The thorny office politics of a shared fridge

Tale of missing fried rice sheds light on office politics and fridge etiquette

In the realm of office politics, nothing stirs up conflict quite like the office fridge, a cold war waged with passive aggressive Post-It notes and decomposing leftovers. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Stace Maude

A story about a missing lunch of shrimp fried rice that is captivating social media is shedding light on an often overlooked but highly contentious aspect of office politics: fridge etiquette.

Eddy Ng, a professor at Dalhousie University’s Rowe School of Business, says interactions around the office refrigerator — replete with passive aggressive Post-It notes and decomposing leftovers — reveal human behaviour in the workplace.

He says the shared fridge is a microcosm of office dynamics, serving to accentuate interpersonal skills, communication styles and personality types.

It’s also the scene for a comical tale about stolen shrimp fried rice that has gripped social media for days and spurred an online exchange of woes from cubicle-land.

Zak Toscani, a writer and stand-up comedian from Los Angeles, took to Twitter last week after his co-worker’s lunch was stolen.

He joked that the missing food was shrimp fried rice, escalating the crime from a misdemeanour to a felony, and mused that it was a “professional hit no doubt” due to the lack of a shrimp smell in the microwave or kitchen.

Toscani said his hungry co-worker asked to view security footage of the communal fridge, and detailed to his online followers how the investigation unfolded.

His sensational account of the office drama — he quipped that it was the most excited he’d ever been “at any job ever” — went viral, garnering hundreds of thousands of likes and re-tweets.

The workplace spat appears to have hit a nerve among workers affected by the seemingly unscrupulous actions of self-appointed fridge police.

The Canadian Press

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