not tenable.

In my office, we have ~200 people (maybe slightly fewer), two kitchens, and two MWs in each kitchen. There's no set lunch time so everyone can eat when they want and most people go out. Even with all that, there can be moments where multiple people need to use the MW.

If I go into the kitchen near me and both MWs are being used, I'll either wait or come back later. So even if someone wants to heat up something that takes 30 minutes, chances are the other MW will open up pretty soon, or I can always wonder down to the other kitchen which really isn't far at all.

If someone leaves the kitchen and walks away and their MW beeps, I have no qualms at all about removing their food and putting mine in. I've done it a few times. If you don't want your food removed by someone else, stay in the kitchen and monitor it.
Houston 
Texas 
USA 

Lynn2000

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Re: S/O Microwave Sharing - How much cook time is always OK?
« Reply #10 on: January 22, 2016, 12:56:25 PM »
If someone leaves the kitchen and walks away and their MW beeps, I have no qualms at all about removing their food and putting mine in. I've done it a few times. If you don't want your food removed by someone else, stay in the kitchen and monitor it.

Yes, I always remove food if it's done and I want to use the microwave, even if I could wait or go get the person. Obviously some people are going to be mad about that, but I can't think of any way that it's rude or harmful to the food.
~Lynn2000

Yvaine

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Re: S/O Microwave Sharing - How much cook time is always OK?
« Reply #11 on: January 22, 2016, 01:07:31 PM »
I don't think I have a number, since I know frozen meals (and even leftover frozen soup) can take quite a while to get fully hot. It depends more on the manner in which people are using the microwave because I don't think people should have to eat cold leftovers or compromise on food safety if they don't want to.

To me, being a thoughtful microwave sharer means things like the following (all yous general):
  • being nearby and attentive - no wandering off and abandoning your food, or having to walk from the other side of the building to stir before continuing to cook
  • communicating with the people who are waiting about how much longer you're going to be taking
  • being as smart as possible about sharing - offering to let somebody else cut in while you stir or prep, if it's feasible or a special situation
  • only cooking one item during busy microwave times (I had a co-worker who cooked several batches of veggies, plus a protein, in separate bursts - each was a relatively short cooking time, but the multiple nature of it would make me crazy in a limited microwave environment

I would get internally irritated if everybody was doing all of the above and I still didn't get a chance to heat up my own food, but I would try not to blame my co-workers in that case, since that's a facility and management issue.

I would agree with this, pretty much. If it's complicated, stay there so you can deal with the different steps, and let people cut in if they only need a minute or so. And if you wander off, don't get mad if people take your food out.

DavidH

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Re: S/O Microwave Sharing - How much cook time is always OK?
« Reply #12 on: January 22, 2016, 01:50:37 PM »
I think of it as less than 5 minutes or so is fine, since that will cover most non-frozen leftovers.  As you approach 10 minutes, begins to matter how many people are waiting and how the set up is.  Once you get to 15 minutes, then it's definitely time to consider how many people are waiting, how much time people have, etc.

I agree that no one should compromise on food safety, but the way to avoid the issue is to plan what they bring to lunch to fit the situation they have at work, not to just use the shared resources for as long as it takes to cook or heat whatever meal they happen to think of bringing.  For example, if one wants hot soup for lunch, then if there are limited resources to heat it up, bring it in defrosted and just heat it, rather than bringing it in frozen and using the microwave to defrost and then heat it. 

Lynn2000

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Re: S/O Microwave Sharing - How much cook time is always OK?
« Reply #13 on: January 22, 2016, 03:10:56 PM »
I agree that no one should compromise on food safety, but the way to avoid the issue is to plan what they bring to lunch to fit the situation they have at work, not to just use the shared resources for as long as it takes to cook or heat whatever meal they happen to think of bringing.  For example, if one wants hot soup for lunch, then if there are limited resources to heat it up, bring it in defrosted and just heat it, rather than bringing it in frozen and using the microwave to defrost and then heat it.

POD. Although there are always restrictions from diet, budget, available products, etc., I think it should be doable to find alternatives to, say, a frozen meal that takes 12 minutes to microwave. I have a hard time imagining a situation where that is really someone's only viable option for lunch. (Of course, if someone claims it is, you can't really make them do something else, if you are just a co-worker.)

These days all my food can sit at room temperature at my desk, so I can snack whenever I want, and I never need either the fridge or microwave. That may not be viable for everyone, but I think when your resources at work are limited, you have to be creative and flexible with your meals, to avoid creating bad feelings at work. Even if you only do the 12min meal once a week, that's better than every day.
~Lynn2000

Lynnv

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Re: S/O Microwave Sharing - How much cook time is always OK?
« Reply #14 on: January 22, 2016, 06:59:20 PM »
OK, so I voted 7-9 because I feel that would cover pretty much any frozen dinner.

I think that the case in the other thread is very specific in that they all have to eat at the same time and their time is so limited. And that, I think, is something that should be remedied by the employer. So if you can't vary times or give people longer then you need to provide more resources because it's clear that it is going to be very difficult if not impossible to go offsite for lunch.

So you have a captive audience who are competing for one resource which the majority need. That's not tenable.

I agree.  And I voted 5-7 for the same reason. Pretty much any standard single serving food item can be cooked in that time. 

If the microwave isn't in such demand, then longer is okay too, IMO.  As long as the cooker makes sure not to delay others unduly (so if s/he has a 20 minute entree to cook, s/he might have to stop, remove, replace and restart a time or two because, being a reasonable person, s/he knows that others need to use the microwave too).
Lynn

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