Here an issue one for those new-fangled etiquette guides (you know, the ones that exist to tell your parents that leaving caps lock on in an email = shouting).
What is the etiquette surrounding the office kitchen’s microwave?
More specifically, if I am waiting to use it, and the timer has long since sounded on the unattended lunch currently inhabiting the microwave, how long do I have to wait before I can pull it out and use the microwave myself?
I’ve waited quite some time in the past, paranoid that touching someone else’s lunch is invasion of personal space by proxy.
This is clearly too long to wait, and whilst it keeps me away from my phone and email for a blissful extra 5 minutes, I can only read the 4-year old notices on the notice board so many times.
By contrast, on another occasion, I’ve walked back in to the kitchen just as the timer was sounding on my lunch, only to find someone else pulling it out so they could get their left over tuna mornay in as quickly as possible.
To me, this is too hasty – what if I needed to stir my lunch and heat it for a further 2 minutes?
Modern living is so perplexing.
EDIT: I just wanted to note that I, like a couple of commenters, am of the view one should stick around and wait with one's meal.
However, I have perfected the timing of my reheating such that I can make a quick 'comfort stop' in the time it takes to reheat my lunch. So I feel ok in leaving it to cook unattended. I am a responsible microwave user.
Furthermore, more often than not, waiting with my food while it heats up will involve banal small talk with whoever else is waiting to use the microwave and I have a very limited tolerance for meaningless niceties or talk about the weather. Setting my lunch to heat and walking off to do something else is often more of a survival mechanism than anything else.
But what I am definitely not a fan of is the 'queuing by proxy' some people undertake by leaving their tupperware in a little queue next to the microwave and then lobbing off back to their desk.
Tell you what, if the microwave becomes free and no one is around to 'claim' their place in the queue, I'm not hanging around waiting for you to return.