I used to buy the newspaper every day. Well, that’s not altogether true. I used to buy BOTH newspapers every day. Every single day. The Chicago Tribune and the Chicago Sun-Times.The interesting thing in all this was not so much the buying but the reading of these papers. I read them both. Or tried to. On my train ride into work every day. Not the cushy suburban commuter train. No, no. The Blue Line. Congress / Douglas as it was called. Now, the O’Hare line. And I’d bring them in to work with me diligently. Every single day. I’d put them on my desk and sit down and get to work. People would come over throughout the course of the morning before trading started in the ag room at the grain exchange and snatch one or both of them off my desk and take them to read. I am loathe to say that one, – perhaps more people – took them into the bathroom and read one or both of them while taking their morning constitution. Probably every single day
Can I ask you something? How long must you know someone or work with someone to be alright with them taking your newspapers into the bathroom with them? It presupposes a familiarity, doesn’t it? Like they’re your family or something? “Oh Mike won’t mind if I take his Times or his Trib into the bathroom with me and read them as I sit on the commode and do my business. (While reading the business section.) Another question for you. At what point do I decide it’s too much effort to go ahead and say something like this to a person whole assumes that much: “Hey, you can keep the paper, if you want it. No seriously. Please don’t put that newspaper back on to my desk after you’ve taken it in to the bathroom with you, okay?” If I were Larry David? No problem saying that at all.
I tend to think of myself as a non-confrontational person. For good or bad, it’s how I view myself. So why would I “call someone out” for something as simple as borrowing my newspaper? For all I know they weren’t sitting on the commode. They were standing at a urinal and only read before and or after they had finished and washed their hands. In which case, ideally, it would be perfectly alright to set one or both of the newspapers back on my desk when they were done with them. No problem if they read them in plain sight. None whatsoever. But taking them out the door of the office, you’re pretty much in the dark at that point. No?
How about being so okay with someone taking the paper knowing full well where they’re taking it as they’re walking towards the door you actually say, “Neil Steinberg was really funny today.” or, “If you get a chance read today’s Far Side,” What, praytell, would happen if the same person snatching up your local papers was the guy who always bought the Journal in and as he was coming back from the men’s room, put the paper on your desk you went over to his desk, picked up his Wall Street Journal and muttered, “Interesting,” as you then as an act of “one good turn deserves another”, took his Journal into the men’s room with you for your morning constitution? What if that happened? In my case, it probably never would happen because as I stated, I try to be non-confrontational. But they’d deserve it. A little tit for tat. And would they be okay with ME bringing it back?
I guess ultimately it comes down to trust and familiarity. You expect most people not to wreck your stuff when they borrow things, don’t you? So you go ahead and allow every Tom, Dick and Harry in your office to take your newspaper wherever they want because that is why you put them on your desk in the first place, isn’t it? I mean if you really didn’t want anyone to do that you might put them inside your desk and only let the chosen few whom you know wouldn’t take them into the bathroom look at them with a head nod, as if to say, “It’s in my drawer over there.” Then that would be okay. If they didn’t go anywhere with them. Right?
Unless there was a professional trust with every one. Which means at some point you’d have to verify. But as I said before I’m a pretty non-confrontational guy. So once I’ve spent the money, bought the papers, read them on the train, bought them into work, chances are I pretty much wouldn’t look at them again for the rest of the day and if they were there at the end of my work day, I’d probably throw them out in any case. Which may not necessarily mean that I may have already taken them into the bathroom myself before I laid them on my desk in the first place. But it might mean that, too.
In which case I would have needed a sign on my desk that said, “Read at your own risk.”
These are all hypothetical.
Word Count: 905. Post # 1255