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Lonelyheart807's avatar

How "weird" are you about people borrowing things from off your desk at work? (Just wondering if it's me or not)

Asked by Lonelyheart807 (2243points) August 8th, 2019

Do you mind when people come in when you’re sitting there and just grab stuff off your desk? Or how about when they borrow something from off your desk when you’ve stepped out for a minute?

My situation might be a bit different because I work in a church office, the room of which is accessed by numerous people…but, I cannot stand when people just walk in and grab something off my desk to use, even when I’m sitting there. I’ll willingly share whatever people need, but I feel like they should say, “Hey, is it okay if I borrow such and such?” Again, maybe just me…

And then, if I step out for a moment, I find people come in and borrow scissors, my tape dispenser, my stapler, etc. Now if people need it momentarily, I certainly don’t mind, but 1) leave me a note so I know the item has not just disappeared, and 2) make sure you return said item when you’re done.

This week I had to order a new tape dispenser from Amazon because someone borrowed mine and did not return it, and I’m not going to walk through the whole church building trying to find where they left it. And hey, it’s not my money that is paying for an additional one, it’s the church’s, but I think it’s crazy to have to do that, and disrespectful to my work space.

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24 Answers

kritiper's avatar

If I’m there, ask. If I’m not there, bring the item back in as good or better condition as when it was found, and put it back where you found it.
Leaving a note might help me not miss it if it’s taken for any length of time.

Yellowdog's avatar

A church where I worked once, we had an assistant administrator who was facing the same problem. Her office was once a ‘work room’ so people assumed, for borrowing purposes, all of her stuff was fair game.

I was stopped once by a simple sign she put in her drawer (presumably all of them). written on a single sheet of paper when you opened it, all it said was, “You have no business going through my drawer.”

All of us came to realize this was her office and her desk was to be left private.

jca2's avatar

If people stand there and pick up a pen or a stapler or something, and use it right there, I don’t mind. It would seem kind of cumbersome for them to have to ask and me to say yes, when it’s right there in front of them in the pen holder, or the stapler being right on the desk.

I keep my favorite scissors in my drawer and they have my name written on them.

My stapler (which I bought myself) has my name on the bottom of it, and it’s bright pink so if someone did steal it, it would be obvious.

zenvelo's avatar

I am not “weird” about it- I just don’t like people doing that without asking.. Someone who does that is the “weird one”.

KNOWITALL's avatar

Maybe you should post a ‘Thou shall not steal’ sign up with a little disclaimer that borrowing is fine, as long as they ask first. haha!

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Patty_Melt's avatar

Get a legal pad. Across the top of the first page write BORROWER’S LOG.
Make a column for name, date borrowed, date returned, and date of public execution for non returned items.

No exceptions. Make everyone sign for what they borrow.

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Love_my_doggie's avatar

If someone uses a stapler or tape dispenser momentarily, why would I be offended? When nothing goes missing, there’s no inconvenience. Also, the item likely isn’t my own property, but something owned by my employer and merely in my proximity. It often isn’t practical – makes no sense – for the person to return to his/her assigned workspace for such a minor and insignificant action.

I’ve known people, though, who get offended. They view “their” desks (which, too, are the employer’s property) as places that shouldn’t be violated, and anything on the desk to be personal. I guess I can understand those feelings. Offices are small and crowded, with little-or-no privacy, so someone might want to claim even a tiny patch of turf.

Patty_Melt's avatar

Sometimes things left to continue get more and bigger. Sometimes people get so used to reaching for what they want or need they help themselves to personal items without considering what they’re doing.

Courtesy would call for always asking.

mazingerz88's avatar

Church office. I could see why people would think anything and everything on your desk is fair game. The Church owns the stuff not you. And even if they know it’s yours, they assume it’s ok to take it sans permission because hey, it’s for the Church, whatever it is they’re doing.

What we have here is a failure to communicate. Might be a good idea to place an easy to notice note on your desk about how you want your things handled. Or….put most of the stuff in a drawer, those you want to be asked first or notified before it gets transported somewhere else.

Lonelyheart807's avatar

For those commenting on people coming in and using my stuff, they don’t come in and use it right there. They walk in, pick up the item, and leave. And they don’t even speak to me when they do so…and no, I’m not on the phone. So, yeah, they may feel they can use whatever without asking, but to not even speak to me is rude.
Also, I may not own these items, but I use them through out the day for my work, so if they come and take them for a length of time, they need to ask.

jca2's avatar

If I were sitting there, @Lonelyheart807, and someone came in and took one of the items off of my desk and walked out with it without saying anything to me, I’d say, “Helllooo? Where are you going with my stapler?” Confront them, call them on it.

jca2's avatar

Also, if someone is taking something off your desk to use in another area (for example, the copier area), maybe that area needs some supplies of its own. For example, the copier area needs a staple remover so people can take staples out of documents before they copy things.

Lonelyheart807's avatar

There is no other area, @jca. And if people want stuff, I order it for them all the time.

jca2's avatar

The church office only has your desk in it? No copier or anything, @Lonelyheart807?

Yellowdog's avatar

In church offices, the usual way of doing things is, individual employees buy their own supplies. In probably about half the cases, receipts are presented to a business manager or administrator who reimburses the cost—i which it still belongs to the one who purchased it, but more nebulous as to who can use it.

Most members, co-workers, and board members do not even discuss where it came from. When I pastored a church in Cherokee, Alabama—I did ALL the office supplies and cleaning the church, even purchasing the coffee and the cleaning supplies, toilet paper, etc. When I started to have my own economic issues, I was told to start presenting receipts for reimbursement. The costs were between 30 and 200 dollars a week, typically, which didn’t set well with some so I was told we would have to do without—putting the expenses right back on me.

Only in churches with multiple thousands of members is there a regular buyer of church supplies.

Of course, if it is someone’s desk or someone’s office and not just a work room or copier room, no one should be taking someone else’s supplies. They have those supplies, and/or were reimbursed for them (if they were) for a reason, No one should rummage though someone’s desk any more than they should someone’s briefcase or purse.

Lonelyheart807's avatar

@Yellowdog there’s a church credit card and several a counts, including Amazon. I order whatever I’m asked to order, or whatever I need in the course of my job. The assistant treasurer pays the bills at the end of the month from church funds. And they have about 100 members, not thousands. Sorry, but I wouldn’t work any job where I was expected to buy basic supplies out of my own pocket.

@jca2 there’s a copier in my office. I’m not sure what the anything would be. And the copier has a code on it, which not everybody knows.

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