Matt D
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Stinky Foods At Work

Thu Mar 13, 2003 2:07 am

Do any of you have this problem?

Yesterday, I proceeded to our lunch room to microwave my lunch, some Shake-N-Bake chicken breast patties and Rice-A-Roni left over from the night before.

Someone else had brought in their lunch as well. I don't know what it was, but whatever it was, it definitely had some kind of fish in it. And it was OLD fish at that. The entire kitchen reeked of it. When I opened the microwave door, the tupperware container that contained said fish was still in there. Whoever put it in had heated it but not yet come back to get it.

The smell that blasted out was so strong and pungent that I actually proceeded to vomit right there in the sink. It was THAT bad. After quickly washing it down the draoin, I ran out of there and went straight to the bathroom where I composed myself, and had to brush my teeth and rinse my mouth to get rid of the taste of vomit.

I went back to my coworkers and made a stink, so to speak about how whoever is actually going to eat that, needs to seriously consider changing their eating habits, or at least bring something a little less odorous to work. I explained the stench that was wafting through there. I took about 4 other people back there and they all agreed that the smell was rude and very foul. We all walked back to our desks with our noses wrinkled in disgust.

Holding my nose shut, I cleaned out the microwave oven with some Lysol wet wipes and sprayed a liberal amount of aerosol air freshener in the room. It still took over an hour for the smell to dissipate. Needless to say, by the time I finally did prepare my lunch, I was pretty hungry.

Not surprisingly, no one owned up to bringing in the offending foodstuff. I know if someone made as much of a ruckus about something I brought in as I did yesterday, I would keep quiet about it too. I do, however, have a pretty good idea of who it was:

There are three Filipina women working in our office and they are always bringing in their native dishes. I'd bet that one of them was responsible.

Fine, whatever.

All of them seem to have some form of fish in them, and all of them have [at least to me] an odd smell. But none of them have ever smelled anywhere near as bad as whatever yesterdays was.

Have any of you ever experience something like this?

How have you handled it?

Where do you draw the line between allowing people to bring in their native dishes and something that is offensive and even repulsive to other people in the office?

This morning, I found an online cartoon depicting a couple of dead fish rotting on a pier, with flies surrounding them. I copied it and drew a big circle and slash through it, then taped it to the microwave door.
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RE: Stinky Foods At Work

Thu Mar 13, 2003 2:35 am

Yeah, the microwaves in my office lunch room are disgusting. I think they were last cleaned in 1980-something. All that food caked to the sides of the microwave adds variety & spice to whatever you're nuking as it constantly gets renuked itself. How utterly gross. Needless to say, I never microwave anything at work.

I find it mildly offensive when people eat smelly food at their desk (microwaved or fast-food) that stinks up the office.

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RE: Stinky Foods At Work

Thu Mar 13, 2003 7:27 am

This same thing happened to me at work a few months ago, but while I was in the middle of eating. I work with a lot of Latinos and one day this one girl microwaved some foul smelling meat - it was nastier than any fish smell coming out of a microwave EVER. Normally, she just brings her tortillas and refried beans, and makes a salad.

Well, long story short I had to get up and leave the lunchroom. I didn't vomit like you did, but I seriously lost my appetite and couldn't finish my food. After making quite a scene in front of everyone about my disgust with the smell, I simply went back to my desk. The strange thing was that the other people that were in the lunchroom at the time stayed and finished their food. I couldn't believe it. They all agreed that it smelled disgusting but they just went along with it and kept eating.

It was the nastiest smelling stuff I've ever experienced in my life. How someone could put that in their mouth is totally beyond me.

In regards to drawing the line... that's a tough one. Implementing a "'what kind of food you can bring to work" policy ranks right up there with trying to enforce a dress code - it's a no-win situation. Luckily in my case that was the first and last time she ever brought that dish in!!!
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RE: Stinky Foods At Work

Thu Mar 13, 2003 7:34 am

"There are three Filipina women working in our office and they are always bringing in their native dishes. I'd bet that one of them was responsible."

You're probably right!! I work with some Filipinas and I too have experienced the nasty fish smell you're talking about. It's one of their native dishes and I can't eat in the lunchroom if they're in there eating it. The smell is way too strong.

Funny coincidence for us to have the EXACT same problem, lol

Kris YYC
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RE: Stinky Foods At Work

Thu Mar 13, 2003 1:31 pm

I have that problem with a Vietnamese girl I work. I don't mean to sound racist but her food stinks! My friend's husband is Vietnamese and nothing he eats stinks but this girl's food just reeks.
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RE: Stinky Foods At Work

Thu Mar 13, 2003 4:04 pm

Anyone who brings in fish, of any kind, for lunch should be terminated immediately.

For some reason though, my co-workers fail to understand that microwave popcorn does NOT take 8 minutes to prepare. Every day, some moron pulls a smoldering, blackened bag from the microwave and it stinks the whole office up.

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RE: Stinky Foods At Work

Thu Mar 13, 2003 5:23 pm

Perhaps, one way to help eliminate the problem is to remove microwave ovens from lunch rooms. After all, if banning cigarette smoke from the work environment is policy for health reasons, then surly stinky foods that make co-workers hurl should also be considered a health issue.

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RE: Stinky Foods At Work

Thu Mar 13, 2003 9:55 pm

LOL! I get this problem with my wife. She is Thai, and every Thai dish always has fish sauce in it, which is made from fermented anchovies and really stinks (if you have eaten Thai food you WILL have eaten it definitely). Thing is, she goes through a litre of that a week and it really stinks the kitchen out so I complain my ass off every time she cooks, and buy take away whenever I can.
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RE: Stinky Foods At Work

Fri Mar 14, 2003 3:01 am

I have a similar problem at my work, only the smell is not necessarily coming from food, but from the co-workers themselves. When I came to Echostar in mid-2001, the hiring policy was based on this, at least in my opinion - Longest criminal record and acceptable percentage of drugs in your blood. Added qualifications were tattoos and piercings. Now the hiring requirements somewhat changed - worst possible hygiene, lowest IQ, and lack of common sense. I have not seen a bunch of people who were as stupid or as nasty as the ones I work with. I am personally embarassed to have reminders in our bathrooms that tell us to flush the toilet and not put stuff like paper towels in them. How can someone take a 20 minute shit, not flush and walk out of there without washing his hands is beyond me. People also just go in and take a piss with the door open. I don't want to see any of that at my workplace. I remember when we had some nice people up there, but most of them are gone.

Now on for the food. We have this one guy from Indonesia, and he's the absolute nastiest person I've seen in my entire life. Rotten teeth, insane look in his eyes, and worst of all, he's harrassing one of my friends, who is at least 30 years younger than him. The fish that guy eats is probably what caused Matt D to puke.

Why someone would hire people like that is totally beyond me. Sometimes you know why someone would go postal...

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