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Thursday, October 3, 2019

Shenanigans in the microkitchen

Perhaps you've heard of the term "microkitchen". I believe it originated at Google, or perhaps that's where it was made famous. It doesn't really matter. It's the term used to describe those areas in a company which might have a coffee machine, snacks, and perhaps a refrigerator/cooler with some kind of chilled drinks inside.

Some other companies have the same sort of thing going on. They don't always get the same name applied (sometimes they're just "kitchens"), but similar behaviors seem to follow them around.

For example, did you ever notice that a certain product never seems to be in stock? Then, one day, you changed your routine and arrived early, only to see someone making off with six bottles at once? They must have been doing it for a while, right? You just happened to catch them. Maybe this really grabs your attention and you decide to post a heartfelt plea to some internal group or mailing list asking for people to not do this.

Imagine, then, if the guilty party actually replied and explained what was happening. Well, this has happened at least once, and I'm fortunate to have a copy of the text in question. Are you ready for this?

For the context, it was me - taking 6 Tejava bottles and stocking them into our team's minifridge. I disagree that it was rude, I'm saving myself from trip to the microkitchen on every bottle.

The problem is when I come in the morning, there are only 0-6 Tejava bottles in the fridge, I drink 3-4 bottles a day and if I don't stock up in the morning, there is no Tejava left in the fridge by noon and I have to scavenge ALL surrounding microkitchens in the same building and in ALL adjacent buildings to quench my thirst. This is not the situation I like to be in.

Tejava is clearly in high demand and if the short supply makes employees fight for it, I think there is a simpler solution.

This is not a joke. This actually happened. This is real.

You can pick your jaw up off the floor now.

Ever wonder how "the tragedy of the commons" happens? Does this help?