They don't cock their leg and scent mark it, but there's still that nth degree of ownership that makes hackles rise and attitudes suddenly cop out of nowhere. An example:
Volunteering with Wonderful Lady at the local hospital has me doing all sorts of chores. Across the hall is our meeting room, where volunteer interviews are held. It is also where the Tender Loving Care department stores magazines to bring to patients, and carts to help volunteers to make bulky, awkward or heavy deliveries (vases of flowers and the like).
Come once a month, the volunteer newsletter gets printed and I must go retrieve a box of like 200-300 of these things from the printing room in the basement. Why me? Because Every. Volunteer. Ever. will stop Wonderful Lady in the halls to bring a problem or other task to her attention. Now granted these aren't really trivial whining or bitching fests, but it really makes it hard for her to get any work done.
So, I cross the hall, snag a cart (which coincidentally is marked "TLC Volunteer") and trot off downstairs. I snag the box of newsletters and trundle them back up to the office, deliver them, then take the cart back to the room where I got them from. Note: this takes me 5 minutes only if the elevator is slow.
And there is a hissing, irate-as-a-wet-cat, elderly volunteer from TLC, glowering at the empty space where the cart had been.
Doing my best not to roll my eyes, I return it to its rightful proper place and put everything back into it the way it had been.
But the volunteer isn't pleased.
TLC: You took the cart?!
Her puckered expression makes her look like she was weaned on a lemon and I swear if she had fur, her hackles would be raising like an angry dog's.
Me: Yes I did. I needed it for a delivery.
And I'm not sorry. So either climb on your broom and fly away or I'll hit you in the face with a cup of water and watch you melt!
TLC: What department do you work for?
You know... your boss? The one who keeps this place running? The one who busts her ass to follow up on every little problem that you and 300 other people come to her for?
She's still looking at me with the same level of friendship that a cobra gives a mouse.
Me: *sigh* She asked me to take a cart and bring up the [Newsletter] for all the volunteers.
TLC: Oh. *She lets out her breath and the attitude of "don't fucking touch my stuff" slowly fades.*
Dudette? What? You are a volunteer. Chill the fuck out! Yes it's annoying when you can't find things that you need for your work. But I was returning it exactly to where it had been after my chore. Don't get pissy at ME for following orders from our BOSS.
For heaven's sake, why are you so territorial? You don't own anything here unless you brought it from home, and the cart is not one of those things. It took me about five minutes. ZOMG you had to wait five minutes when your shift lasts 4 hours! What a terrible loss of time! Also: there are other carts in the room. If you absolutely had to have one, you would NOT have been left bereft.
May all your coworkers get over their possessiveness,