The Truth About Toilet Fairies

I’m hosting The Lounge this week for our first “Freestyle” edition! No themes, no rules, just great people and fabulous reading πŸ™‚

Workmates. Colleagues. Fellow inhabitants of the salt mines.

Whatever you call them, the people you work with are a lot like family. Not just in in the sense of being prone to having loud alcohol fuelled arguments at Christmas (surely that’s not just my family?). But in the sense that you can’t choose them.

Regardless of industry or occupation all workplaces are made up of an eclectic mix of individual personalities that all need to find a way to accommodate each others quirks and perks.

The process is not always easy.

Quiet achievers are forced to endure gregarious, social co-workers.

Big picture people are frustrated when their ideas for innovation are shut down by colleagues who can’t imagine doing things differently to the way they’ve always been done.

Neat Nancys are forced to co-exist with slovenly Susans.

You get the idea.

Then there are the challenges of sharing.

Work spaces, resources and facilities are all shared with our co-workers, not to mention in endless rounds of the flu. And it’s these shared resources and facilities that can cause the most friction.

Communal kitchens are often a source of tension. No one will ever confess to being the owner of the festering Tupperware container in the back of the communal fridge – the one which has been there so long it requires a HAZMAT suit and safety goggles to remove it.

They also frequently end up as the scene of Mexican stand-off style confrontations over who owns the dish that’s been left to “soak” in the sink for three days running.

Office equipment and resources can also be fraught with conflict. No-one in the history of offices has ever wanted to be the schmuck who has to change the toner in the printer. People use the last piece of stationery and don’t put it on the list to be replaced. And then there are those people that are so uncoordinated that they can’t even seem to use a basic piece of office equipment without rendering unfit for further use…

Yep I broke the laminator. It says so right there on the sign....

Yep I broke the laminator. It says so right there on the sign….

Ok so it was me.

I put something in to the laminator and for some bizzare reason NOTHING CAME OUT!

The best part about this particular sign is that I DIDN’T MAKE IT! After about 15 fruitless minutes of taking the damn machine apart and still not finding the document I stalked off in disgust. So to save everyone the bother of trying to work out who exactly had buggered the laminator, one of my particularly diligent colleagues happened to be around when the incident occurred and made it for me. Just in case anyone wanted to know who broke the laminator… IT WAS MEEEEEEE!

The upshot is that people have different standards.

But from the freakishly clean and tidy, to seriously dodgy and gross, all must learn to live together in some sort of harmony otherwise your workplace ends up resembling the shoot out at the last chance saloon.

In my current workplace we’re all pretty good *most* of the time. We don’t have anyone who’s really gross but I think we are probably all guilty of the occasional moment of absent mindedness when we forget to wash our teaspoon or re-fill the water dispenser.

And this is where signs come in.

Now don’t get me wrong. I have nothing against signs, and have even made the odd one or two myself in my time…

One of my former co-workers and I had a partition between our desks. Instead of constantly having to wheel our chairs around to speak to each other, we created signs which we could raise over the top of the partition to communicate with each other  It was very effective as you can see...

One of my former co-workers and I had a partition between our desks. Instead of constantly having to wheel our chairs around to speak to each other, we created signs which we could raise over the top of the partition to communicate with each other It was very effective as you can see…

I like to think I’m a fairly considerate co-worker. I wash up my stuff after lunch and generally try to leave all office equipment in the state in which I found it (apart from the laminator, obviously…).

But living in a smallish house with up to 5 children at any one time had given me shall we say, realistic, ideas about standards when large numbers of people have to share communal facilities. I definitely think everyone should do their best to be considerate of their colleagues but I’m not going to get bent out of shape over a slip here and there.

However some of my colleagues have higher expectations which they are certainly entitled to.

And recently there have been more than the usual number of instances where someone has used the last of a toilet paper in the ladies toilets and *GASP* not replaced the toilet roll!

Now since we’d had some extra casual staff in over this period it was impossible to pinpoint exactly who the culprit might be. But someone, and I’m still not sure exactly who it was, decided that something must be done. That someone needed to set the record straight about the standards regarding toilet rolls in this organisation.

