Nine Reasons Not To Poison The Milk

Note: This blog post was inspired by a VERY silly conversation between myself and Alex Jordan. Obviously poisoning milk that's in a communal space is bad because it could hurt people. This is just an absurd expoundment on the aforementioned conversation.

So it finally happened to you. It's okay - it's happened to all of us before. We've all gone through the ordeal of putting a jug of milk in a communal refrigerator at your local hackerspace and marked it "NOT COMMUNAL", only to have someone pour themselves a glass as an accompaniment for their orgasmically-delicious pumpkin pie. You were hoping that your Sharpie'd message would act as an adequate deterrent - that even if it WERE Pi Day, that your fellow programmers and hackers would have the decency to respect your private dairy libations.

You probably felt a bit of shock at the betrayal. It's natural. It's also natural to contemplate different deterrent methods to use in the future. Your friend Andrew might have suggested to draw a skull and crossbones on future milk jugs, to give people pause and reconsider their selfish milktheft. Maybe you went a bit further, and thought "what if I put arsenic in the milk?"

It's not hard to empathize with that line of thinking. We all want to safeguard our creamy white lactose goodness. But poisoning the milk is - how to put it - a bit extreme. It's not just the risk of incarceration that should dissuade you from taking this course of action. I've put together a list of nine worthwhile reasons not to poison your milk.

1: Risk To Others

Obviously, putting poison milk in a hackerspace fridge runs the risk of someone, perhaps a pie-crazed maniac, taking the milk and drinking it. In that circumstance, the probability that they, or any other milk thief, could be seriously injured or even die, is very close to 100%. Arsenic is a hell of a poison. Sure, someone stole your milk - but is killing a fellow human being really worth it?

2: Risk Of Hurting Yourself

It's not just milk thieves who are at risk: YOU could hurt yourself in the process! Whether it's an accident while adding the poison to the milk, or if you're forgetful like me, drinking the poisoned cowjuice by mistake, you could get hurt or even die. Everyone wants to keep their milk safe - but you have to keep yourself safe, too.

3: Loss Of Social Standing

Let's walk through a scenario.

  • You put your toxic milk in the communal fridge;
  • someone (or multiple people) drink it;
  • they get sick or die.

Obviously people are going to find out that you put arsenic in your milk. When they do, how are they going to judge you? I'm willing to bet that a lot of people are going to stop trusting you, that they'll spread rumours about you, and that your once pristine reputation will be tarnished. Is losing all that social capital really worth a milky deathtrap?

4: Empowering Poison Vendors

If you want to buy arsenic to put in milk, you're going to have to get it from somewhere. The chances that you'd be able to obtain arsenic legally are pretty low, so the person you buy it from is most likely going to be a shady character. Maybe they sell toxins to people who intend to use them as the means of assassination. I don't want to give poison sellers my business and neither should you.

5: Could Reduce The Number Of Non-Men In Tech

If your hackerspace is anything like the Recurse Center, it understands the value of combatting tech's reputation (and often reality) as a male-dominated ecosystem. If you introduce poison milk into a communal food area, there's always the chance that a person, or persons, who aren't men could be the victim of your lethal lactose. In addition to the tragedy that would result from a fellow human being getting sick or dying, if that person is a woman (especially a trans woman) or is nonbinary, you're helping to tip the scales back in favour of the bros.

6: Losing Access To Community Resources

Your local hackerspace is probably awesome. You go there as often as you can and you learn and create and interact with some of the best people and code of your entire life. You might not want to ever leave that awesome community. Unfortunately, if you kill someone as a result of toxifying your dairy beverage, you're guaranteed to be kicked out - probably blacklisted and ostracized too. I know you don't want that; why would you sacrifice a community and all the resources it has to offer just to protect your milk?

7: Disruption To The Communal Space

If anyone falls ill as a result of your milk poisoning, it will likely lead to emergency medical personnel coming into the space, the police being called, investigations being held, possibly TV crews, press about the incident, and so on and so forth. That's going to cause a serious disruption to the normal operation of that community. People will have a harder time using the communal space for its intended purpose, socializing, working on projects together, etc. That's a big deal. Don't be that person - the one who ruins everyone's ability to get work done because they put arsenic in their drink.

8: Increased Healthcare Costs

If anyone gets sick from that creamy poison cowjuice, that's going to lead to serious medical bills, and we all know how difficult healthcare can be in America. Your victims could end up paying thousands upon thousands of dollars, and if they don't have insurance - they're screwed. That's a big burden to put on them. And futhermore, if they sue you for your grosslt negligent and recklessly endangering actions, a suit which they're very likely to pursue and also win, you could be liable for damages. It cost you $3.00 for milk and probably less than $200 to obtain arsenic - do you really want to have to pay thousands more?

9: Waste Of Time And Money

As a related point to the last reason - to poison milk, first you need milk. That's going to cost you somewhere between $2-$3 for a half gallon, maybe more if you get some kind of ritzy organic stuff. If you destroy the use value of the milk via the addition of arsenic, that's a few bucks that you've essentially thrown away - not to mention the time and money it took to obtain the arsenic. Woud it really be worth the hassl4e? Don't you have anything better to do?

In Conclusion

No matter how much you want to keep your milk safe from pesky dairy thieves, be smart. Don't subject yourself to all sorts of terrible consequences. I hope that after reading this, you'll say to yourself "wow, she's right - I'd better not poison the milk."