Tag Archives: Lab Culture

Complaints… the hidden transaction at the CARIS lab…

Last Friday, I took my time getting up from the bed. Having no classes this term has essentially eliminated the need to wake up early. I am no longer the usual first person to turn on the lights at the lab.

Instead, what I found when I got to my desk was a familiar complaint note that wasn’t there the night before.

The orange sticky note on my bag of truffles complained as follows:

Dated: January 20th 2011

Hour: 13, Minute: 18, Second: 58

“Your truffles are just too darn good… so I took a few”.

To: AJung Moon

Whose Fault: Yours

Desired Outcome: Explanation

Complainant: Anonymous

So here it is, Mr. Anonymous. An explanation.

The complaint was from the usual suspect who shamelessly asks for my chocolates, crackers, and other peanut-free snacks during work – most of which I offer first. One time, this labmate of mine wanted some of the Hershey Hugs and Kisses chocolates. You know, those delicious chocolates wrapped in tiny foils…  One by one, the chocolate in the bag started to disappear until the whole bag was gone.

The truth is, I really don’t mind sharing my snacks with my labmates.

In fact, when you start sharing snacks (offer the first tiny bite of your own snack that is) then the person who gets snacks from you become quite unconsciously addicted to consuming ‘the other person’s snack’. It’s quite funny to see the subtle addiction surface until there could be no more to be had.

I remember there being a bag of leftover chips in the lab that was floating from one desk to another. I couldn’t help it. I had to have them until the entire 700g bag of chips were gone. I hogged it so that I could satisfy my addiction before others got addicted to it too – crunch crunch…. the satisfying sound you get when you can’t focus but need to stay awake by chewing something like the chips. The particular labmate has a tendency to keep a huge bag of chips around his desk as snacks. Go figure. It’s the kind that I easily get addicted to but usually do not purchase for myself.

Anywho, after being addicted to my stash of chocolate (perhaps unbeknownst to himself), my labmate sometimes feels like he owes me chocolate – oh, the guilt one feels after giving in to his/her addiction.

So became our hidden (chocolate/chips-based) transaction where he would be addicted to some of mine, and get me some chocolate to make up for the chocolate he helplessly consumed. This has been happening since the labmate and I named our computers, according to the lab’s tradition (our lab computers mostly have chocolate names) about a year and a half ago.

Looking forward to your next stash of chips, Mr. Anonymous …!

PS. Do you have a hidden transaction going on at your lab? Maybe we should promote using more of these complaint notes throughout the department to voice your complaints regarding your neighbour’s stash of addictive snacks. In the end, it secretly promotes win-win situations between colleagues don’t you think?