Would you eat off the bottom of your purse?


Working at the Jail for four years gave me a much greater sense of awareness when it comes to germs.  The maintenance crew at that facility did an admirable job of trying to keep the place clean, but it was still a building that housed 600 to 700 inmates at any given time who were not particularly inclined to care about keeping a place clean that they didn’t want to be in anyway.  They had lots more compelling things on their minds, like how they got there and how they could get out!

So, one of the “cleanliness” lessons I took away from that experience was about the transferance of germs, and how easily that can occur.  Just one example, we had plastic document folders that we received from each block containing inmates’ orders for commissary, and after repeatedly receiving order sheets that were damp (I didn’t even let my mind wonder what they were damp from!), I had to notify the cell blocks that we would not fill any orders that came to us damp!  (Before working there, I could never have invisioned thinking much less saying some of the things I had to tell inmates.)  You know that way you will lick your finger so that you can flip through a stack of papers?  We NEVER did that at the Jail!

Anyway, I came away from that time much more aware of germs.  And made some rules for myself in that regard.

One is that I wash my hands many times a day, especially while preparing food. 

Also, I am very careful about what clothes I mix together in my laundry loads, i.e., kitchen towels are always washed separately and in the hottest water possible.  Ditto, the other towels and also underwear — each, separate with hot water.

And another “rule”,  and the subject of this post, is that I always try to be aware of where I set my purse.  Have you thought about where your purse spends its time?   When you go to a restaurant, do you put your purse on the floor beside you?  Even if you put it on the seat next to you, think about it — what’s been on that seat before — some unknown person’s bottom (maybe a toddler with a stinky diaper?), that’s what!  When you go to a theater,do you put your purse under your seat?  I would like to think that the floor in restaurants and under theater seats is thoroughly scrubbed frequently, but especially in theaters, I’m guessing that’s not the case.  And, have you ever set your purse on the floor in a restroom stall?  Just one word, “yuck”.

So, my reminder to you today is don’t ever set that well-traveled  purse on a surface that is in any way involved with food — like kitchen counters or tables (the ones at your house or someone elses, or even on a restaurant table).

One final note:  I have always had a bad habit of resting my face on my hand when I am sitting at a table.  I haven’t totally succeed yet, but I continually try to remember to keep my hands away from my face.  Even with frequent washing, hands are great carriers of germs too.

I hope that every one of you has already thought of this and are diligent about it.  But, if there is just one of you who hadn’t already thought of it, this post is for you!

I don’t know about you, but when I think about it, I’m realllly not interested in eating off the bottom of my purse!

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5 Responses to Would you eat off the bottom of your purse?

  1. Barb says:

    Good post! When we go to a restaurant, I usually put my feet together (side-by-side) on the floor, and set my purse on and between my feet….so it is not touching the floor.

    As for the restrooms, oh, yes! I always carry a purse with a shoulder strap, so if there is no hook to hang it on in the stall, (this isn’t a pretty sight!) but I hang it around my neck. It works, and I do NOT want it on the floor in those places!

    Grocery carts are another topic for cleanliness. I do NOT like to see babies chewing on the carts! They can NOT help but get sick doing that! There are covers, etc., made for Moms and Dads to take with them to the store, and cover the parts of the cart that the babies can touch and chew on. (I really am not a germaphobic….just like to think that I am cautious about obvious situations!)

  2. C. Beth says:

    Whew, this post is for me! Thanks!

  3. Sandra says:

    You and me, Barb! 🙂

    Beth — I know how much harder it is when you have small children. At least with mine, I remember EVERYTHING went into their mouths! But, I also think that maybe small children have some immunities that the rest of us don’t.

  4. chrissy witt says:

    the exact reason, I really stopped carrying a purse!! There’s never a good place to put it! However I am now carrying it again and I find myself leaving it in the car and just taking what I need from it! It’s crazy when you think about it, isn’t it?

  5. Sandra says:

    Chrissy — All this talk about purses has inspired me to do a post about my mother’s “pocketbook” which was never very far from her side. But, even though I have sort of followed that tradition most of my life, I now find myself actually thinking before we walk out the door “Do I need my purse?”. Mama’s probably rolling over in her grave, but sometimes I actually LEAVE IT AT HOME!! 🙂

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