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Post in Besides Beauty

workplace 'borrowers' (etiquette question)

we recently had a whole seating rearrangement at work.  previously, i shared an aisle with all men (younger) and i kind of became their go-to when they had an emergency clothing/shoe/hygiene/first-aid need because of all the crap i keep in my desk.  (i bike into work, hit the gym and then am at my desk for a good 11 hours a day at least ... thought work was safer than my kit locker at the y).


now, i share space with mostly women, who are mostly my age, who should mostly know that you don't take without asking.  i'm happy to share, but there is a limit.  a few kept coming over to use my beloved nuxe dry oil, l'occitane hand cream, and lint roller.  someone poached my lotus eye gel:  the last straw..  there are some things i'd rather not share.  now everything i don't want to share with the world is up in my overhead, and i bought vaseline cocoa butter and c. booth vanilla butter lotions for people to use.  interestingly, they are now calling me a b*tch, and selfish and so on.  i was even told by one that i should have said i was replacing what i'd had out with other things (?!); yet i'm still being asked for fragrance samples, the use of my personal things (hairbrush, mascara)... really curious if anyone else has come across this type of behavior.  it's really thrown me. i consider this variety of taking-without-asking the same as eating someone's lunch from the office fridge.


not going to give in on this, because i do spend a fair bit of money on these things for myself and because, well, some things are simply not okay to share.  i would, though, like to put an end to the 'borrowing' and perhaps find a way to humorously get the point across.


any insight or suggestions would be welcome!

Re: workplace 'borrowers' (etiquette question)

Um, what? I think I would jump out of my skin if this happened to me at work. 


Stealing eye cream, name-calling, expecting high end beauty products for free and then complaining about drugstore lotions which I purchased with my own money for communal use/common good? Nope, nope. 


I like the idea of starting a money jar with a picture of the L-Occitane hand cream or other high-end product on it. 


It's sad how you give people an inch and they take a mile. I used to stay after my shift at work sometimes because I wanted to finish a project and not leave it half-completed until the next day or to help a student. Then a manager (not exactly my supervisor, but I oftentimes helped him as well as my supervisor) would jokingly-but-seriously make comments when I would leave on time, like "Oh, leaving already?" and stuff like that. So, I would jokingly say that maybe I would stay later if he would pay for my additional hours. I swear, he did this like forty times. And forty times, I had to give him the same "joking" reply. 


Maybe you will have to do that. Whenever someone mentions how you pulled the old switcheroo on them, or complains about the new stuff, point them toward the money jar. Even if you have to do this twenty times, hopefully they will eventually get the idea that they can either contribute some money or they will not get the high-end stuff, and that you are not a push-over. See if they put their money where their mouths are. 

Re: workplace 'borrowers' (etiquette question)

wow!  you ladies are fabu!  i appreciate all the feed-back and perspective.  kind of helped me think of some alternatives.  to be clear: they've asked to use the mascara and brush... the answer was always 'no.'   because it's just gross.


their opinion of me doesn't bother me, but i do get irritated when spoken about to other colleagues.  but unbeknownst to me, a few of my former row-mates already implemented their solution and i now have my 'ugly jug' (it's a seriously ugly piece of pottery--ostensibly some kind of bean crock-**bleep**-teapot--that my son brought me as a joke) sitting on the credenza behind me with a little sign saying 'beauty has a price: contribute to cost of hand creams, first aid, tissues, pain relief and airborne.  keep your inside really, really, ridiculously good looking.' and their names are on the bottom.  and the input here will help when i'm asked for to share my personal things again.


it's nice to know i'm not alone in my reaction to this nonsense.  thanks so much!

Re: workplace 'borrowers' (etiquette question)

First of all using your mascara is a MAJOR health issue. The hair brush could also be a health issue too if someone has an open sore or worse. I would talk to the manager & have them handle this to get reimbursement for you. I would also ask for the manager to send out a memo reminding people of office etiquette.

  Then once the cocoa butter & vanilla butter lotions are used I would not bring any more. If they ask for them I just say sorry, I don't have any. They can learn to buy their own.

 If you want to continue the fragrance sample thing then put them in a nice container on your desk with a sign that says "When these are gone they are gone. I don't have any more so please don't ask".

  I would lock up all personal items including your purse or tote bag. Any time I left my desk, ie meeting, lunch, ladies room trip, whatever I would take all personal items with me. .It is not your responsibility to supply their beauty needs.

Good luck.

Re: workplace 'borrowers' (etiquette question)

I totally agree: once the cocoa butter and vanilla lotions are gone, I would not restock them. 