So they made this sign and stuck it above the toilet roll in both cubicles…

This sign appeared in the ladies loos at my work last Friday...

This sign appeared in the ladies loos at my work last Friday…

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For some inexplicable reason this sign really spoke to me.

There was something about it that made me feel quite sad – as if by admitting there was no toilet fairy meant we were saying goodbye to the possibility of a little bit of magic in the world.

I decided this wouldn't do.

So I made this. And stuck it next to the original sign in both cubicles…

We do have a Toilet Fairy after all!

And hopefully now peace will reign in our communal facilities πŸ™‚

The Toilet Fairy

The Toilet Fairy

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58 comments on “The Truth About Toilet Fairies

  1. Lydia C. lee says:

    Love it! I do think once people resort to signs, it’s the first sign of craziness. Bitching endlessly to everyone and anyone is much more healthy. We sometimes get parked in (over our drive way – YAY private school parents who “didn’t realise it was a drive way” or stupid young people who don’t give a shit) and I know when I go charging out their with a note, I am borderline over the edge…(almost over…just a sign away)

    • Rachel says:

      Agreed Lydia – it is a sign of the crazy taking hold. However in the case of the people parking in front of your drive way I think you are quite justified. Better a sign than you letting the air out of their tyres. Now that really would be crazy πŸ˜‰

  2. robomum says:

    I love this! I actually get off on funny work stories/colleagues/signs. I think this is why I LOVE the Office so much.., If you don’t laugh at work, it’s hard to get through the day. I’m tempted to print off your fairy signs for our loo at work. Do you have copyright? ;o)

  3. Luisa Munoz says:

    This is classic – just classic. I need more women like you where I work. Thankfully a work place is pretty relaxed {considering the company I work for}. Nothing awkward and we have dishwashers and cleaners. Maybe even a toilet fairy! Luisa from The Motherhood Herald.

  4. rhian @melbs says:

    Ha ha Brilliant! I need a toilet fairy for my house, and a cleaning fairy oh and a cooking fairy. Great Post.

  5. ann says:

    I love the loo fairy!! But I really want to know why people think its ok to do a number 2 in a public toilet, it shits me to tears!! I will be back to check out the other linkers over the weekend!!

  6. Man I wish there was a toilet fairy sometimes! I used to work with a girl who NEVER changed the toilet roll, she always left it empty. As there were only three of us girls in the office we knew who it was and so myself and the other girl started putting the empty toilet rolls in her handbag every time she left one on there. After a couple of weeks of this she laughingly asked us why we kept putting toilet rolls in her bag and we told her we would continue to do it until she learnt to change the bloody roll! She got the idea after that and didn’t do it again.

    I hate having to share a bathroom at work or use public toilets so much that I wrote an entire pt about it and the not changing toilet rolls was one of the things I railed against. It’s just so bloody rude!

    And on the issue of signs in the workplace, I am a bandit for them. My signs are often very sarcastic, bordering on rude, but I don’t care. If you can’t fucking let someone know when you use the last express post bag, or you’re somehow incapable of thinking of others and don’t re-fill the water jug, putting the empty one back in the fridge, then you deserve a sign that says Oi! in big letters and alludes to your diminished mental capacity! Yeah, I’m a workplace bitch and I don’t give a damn!

    • Rachel says:

      Lol diminished mental capacity – love it! I do agree that repeat offenders who are always inconsiderate suck, and should expect to have people get in their face about it.

  7. Kim says:

    Awww that’s lovely! Bringing office peace and toilet love throughout the land!! Now THAT is a sign that needs your name on it.

  8. Beautiful! You are such a breath of fresh toilet air. I cannot stand the clean and tidy Nazis at work. They are mentals. I always wash my stuff up but frankly if there a few teaspoons lying in the sink I don’t lose sleep over it. CHILL OUT WORKERS OF THE WORLD. LIVE A LITTLE. My workmate (let’s call him Gorringe for that is his name) and I share an office and he likes to take his shoes off and air his be-socked feet. I am ok with this as they are not smelly. However I know some people raise their eyebrows. GET A LIFE PEOPLE. Live and let live. And we all need a toilet fairy sometimes.

