Your Basket is Empty
Sign in to see items you may have added previously.
See samples, rewards and promotions in .

Item Added to Basket

Free Shipping!

You're only $50.00 away from Free Shipping.

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)

No, and I would venture to guess that any reasonable adult wouldn't behave like this. I'm guessing that no matter how nicely you put it, no matter how humorous you try to be, any group of people that labels you "mean" or a B for putting out _free lotion_ that they happen to like less because it's not the fancy stuff you had out? Is going to call you mean no matter what unless you keep them in supply of L'occitane hand cream and perfume samples. 

I'd print up little slips of paper with the Sephora URL for products with a note about BI accounts and hand them to anyone that complained about me not allowing my desk to be a luxury-goods free-for-all on my dime. 

Anyone that asks to use your hairbrush/mascara/underwear/toothbrush, politely decline the first time, then flatly say no the second and all subsequent times. If it gets much beyond weekly requests from the same person, speak to HR about sending a memo about appropriate behavior surrounding personal items of co-workers. 

Re: workplace 'borrowers' (etiquette question)

Nicely stated! 

Re: workplace 'borrowers' (etiquette question)

underwear!     Oh my, what kind of office is that?   Smiley Happy.  That made me chuckle.

Re: workplace 'borrowers' (etiquette question)

Seriously, if someone asked to borrow my hairbrush and mascara, I would start to wonder what kind of relationship they think we have. My husband has his own hairbrush. Smiley Tongue 

Re: workplace 'borrowers' (etiquette question)

Clearly they're aware how much these other products cost or they wouldn't be so snippety about you replacing them with cheaper counterparts.  I'd be straightforward about it and just tell them something like, "Look, the Nuxe oil is $30, a little tube of the  L'Occitane is $12...  With everyone using them they're going to be gone in a week.  If everyone would like to chip in I'd be happy to continue to buy them for all us to enjoy."

Re: workplace 'borrowers' (etiquette question)

Some people need it spelled out. I would bluntly, but pleasantly say, "I'm sorry but I just don't share my hairbrush, mascara, etc".  As far as the lotion and perfume goes, if some one US brash enough to confront you about nit sharing your luxury items, I would be brash enough to tell them to kiss my a**! 


But, being it is work I would suggest to said co worker setting up an office pool to buy those items for the entire office, as your beauty budget doesn't have room for these extra items. If that's not good enough and they still complain, I'd put up my affordable lotion too.

Re: workplace 'borrowers' (etiquette question)

I'm so sorry you have to experience this! It's always super awkward when a friend (or even friends of my little sister) come over and want to use my beauty products. Usually I'm like "uh...germs. no," unless it's a super close friend where I don't mind. 

That excuse can work well for instances such as the mascara (which, by the way is OUTRAGEOUS. I have never heard of a grownup adult borrowing the mascara of another woman at work. They could get an eye infection!)

But for items such as the luxury hand lotion - I suppose you just have to be blunt. 

First off, you did NOT have to buy drugstore lotion for those ladies to use. That's very generous in and of itself. But for them to be rude because you won't let them use your L'Occitane? That's crazy. Next time someone asks to borrow your lotion, I would say

"I'm so sorry. I was letting people borrow it before and it got used up really quickly. It's not cheap. I'd be more than happy to email you a link as to where it can be purchased though! Sephora shipping is great - you should have it in a few days. In the meantime, feel free to use this lotion I have out on my desk - it's not L'Occitane, but it should keep you moisturized until you wait for your order to arrive."

The ladies in your office are not entitled to your things - they're not entitled to use your lint roller. I would tell them "Oh, do you like it? Yeah, I got mine at (insert store here.) I'll send you a link as to where you can purchase it! With everyone in the office always asking to borrow it, I find that it gets used up rather quickly. I won't be lending it out anymore."


As to the Nuxe Dry Oil - you can just politely tell the ladies "Oh, it's rather expensive, and I use it to treat my dry skin. I really can't let one person use it or the whole office will be clamoring. I'm sure you understand."


I'm so sorry your colleagues are being so rude and greedy. 



Re: workplace 'borrowers' (etiquette question)

^^^^^^^^.  Agree, well said.    


My dad always said there are two types of people:  those brought up and those drug up.   The first group should know better, the later group gently guide to correct behavior.


HEY!  I know it's short notice, but if you have some samples you don't like or won't use,..... Hole punch the corner of the sample card, attach a tag or ribbon with a candy cane.  And give one to each lady or leave on their desk.  Then at the first of the year, or earlier, clear all YOUR items away from grabbie little hands (lock & key).    When questioned about where your items are, simply say this year you have to cut back your finances.   Perhaps they will get the hint, mostly not.


This way you have taken the high road, you been generous and you have not hurt any feelings, even though obliviously they cared nothing for yours.

