Service of Why Should Someone Clean Up Your Mess?

February 29th, 2024

Categories: Garbage, Thoughtless Behavior

The sign begins “This is not a garbage can,” yet some people still can’t walk a few steps to put their trash in a bin or bring it home.

A friend asked the other day “why do people leave their dirty dishes/trays/coffee cups behind when they exit a table at either a deli or shared office space? It’s really rude.”

She added that the remote workplace she shares is handsomely decorated and doesn’t deserve such treatment. She mentioned to someone in charge that the communal area needed policing and was thanked for the suggestion. She said that they are considering posting tent cards on the table requesting that people clean up after themselves—another of her ideas.

The used items shouldn’t have been left behind in the first place.

By the kitchen sink at one office at which I once hung my hat was a sign: “Your mother doesn’t work here. Please wash your dishes.” It was largely ignored. Who reads? Who cares?

The topic brings up so many questions:

  • Do glasses, dishes and coffee mugs dot the tables and counters of the homes of these thoughtless people?
  • Does a butler clean up after them?
  • Are these the same folks who litter sidewalks and roads with soda and beer cans?
  • Where do they acquire the entitlement to prance off leaving detritus behind without consideration of the next person?
  • Are they bothered when they enter a space that is full of litter?

12 Responses to “Service of Why Should Someone Clean Up Your Mess?”

  1. Deb Wright Said:

    What a good topic! Of course, the answer is that these are self-absorbed people who just don’t care about their actions. I once worked with Trish, a perfect example of a spoiled only child. However, as an adult, she should have had consideration for her fellow workers. She shared our English office with five other teachers. There was a small microwave in the office. She would heat fish or spaghetti sauce and never clean it up. Also, and this is kind of funny, we begged her not to pop the microwave popcorn during her planning period at the end of the day. The smell drove the kids crazy! We did tell her to clean the microwave oven; can’t remember if she did it!

    Perhaps the answer is that these thoughtless people were raised by wolves, although wolves would be more considerate.

  2. Jeanne Byington Said:


    Sounds like even when confronted or caught in the act, such citizens have no clue and won’t change their ways. Even if there were an excess of wonderful teachers, I doubt Trish would have been fired for being the opposite of a team player nor could she be forbidden to use the microwave.

    I hope someone might share a solution that worked to correct a situation that is as unsanitary as it is awful to behold.

  3. Hank Goldman Said:

    On the positive cleanup side, I have noticed that in public laundry rooms most people do clean out the lint filter after the wash cycle… I know I always do for the next person, and it’s nice to see that it’s clean for me, too!!

  4. Jeanne Byington Said:


    That’s such good news.

    I wish I had a good example to share. My apartment is the farthest one from the elevator bank. If one of my neighbors–or a guest–drops a candy wrapper, paper, receipt, tissue or anything on the carpet it often stays there until the maintenance crew vacuums. If I think of it, I bring a paper towel to pick it up and toss it in the trash room. Really annoying. Animals keep their nests clean for goodness sakes.

  5. Lucrezia Said:

    I don’t leave anything for anyone to pick up, in public, that is. It’s what goes on at home which calls for discipline!

  6. Jeanne Byington Said:


    When I leave a mess in the kitchen, I’m the only one to suffer. If I knew that you were coming over I’d put a lot of stuff away so that you didn’t have to suffer too!

  7. EAM Said:

    EAM on Facebook: I was on my way to a Dr. appt and witnessed a dog doing its business and said to owner, “Got a bag for that?” while she was checking her phone. She snapped back “No, do you?” If you have a dog, you need to pick up. It’s clear it wasn’t the first time. No excuses.

  8. Debbie Kunen Said:

    Debbie on Facebook: Lazy inconsiderate FKG A HOLES. Society is full of them therefore we are their victims 😡

  9. Jeanne Byington Said:


    I agree. The few can ruin a neighborhood, garden, sidewalk or playground for all the others. The fact that this scofflaw was rude would have broiled me even more.

  10. Jeanne Byington Said:


    Amen. We can fantasize about these selfish people for example, the potential love of their life becomes disgusted by their behavior when they see how inconsiderate they are when they deface public places with their trash. She/he walks out.

  11. Martha Takayama Said:

    I do think that one should leave shared common areas in office and work spaces clear of litter and dirty dishes. That is simply good manners and consideration for others.

    On the other hand, I don’t like restaurants and commercial food operations where one tips, of course, because the staff is not paid adequately but there are no clean up services. I don’t particularly enjoy having to balance heavy trays laden with heavy crockery trying to navigate crowded restaurants. Actually at this point it is risky for me because I am not strong enough to do so nor is my balance good enough!

    I also don’t really enjoy looking at the different kinds of trash receptacles deciding how I should allocate my remains or encountering piles of dirty dishes and silverware next to my table. It doesn’t seem very clean. My father chose not to go to a casual restaurant near our house where people constantly pushed large carts clearing and piling dirty dishes and garbage while the patrons were still eating.

  12. Jeanne Byington Said:


    In NYC, most places serve food in paper cups and on paper plates so trays aren’t heavy though I admit I wonder, sometimes, in which hole to put the items on my tray.

    I hope that someone disinfects the tables between guests….but I don’t hold my breath.

    I envision your dad’s disgust at a pile of dirty dishes passing by while he’s trying to eat and I smile because my father would have had a similar reaction. What I don’t like is hearing a CRASH of dishes tossed into a large plastic container on the way to the dishwasher. I jump almost every time.

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