  9. Ness says:

    I’m afraid that I’m actually one of those people who often forgets to replace the toilet roll. I really need a Toilet Fairy. And a House Work Fairy. And as for that pesky bloody Dinner Fairy who never turns up. HMPH.

    Love your work. xo

    • Rachel says:

      I think we BOTH need a toilet fairy. There should be a rule that if you have more than 2 sons you get a toilet fairy until they leave home. It’s only fair I think πŸ™‚

  10. Katyberry says:

    I love those little telling off signs! I always think Dude! If the person wasn’t going to wash their dishes/flush the toilet/re-stock the paper beforehand, there’s a preeeettttyyyy good chance that they won’t be convinced by your lame little sign.

    I do like the name and shame laminator breakage sign though. Now that might get some traction

    • Oculus Mundi says:

      My feelings exactly – it’s usually not so much about trying to change behaviour (as you say, it doesn’t work) as it is about drawing the battle lines and going in for a good skirmish – which is fine, I quite enjoy watching them πŸ˜€

    • Rachel says:

      And they put the date on it too. Because it’s important not only to ascertain WHO fucked the laminator but WHEN they fucked the laminator. The people NEED to know these thing goddamnit!

  11. mummywifeme says:

    Haha yes, those little signs. My old work had a few put up in the work toilets after several incidents. I remember there was one time (at band camp – ahem where was I?..) where I swear the person who went to the toilet was either standing on the seat with dirty shoes or letting a whole heap of dirt out when they unbuttoned their pants. Really don’t know what was going on there.
    Thanks for hosting this week!

    • Rachel says:

      Hmm maybe that is grounds for a sign? Dirt on the toilet seat is both weird and gross so maybe this could be the exception to the rule!

    • Oculus Mundi says:

      My friend Lynn walked into a toilet on the Gold Coast a couple of months back, accidentally disturbing the woman who had not locked the door – and the lady was actually standing on the toilet pan – shoes on – and peeing that way. It is apparently something some cultures do. They don’t believe in sitting down on the pans. Never mind how grossly unhygienic your shoes are, bloody dangerous I would have thought.

      My first thought was why can’t they just stand above the seat? But no, people from some parts of Asia apparently do actually stand on it. I was somewhat disbelieving until I mentioned it to my husband and he confirmed that oh yes there are some public toilets in Brisbane where they have signs saying you are not allowed to stand on the pan. It occurs to me you might have had one of these types at your work.

      There are, without a doubt, some weird and wonderful things going on out there.

      • Rachel says:

        IT’S TRUE! I recently had to drive to Bundaberg for work and stopped at a servo just outside Gympie (largish country town for non-QLD readers). The loos were spotlessly clean but there were signs everywhere that said “Please do not stand on the loo”. I took a picture because I thought it was so bizarre that I could use it in a WTF Friday post. But I was intrigued so I asked the lady at the counter and she confirmed your hubby’s explanation. Madness – total bloody madness!

  12. You’re a classic, that sign would make me laugh every time I went to the bathroom – it sounds like you’d be so much fun to work with! I used to hate all the dishes in sink, it was usually the old journos in my office who thought a young chick such as me should do it for him! Em x

    • Rachel says:

      Now that would have really shit me to tears! I would have dumped them back on their desks – sort of like an office version of putting a horses head in their beds πŸ˜‰

  13. Oculus Mundi says:

    I worked with someone with, I reckon, a similar mindset to the laminator sign creator (pure poetry). After one of the teachers broke the laminator – which X then took apart and fixed – X took to HIDING the laminator in the bottom of a locked cupboard underneath a box of stationery. When we finally discovered its position she then moved it and hid it again. Finally, in the new stationery room she hid it under two tea towels, but was eventually forced by management to put it out for all to use. So, when she went away on long service leave she instead hid all the laminating pouches. 12 boxes of laminating pouches, which we eventually found at the bottom of another locked cupboard. All because she had decided nobody else should be allowed to use it in case they broke it again.