Re: workplace 'borrowers' (etiquette question)

What I find interesting in your story is that you did not mind when the men borrowed but you mind when the women do. How are the two groups behaving differently?  (I am not blaming you AT ALL. Just trying to see if the men thanked you in a way that made you feel OK with the arrangement.)


The women sound like a nasty bunch. People get entitled and greedy, FAST! What was once a kind gesture on your part has now become your un-paid job.

Re: workplace 'borrowers' (etiquette question)

(I may be wrong) But it was my  impression that the men were borrowing things like first aid, etc that probably isn't as expensive as the Nuxe Dry Oil/L'Occitane. 

Re: workplace 'borrowers' (etiquette question)

well, they guys generally came with 'i lost a button!' or 'lunch is on my shirt' ... one even freaked out when he split his pants ... i stitched them up, and the next day he left a gift card for starbucks on my desk.  and most of the guys either brought in something to add to my stash (i now have batman and star wars bandages) or a couple dollars to offset the cost.  they viewed it as a favor being given, and to be returned.  with this group of women, there seems to be no reciprocity.  that's what really getting to me, i think.

Re: workplace 'borrowers' (etiquette question)

It's a tough situation because you work with there women so you can't tell them off. Even though they are being @ssholes, you're still the one that has to take the high road. 


Where ever the items are kept, I would move them to a locked drawer. Then I would befriend the ladies and ask if they want to join you at Sephora or share links to beauty deals. Stopping abruptly might cause them to gossip and say nasty things. Once again, you are definitely in the right but the real world isn't fair. You have to place nice even though you've been wronged.

Re: workplace 'borrowers' (etiquette question)

That is seriously wrong. I know it isn't the same but my husband does this ALL THE TIME! He just doesn't get why it makes me so crazy. He'll use something (my l'occitane cleansing oil for instance), I will get after him about it- tell him how much it costs and ask "do you want to replace it?!?" the answer is always no,and my reply is "then leave it alone!!!" I have also had this problem with roommates.  I think you were beyond nice to provide them with anything at all. The fact they are calling you names proves they are ungrateful mooches. Figure out the cost per unit of what ever they want to use and say you'd be happy to split the cost evenly. If they decline, tell them you are not their mother and it is not your job to provide for them. I feel for you. My roommate thought I was a B too, but I didn't care. It's about respect and they need to get some. Bottom line is it isn't your job to care for their cosmetic needs.  As for hubs, he'll never learn and he makes my coffee so I've learned to adjust. Good luck! So sorry you're going throughthis!

Re: workplace 'borrowers' (etiquette question)

You should tell him "yes" and then take him to Sephora! My boyfriend is a Rouge has his own face washes, moisturizers, skin creams, etc.

Re: workplace 'borrowers' (etiquette question)

I agree, get your husband to have his own set of stuff (buy him his own bottle/make him pay for it) and then keep yours put away.  But don't discouraging him from using good stuff.  It's taken me years to pry the bar of soap out of my husband's hands!

Re: workplace 'borrowers' (etiquette question)

Errr, do they know they are your stuff you brought with your money? Or did they think you were hoarding office goods? That's the only reason I can think of for the behavior, otherwise they are just hopeless and if they don't like the selections then they can go somewhere else. Back when I had roommate, I just had a set of everything myself even down to the handsoap. Maybe it would've been cheaper/more convenient if we shared, but it eliminates all the future fuss about splitting money, habits and what to use. =X

Re: workplace 'borrowers' (etiquette question)

Rude AND ungrateful! They don't deserve your generosity, and it is so sweet that you bought any products to share with them at all. What do they expect that you just keep supplying  them with high end beauty products? Seriously no social graces at all. 

Re: workplace 'borrowers' (etiquette question)

Gawd, I hate entitled people. I make baked goods for my husband's co-workers, and they got used to being spoiled, quick. I will probably keel over and die the day I get a thank you note or a small contribution (it's $$ to bake on the regular).


I'd take less stuff to work and not put out anything, drugstore or not, to share. Say you had an allergic reaction. Could you talk to HR? Sounds like most of your co-workers skipped kindergarten and need a refresher.

Re: workplace 'borrowers' (etiquette question)

You are way too kind.


I would not supply them with anything. They sound like entitled, ungrateful little witches. They clearly don't appreciate your generous nature or respect personal space. 


Wanting to use your hairbrush and mascara! Ewwww. What is wrong with these women? 


I grew up with sisters borrowing, stealing, and ruining just about every nice thing that I had so I would not be as patient as you have been. 


I would remove ALL products from their access and wouldn't even go into discussion about it with them. Clearly they will twist anything you say anyway. 


Ugh! Sorry you had to put up with this. 

Re: workplace 'borrowers' (etiquette question)


55 Replies
Conversation Stats
  • dog rolling on floor.jpg