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office worker vents: what would you do...?

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 
I work in an office where, if you can imagine this silliness, part of the 'office culture' is when one person orders food, it becomes a group event where everyone is to be asked 'Care to order with us?' otherwise it becomes an office felony if you dont - people's feelings get hurt, and even arguments and tensions arise.

Ive always had a preference to order food alone .... and this makes me the odd person out. I hate dealing with other people's specs - "Egg whites only" "Bacon extra rare" and then on top of those hassles, to have to deal with their monies and giving everyone exact change! it's enough to make you wish you never opened your mouth to begin with ........ oh, and these co workers just give enough to cover their food costs, never adding anything for the delivery person (or me) for that matter

I've been here a year and there's only one person newer than me. all in all we have thousands of employees worldwide but in our little group there's only 7 of us and this weird office custom is the only thing about these people that irks me.

Now this is good for a groan... are you ready?? after i order food alone i sneak into empty conference rooms to eat my food... what utter complete asinine unnecessary nonsense. I can never eat at my desk which is something i've done for years until now

now would you speak up about this? if yes what would you say? these are extremely mature people dont get me wrong - but this one very small but unflinching immature streak has really GOT to go! ..... i don't know where it comes from and i'm completely puzzled as to why it's such a 'serious' issue here...... it's JUST FOOD! oh, and if someone wants to start WWIII here, all they have to do is order with just 1 or 2 co-workers and leave the others out. Gives new meaning to the word 'immature' don't you think?
post #2 of 15
Hubby & I've been thru that at work when our shift used to order pizza or have potlucks. We never went to them because we didn't care to hang out with the people we worked with while eating. A lot of them used to say how anti-social (or other immature comments) we were, and would always ask why we didn't go. After a while, it got really old. In fact, at lunch time, we used to eat in an empty conference room, too; even on our breaks we'd go hang out in one. We always got asked why we never went into the breakroom. So, I also don't understand why it's such a big deal to others ....
post #3 of 15
Oh boy, that sounds exactly like the last place I used to work. You could not go out to lunch (or order in) with just one or two other people, EVERYONE had to be invited. It didn't matter that those one or two people were the only people you considered your friends.

I know that where I worked, jealousy and popularity contests (among 20-something graduate students, at that) were the main reason everyone had to eat together. If you asked Jane out, Mary would feel that she was less popular (or had less control of everyone else) and would make your life living hell.

I never spoke out against it. For the last few weeks I worked there, I ate almost every day with the same one or two people in the downstairs cafeteria. If they weren't around for lunch, I'd eat by myself. Some comments were made by the others, but I just ignored it. But as I said, I knew I was leaving and didn't particularly care what the others thought of me.
post #4 of 15
All I can suggest is to start bringing your lunch with you. That advoids the problem of having to order with everyone and saves a lot of money. I brown bag (it is actually a blue bag) 4 out of 5 days per week.
post #5 of 15
I had the same problem at the last place I worked. It was a small company, only 12 employees, and it was a Capital Crime not to ask everyone in the office if they wanted something. Same problems with the special orders, exact change expected, etc.

I ended up eating lunch after everyone else had already eaten. (There were no conference rooms there.) That way, I could go and get what I wanted without all the hassles and lugging 5 more meals and drinks back, and got some good down-time away from the co-workers.

