Ladies and Germs

05/19/2009 15:07

Dear SE Girls,

Yuck! It just happened again: a coworker came over and put his hand on my mouse, driving his way around my computer program. How can I tell people to not touch things in my cube? It really grosses me out.

- Germ A. Phobe


 What Mary Says...  What Crystal Says...

Dear Phobe:

Yell, “BAD TOUCH! BAD TOUCH!” That should get him or her out of your cube quickly. Actually, nothing annoys me more than when someone touches things in my territory or I come in the next day to find things “moved.” Aside from poking at the offending hand with a sharp stick I would explain that you’re a germaphobe and ever since that “really infectious disease you had” (pause here to look thoughtfully into the distance) you wouldn’t advise people to touch your stuff.


 But at work sometimes you have to be politely firm. I would say something like, “You know, with all of these colds going around I think it’s best for you not to touch my mouse. I’ll handle it.”

Let us know how it works out.









Dear Phobe:

Start pulling out the Clorox wipes while they’re still standing there. I think that should do the trick. 

If you want to be nice, and with work you very well might, you can always slyly banter that you’ve just got a “thing” about germs. For whatever reason, saying you have a “thing” about something basically makes null and void any question or issue anyone could ever have with it. 

“You’ll have to get someone else to go to the conference, boss. I’ve got this thing about Chicago.”

“Sorry, I can’t go to lunch. I’ve got this thing about hearing people chew.”

“I’m really sorry, but I can’t visit dying Aunt Myrtle. I’ve got this thing about hospitals.”

Try it out. If someone asks what the “thing” is, just look sorrowfully off into the distance and say you’d rather not talk about it. If avoiding any real answer could work for Greg Brady, it could work for you.

But honestly, I wouldn’t worry about it. With the recent swine flu outbreak, SARS, and every other gross illness that has plagued our communities for the past few years, I doubt anybody would throw up the bitch alarm just from you wanting to keep your cube sanitized.                               


















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