job from heck: soft soap

To: Staff
From: Management
Date: 3/20/97
re: Soft Soap
It has come to our attention that management is having to spend too much time in the ladies’ bathroom watering down the soap. Please be conscious of this effort on their part and acknowledge it with proper cooperation in this regard as befits respectful employees.

Soap is a fringe benefit of your job. We do not charge for the soap, and we expect you to be conscious of this benevolence on our part. When we learn of abuses such as employees taking two squirts of soap when one would suffice, we are forced to consider methods of dealing with this perfidy.

We are not policemen and would like to maintain the atmosphere our organization has become known for throughout the state. Self-policing is the key here. Kindly take note of your own behaviors: if you begin the water running before you squirt the soap, if you take more than one squirt, if you lather your hands more than ten times (or longer than thirty seconds) and if you use more than one (1) paper towel in drying your hands, you are a part of the problem and not part of the solution.

One squirt of soap suffices to remove 75% of the bacteria on anyone’s hands. Studies have determined that ten lathering episodes (also known in the literature as “hand-wringing events”) are sufficient to distribute the soap to all fingers and both palms. The upper side of the hand is not necessary to lather. Longer lathering does not noticeably increase the cleansing process and only wastes time and water which are by rights company resources.

Thank you for your prompt attention in this matter. Hopefully we will not need to address it again.


  1. Ivy

    I fear this is where our new company is going.

    In late June they didn’t want to turn on the air conditioning. By late afternoon on the first day of this decision, the phone service went out, the website went down and all the servers performed an emergency shutdown, all due to overheating.

  2. philangelus

    Think how much money they saved by not using electricity that whole day!

  3. Ivy

    I can’t complain. It’s the most I’ve ever been paid to sit around and knit.

  4. philangelus

    How can you knit when it’s that hot, though? Even the needles must have been sweating. 😉

  5. Ivy

    Most knitter take the summer off, but I don’t. I don’t do big things, like sweaters or blankets, because I don’t want that much wool draped over my lap, but socks are nice summer knits.

  6. CricketB

    What I wish is that soap were standard! Some places, you need three squirts to get any suds at all, others it’s so concentrated a drop will do. Shampoo’s worse. Trying to teach the kids that to get suds you need water along with the shampoo.

    What’s really fun is at the Science Centre, in front of a sciency sign showing where microbes hide on hands, watching everyone wash only their palms.

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