Microsoft’s corporate culture has a problem with the white stuff – The Guardian

A lot gets written about the problems of corporate culture in Silicon Valley. The workaholism, the sexism, the short-termism.

But less gets written about the problems of corporate culture in Microsoft’s home turf of Redmond, Washington. Specifically, the milk.

Yes, Microsoft has, according to the anonymous Reddit post of an employee of one of the company’s game studios, a “deeply ingrained” corporate issue: the orphaned milk carton culture.

Responding to a question on the Microsoft subreddit about what potential interviewees should know about the company, redditor HelenAngel wrote:

Don’t be one of those people that takes a milk carton and uses just a little bit of it for your coffee/tea and then puts back the opened container on the counter or the drink fridge.

Trust me, no one is going to reuse your milk. The people who would have used it have long since been burned by reusing milk only to find out it is spoiled. Just use the rest of the milk or pour it down the drain and recycle the container.

And yes, this is a global Microsoft phenomenon. The Orphaned Milk Carton culture is somehow deeply ingrained in our worldwide culture.”

There’s even a long-running thread discussing the issue on the company’s internal social network, Yammer, apparently: “Milk cartons of the Pacific Northwest”.

BusinessInsider’s Matt Weinberger confirmed the internal problem. Microsofties, it seems, are provided with small half-pint cartons of milk. But no-one wants to be the second person to use one of the small cartons. One employee estimates that the company wastes 23 gallons of milk a day in its main campus alone.


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