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Old 12-02-2004, 02:11 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Nail clipping at the office

Okay, i need to ask a question to the forum readers.

I work in a typical office - cubicles in an open, high ceiling area. Each desk has some privacy, but for the most part it's an open work area. At least once a day, I hear someone clipping their fingernails. Is this normal, acceptable, professional behavior?? I am appalled that someone would clip their nails at their desk. Am I wrong for being disturbed by this? Isn't this something that should be done at home? It's not just one person, there are several. Why do my co-workers seem to think that it is okay?

How can I tell them that it's gross? It's not something that should be done on company time. I don't want to be an ass.

About a year ago, I did something kind of sly. I opened a yahoo e-mail account under an anonymous name. When a co-worker was clipping her nails, I sent her an e-mail asking her not to do it and listing several reasons for ceasing this habit. It seemed to deter her for a couple months, but soon she was clipping away again. I just don't get it.

This one will take the cake. One day last summer, I hear nail clipping nearby. I walk by her desk and she has her sandal kicked off and her foot up on the trash can! She's clipping her TOENAILS!!!!!!!

Can somebody help me??
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Old 12-02-2004, 02:13 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Ask them to go to the restroom to do personal grooming things like that. If that doesn't work just save all your own clippings from home and leave them on the offender's desk. That'll send the message pretty clearly.
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Old 12-02-2004, 02:29 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Maybe it's just me, but I see nothing wrong with someone clipping their nails.

No difference between that and chewing them... a bit loud perhaps, but oh well. I put that right up there with brushing hair/teeth or putting on makeup.

It's not like she's changing a tampon in her desk or something equivalent to ACTUALLY be disgusted at!
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Old 12-02-2004, 02:33 PM   #4 (permalink)
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When I started the job I'm at, I found nail clippings under my cube I don't care if you do it in the office but I don't want to hear it, see it or have to see your clippings anywhere near me.
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Old 12-02-2004, 02:41 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Everyone has their peeves. I had a guy who ate peanuts in the cube next to me. I used to do things that I knew would tick him off for driving me nuts (get it) all day. He had stacks of books that were above his cube wall and occasionally I would bump into them and they would fall all over his stuff. I switched all his autodial numbers on his phone around. Sometimes, I thought if I heard him crack one more and chew it up, I was going to crack his head like a peanut. Ahh, it's nice to have an office!
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Old 12-02-2004, 03:53 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Well, I don't approve of the practice, but I can kind of unterstand it.
(And the toe nails are really digusting!)
What I mean is, you guys are in cubicles. That's like a tiny little cube of your own semi-private space. Sure you may not like it, but since she's not coming into your cubilce to do it, then you don't have much reason to complain. If she starts doing it in a more public setting- like a conference room, or the break room- then you have a problem.
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Old 12-02-2004, 06:02 PM   #7 (permalink)
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I don't know I'm sort of torn. I think it should be done, just not at work. If you have to trim a hang nail or something, that's okay, but cutting them, at work? Do that at home. My former boss used to do this, <I>in meetings!</I>. I would get so frustrated, seemed not to bother others though.
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Old 12-02-2004, 10:22 PM   #8 (permalink)
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that's yuck...do it at home.
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Old 12-02-2004, 10:26 PM   #9 (permalink)
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I dont think its acceptable at work.. more for home.
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Old 12-03-2004, 12:16 PM   #10 (permalink)
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it's not worth battling over. Why get angry about something that has no effect on anyone? Now, if it was a fart cloud drifting over the cubicle wall, then I'd be pissed.
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Old 12-03-2004, 01:43 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Ok.....why is clipping nails gross?
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Old 12-03-2004, 01:57 PM   #12 (permalink)
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start picking the lint out of your belly button in front of her...

when she says stop, say,"When you stop clipping your nails..."
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Old 12-03-2004, 02:10 PM   #13 (permalink)
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There's a level of professionalism that I think can be expected at work. Clipping toenails is something that doesn't convey professionalism. Now, mind you, it does depend on the context of the work environment, but it doesn't sound like it's appropriate for your work place.
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Old 12-03-2004, 02:13 PM   #14 (permalink)
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the Dilbert website for a while offered a screen saver that had annoying office sounds. Clipping toenails was one, slurping a drink was another, as were cracking both peanuts and knuckles.

I have four thoughts.

1. She/he/they are not doing it in front of you, they're doing it in their own cube
2. Toenails and fingernails have to be the most inert substance in the world, they will not hurt you. To that end, they're not even exposing you to their 'horrible' toenails...they're throwing them directly in the trash.
3. If you are the only one out of an office of several people that all clip their nails at work, has it occurred to you that, just based on YOUR description, it IS acceptable to clip your nails at work? If multiple people do it, than you're the oddball, not them.
4. Since it's really just the noise that's bothering you, just get an I-Pod or some good headphones and deal with it.
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Old 12-03-2004, 07:28 PM   #15 (permalink)
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i get shivers reading your post. it makes me sick too. I hear it, but not nearly every day. im sorry for you!
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Old 12-03-2004, 08:16 PM   #16 (permalink)
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From: www.mannersmith.com

Maintaining Your Manicure ~ Unless you work with oil and grease, your hands should be neat and clean. Your nails should all be approximately the same length. With that understood, the clipping, filing, and most certainly the painting of your nails should only take place in your home or a nail salon.


Dear Ms. Smith,
There is a man in my office, three cubicles over, who spends time on a weekly basis clipping his nails. As soon as the clip, clip, clipping starts I cringe. The running office joke is that the guy in the cubical next to the clipping should put up his umbrella to avoid be hit by a wayward nail. The bottom line is that this is just gross. What can we do?


Let us presume that this man has no idea that the sound of his nail clipping can be heard throughout the office and that it has become a running joke. During the next nail session, the person in the closest cubical should poke his head around the corner of the cube and say "Scott, I am sure you did not realize, but I can hear you clipping your nails all the way over here." If that does not work, the following week, have the person two cubicles over say the same thing. Repeat this procedure until the offender stops clipping his nails at work, or until everyone in the office has told him they can hear his clipping.
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