Why I don’t do buffets

Luckily enough I’ve been to a few birthday parties, anniversaries and a couple of ‘Sportsman’s Dinners’ over the past month or two and at those events with a buffet on, I’ve made sure I had something to eat before I got there. Sounds ungrateful? Well read on.

I can remember as a younger man being advised never to help myself to the assortment of chunks of cheese or bowls of crisps put out on a pub bar for the punters to share and at a recent event I was asked why I don’t indulge myself. Well, to be honest, it’s because people just don’t wash their hands after going to the loo. This was challenged by my friend who said that he certainly did and he was sure all his friends, family and colleagues did too. So it was challenge time and resulted in me, erm, being observant around male toilets! Now, to be fair I didn’t make a habit of hanging around loos and risk getting in to trouble but I just noted how many men washed their hands after their ‘visit.’ Purely, in the good name of market research, of course.

Again, with such small numbers involved in my ‘wee’ survey it can’t be a completely accurate piece of market research but it certainly gives people something to think about. So what were the results?

Out of 37 people only 22 washed their hands. That’s 57% which means, in my mini study, that more than 4 in every 10 people don’t!

I don’t know about you but that’s a staggering amount of scruffy people who show no or little regard to their own or other people’s safety and hygiene. Four out of ten people touching the door handle on the way out of the toilet after you’ve spent time washing your hands, four out of ten touching the kettle in the kitchen, the fridge door, your telephone! If this is a representation of people in your place of work, what does it mean for staff sickness and general spreading of germs and disease? It’s a worry. Maybe it’s just that people don’t understand the risk or possibly it has something to do with poor education or parental guidance. I have no idea what the reasons are but I do know it’s important to ensure you are personally protected.

So what can you do to minimise your own risks caused by others? Well good personal hygiene is a must and this includes thoroughly washing your hands whenever possible using soap or an anti bacterial gel etc. You could ask if hand sanitising gel dispensers could be placed around toilet and kitchen areas as well as in entrance / exits around the office. Invest in a small bottle for your desk or bag and use them regularly. Ensure your cleaning company regularly sanitises your phone and desk area. If you work in a ‘hot desk’ area, this must be completely sanitised every day to prevent the spread of germs and disease. Make sure that kitchen and toilet cleans include the sanitising the taps, door handles and locks as well as ensuring the toilet seats, urinals etc are disinfected daily.

Anyway maybe now you understand why I avoid those bar snacks and buffets?