    On day two of her long service leave, a teacher went into her top desk drawer to borrow a pencil and there was a great big sign in the drawer on top of all the stationary that said KEEP OUT.

    We also had a person who put up a no kitchen fairy sign in the kitchen. I just brought my own stuff and washed it after use and kept it in my desk, no way was I ever cleaning up someone else’s dishes, and I have a great capacity for simply ignoring that which does not directly affect me πŸ™‚ But no, this person went to great lengths to try instate a rota for dish washing and whatnot, which everyone promptly ignored.

    They’re all bloody mental. Mental, I tell you.

    • Marti says:

      I’m sure we must’ve worked together! Was that laminator nazi a librarian by any chance? Such an uncanny coincidence, or maybe there’s one in every school.

    • Rachel says:

      Nobody should be THAT attached to a laminator. It’s just not right. So strange the way people can get territorial over the most inane shit. And people say we’re mental!

  14. I love your toilet fairy! I’ve always struggled with office dwelling for all the reasons you point out. I’m no pedantic Polly, but I also get mighty irate if my stuff goes missing or if I’m the one caught short without a spare square. And don’t even get me started on the photocopier! I think you could totally sell your own range of office signage, though. There’s clearly a market!

    • Rachel says:

      I think you might be right Lara! I’ve had suggestions about cleaning fairies and dinner fairies. I myself would love a fairy to fold and put the washing away!

  15. Ha! The battle of the signs! We have some pretty badarse signs at work about cleaning up after yourself, but I can’t for the life of me remember them today. There is always the “your mother does not work here” sign. That’s a doozy. I don’t mind changing the toilet roll, but I wouldn’t mind if my workplace splurged on some loo paper that was less like rubbing shrivelled leaves on your bottom. Actually, I think shrivelled leaves would be better than the stuff that we have. Anyway, thanks for the laugh!

  16. Mumabulous says:

    Every office needs a loo fairy.

  17. She’s gorgeous. When she’s done at your work, send her to my house. We also need a Cleaning Fairy, and a Cooking Fairy….and a Tidy-Up after my Husband Fairy. So if they’re free, they’re also welcome. I feel like your communal work issues could easily be written about my inhouse battle!

    • Rachel says:

      I would LOVE a tidy up after my husband fairy. Mine just seems to shed an endless trail of CRAP where ever he goes. My only fear would be that the poor little fairy may die from over work!

  18. I’d forgotten the joys of office life. Signs used to drive me crazy. One girl put up a sign about stolen tampons at a particularly low moment. The Big Sister is rapidly becoming my toilet paper fairy – I’ve stored the spare rolls low in the laundry so she can come to my rescue in an emergency.

    • Rachel says:

      Who steals tampons? And then who makes a sign about it? That’s a sure sign things are spiralling towards an office apocalypse!

  19. Oh, after eight years away from an office, I am remembering what it was like! Oh how I used to come home and vent… Great post.

  20. Tegan says:

    You’re a nutter!

    • Rachel says:

      Yes. I am fully aware that spending 4 hours making my own toilet fairy was not a normal response to a sign in the toilets. But I’m good with it πŸ™‚

  21. Me says:

    Love it !!!!!
    Have the best weekend !
    Me
    (PS – I didn’t realise we were related – but now that I know you surname I can see that we must be !!!)

  22. Building site toilets.
    That is all.

    • Rachel says:

      Yep that would be a whole new level. I’m sure you’ve seen some shit (literally and figuratively). The toilet police at my work should probably spend a few days using toilets like that and they might not be so precious about toilet rolls!

  23. Mammasaurus says:

    Ha! Loving your style!

  24. Jenny says:

    Loved your post, almost made me wish I was still working (joke!). Found you via Blog Love Day.

  25. Ha! Do you get ANY work done?! πŸ˜‰

  26. Vince Elgey says:

    We have numerous signs in our toilets referring to everything from the Loo-Roll Fairy, to don’t sprinkle when you tinkle or spray before you go, so no will ever know . .

    and still everyone ignores them . .

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