This doesn't sound like a professional environment at all. Don't grown people understand how unhygienic it is to ask to share mascara, and that it is inappropriate to name-call in the workplace? Smiley Sad

Re: workplace 'borrowers' (etiquette question)

People only take advantage of you if you let them. So what would I do, cull your supplies to the most basic. Label them all with your name, and keep them locked up in your pocketbook. I would also kindly and firmly start saying no to anyone who asks for your supplies and then I would say I am really sorry that I have to turn people down but a few people went to far with my things and I no longer am able to share. I would also bring the fact that someone stole from you to the attention of your manager. I would not name names, but I would ask that they keep an eye out for your items. I would not sabotage or trick anyone as that could get you into trouble.  I would also bring everything home with you at the end of the day. I am so sorry you have to deal with bad coworkers. As for the name calling, I would document it and bring the documentation to HR. There is absolutely no reason for name calling in a professional environment. 

Re: workplace 'borrowers' (etiquette question)

I think explaining that you are no longer able to share because some people went too far is a great answer. Hopefully they understand that you aren't trying to be a jerk about it, but now it is what it is. 

Re: workplace 'borrowers' (etiquette question)

quotidianus - well I for one am glad you came to us for assistance and welcome to BT - we are a full service forum; we cover all areas of beauty, and I mean all areas - we will give tips and share/help each other no matter what life throws your way


Since some of you are dying to know about "fixing up a work area" here are a few ideas/tips: double stick tape on the chair casters or wedge folded paper into the upper part of the wheel so it will not turn, a little extra hot coffee mixed with as much sugar as you can dissolve into it; using a tissue or a brush lightly swipe onto computer keys (be careful), all over the desk top, stapler (which you have removed all the staples from), tape dispenser (which you replaced with an empty spool), if they have a Rolodex, you can make special cards for them for services they might require: 1800IWETMYSELF, 1900FUNFRIEND, you get the idea. If they use an old school calendar, you can put appointments on there for them; use your imagination.

Re: workplace 'borrowers' (etiquette question)

*taking notes for future reference*


That's terrible! I can't believe you would ever do that! Shame on you, you spoiled brat!


(with that said, I would be on board for half of the things you mentioned. Not sure if it's cuz I'm only half bad or cuz I hate mistreating anybody's electronics).

Re: workplace 'borrowers' (etiquette question)

Everyone's given you really good advice. As close as the mods all are at the office we know that there are some things that should never be taken or used wtihout permission.


Plus some things just should not be shared...mascara or a hair brush? eak!


I'd recommend locking the things that you don't want to share up. And if you're like me and have a ton of extra samples (like fragrances or hand cream) that you may not be interested in using up...then perhaps have them available in a community space for others to use.


You could even ask your boss if it'd be alright to send an email out addressing the matter. I wouldn't be vile or mean, I'd just simply say something like 'I'm more than happy to share, but things are starting to get depleted so quickly that even I am unable to enjoy them'. If you want to volunteer to collect funds to buy a community lotion then by all means. Otherwise it sounds like it's time for these ladies to hit up their local Sephora for some beauty effects Smiley Happy.

Whimsically yours,

Re: workplace 'borrowers' (etiquette question)

Maybe suggest an office collection jar that everyone can pitch in for in order to stock the beauty essentials 'we all love'. Watch them scatter. Lock up anything you don't want to share, keep the things you (and others, hopefully) want to share in a basket in the break room. mischief managed.  Total entitlement to expect you to stock an office beauty bar on your own dime. 

Re: workplace 'borrowers' (etiquette question)

Wow!  I can't believe these people. I'm so sorry you have to put up with that **bleep**! Thanks goodness the ladies here have some good advice for you Smiley Wink

Re: workplace 'borrowers' (etiquette question)

I wouldn't put up with that at all. I'd tell them directly, where to go and how to get there (in the most hr appropriate way possible). I'd also not share anymore. At all. I'd tell them that the store has been closed and for them to go buy their own supplies, and spend their own money on it. I'd be livid. Frankly, I wouldn't give a $hit if they called me names. But i certainly wouldn't help them anymore. That's just what i'd do lol.

Re: workplace 'borrowers' (etiquette question)

You are not at all responsible for their lack of beauty supplies and are under no obligation to continue to provide even the drugstore variety of hand cream. You have been exceedingly thoughtful so far, and since they are being nasty and greedy, you are completely in your rights to say that the gravy train has pulled out of the station. As for sharing personal items like mascara or hairbrush, you could just say that it's unhygienic to share these things and you'd just be devastated if they got sick. (haha, not!)


If anyone questions you, you can say that you are saving for (fill in the blank- house, paying off school loans, upcoming wedding or vacation, etc) and can't afford to keep replacing your expensive items when they get used up prematurely. If they want to buy some fancy hand cream for the office, you'd be glad to chip in, but otherwise it's done.


I edited an etiquette newsletter for awhile, and have heard of plenty of piggy goings on, but your office mates certainly are in the running for the most ill mannered.

Re: workplace 'borrowers' (etiquette question)

The men are more mature than the women which is really sad!!!! They're doing the right thing by pitching in money or adding to the emergency desk stash! Their mothers raised them right. The ladies, not so much. A good deed never goes unnoticed! It was  nice for that one guy in your office to give you a gift card Smiley Happy

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