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Life as a Voyage

How have teaspoons disappeared?

Reference: The case of the disappearing teaspoons: longitudinal cohort study of the displacement of teaspoons in an Australian research institute

I always wondered about disappearing forks and teaspoons in a office. When I firstly went to my office, there were full of forks, knives, spoons and teaspoons. I now, however, realised that a large number of forks and teaspoons have been missing. I asked my colleagues about this and they said, "no idea at all!". That’s pretty much interesting. Somebody must have one of forks or teaspoons, regardless that it is on purpose or not.

According to the article above, it’s normal. Even more they are placed in a commons, it disappears faster than controlled environment. The article argues that teaspoons’ half life is around 81 days which is slightly less than three months. In other words, for every three months, new teaspoons should be filled in a tea room.

The reason of missing teaspoons developed by the authors is related to some psychological theory – The tragedy of the commons. In order for an individual to get convenience, the individual can hold a teaspoon. However, if everybody does the same approach, all teaspoon go disappeared and nobody can use it.

The funny thing I identified later is that forks used to be only eight left in the commons have been restored to the normal level. I have no idea whether it is because of my complaint or not. Anyway, I can enjoy my lunch without hassles of forks!


Written by Justin Yoo

28/08/2009 at 03:01

Posted in At Work

Tagged with , ,