Why do some places feel that the small breaks that you get during the work day must be spent with the same people you are forced to work with the other 8 or 9 hours a day?
post #6 of 15
The question I have is why some places expect you to spend your time outside of work with the same people you just spent 8 or 9 hours with at woprk. I have made several friends at work, but as a rule my friends are from outside the research field. At my last lab ("Hell"), the boss and several of the students would go out for drinks (more like going out to get drunk) after work. I would refuse to go, and that caused problems and tension. I didn't feel like explaining that 1) I really didn't like these people and wanted to spend as little time as possible with them, and 2) going out drinking to get drunk is not my idea of fun, and hasn't been since I was a junior in college.
post #7 of 15
but the question I have is why in the world do you care so much what these people think of what you are doing? Think about it: they are not your friends (if they were, the ordering thing wouldn't bug you), and not your family. They don't even know you well (or they would know you prefer to order alone). WHY is it so vital that they approve of the way you order lunch?
I would order my own damn lunch, eat it at my desk, and if anyone whined about it, I would ask him (politely, if possible) to mind his own flipping business.
My office has a similar culture, and I have shunned it for the 2 years I've worked there. I get talked about, but I figure, they probably say other stuff about me too, and I'm not going to worry about what petty things go on in their tiny little minds.
Worrying about what other people think (because that's what this comes down to) is one of the most detrimental things you can do. It is ingrained in us from the time we are born that we must "be nice". "Being nice" gets more women stalked, raped, kidnapped, and victimized in general than just about anything else.
I don't have a problem with being polite. I have manners just like a lady ought , the difference comes when I don't do something that makes me happy, in order to make someone ELSE happy. And more often than not, it is someone I don't know, and may never see again.
Sorry this is so long, it is a sore point with me. Forgive....
post #8 of 15

I agree that in an ideal world, you should not care about what others think of you. Unfortunately, in my situation, my line of work requires that I interact with other people in the lab. Research cannot be done in a vacuum. I can't ignore the culture in the lab. My project does depend on what others do. And when there is tension and backstabbing, even if it has nothing to do with you, it affects your project. Because of situations like C1atsite described, I had lab members actively work against me. Also, my previous boss was a bad manager and did nothing to resolve the problems. So, I took it into my own hands-I found another job.
post #9 of 15
Bubbles does have a good point ...... why should you care what they think on how you order your food? If they don't like the way you order your food, then they shouldn't be asking if they can't handle it in an adult manner. I can also see okeefecl's point on how it could affect working with others ...
*I can't think right now...... too tired, and my brain is shutting off*
post #10 of 15
I guess that I am one of the lucky ones who doesn't have a problem when ordering in food. I work at a big company, but I am contracted through another company and the people who work in the mailroom are contracted through that same company. If any of us orders in, we only ask each other. (There are only 5 of us). We are all pretty good about giving enough money to cover tax and tip.

I think people who expect you to ask them if they want anything everytime you order in is selfish.
post #11 of 15
This happens alot here too although. Myself, I run errands on my lunch or go out occasionally. In the beginning, when I was asked "where are you going?" I would answer and by the time I left, I usually had a list and 2-3 different drive throughs to visit. Now, I compensate. I no longer run around for everone's lunches or collect everyone's orders. I just sneak off to Tim Hortons (are these all over the world???) on occasion, bring back a box of 65 Tim Bits and place them there for everyone to share. It's a small gesture on my part and so far, everyone really appreciates it because it's not expected. All situations are different, I guess it depends on what kind of co-workers you have and your relationship with them.

But yeah, different orders, different amounts of $$$. It does get frustrating and can be confusing. Kind of puts a damper on your lunch hour. Hiding out from them? I'm not sure if I'd go to that extent. When you hide, that's when it becomes obvious and they will notice what you're doing. I'd just remain at my desk, put up with their complaints in the beginning (there will be some) and then it will eventually die down.

post #12 of 15
Thread Starter 
I'm tempted to follow Bubbles' advice. It would be nice to sit there bold-as-day eating then have someone ask "So you're ordering alone from now on?" And I'd say "YES ..... it's just food and this is NOT going to become a discussion." ,adding a little "oomph" to the NOT if the question is asked in a snide way

Y'know it dawned on me that a scarey amount of people (more than you'd estimate) have inadequate personal lives outside the office.
post #13 of 15
You could always try and see what happens If they get mad, that is their loss, not yours, and that will show their maturity level .....
And, about people not having lives outside of work: I totally agree with you! You'd be surprised at my hubby's work how many of them hang out together outside of work (bars and parties). He talks about this couple who is dating ( I know them both), and they have nothing really in commong, except for working. He never spends time with her outside of work ....... So, the only time they see each other is at work, and when they are at work, they fight!
post #14 of 15
What I would do, is ask them all if they can take turns ordering and picking up everyone's lunches, that way...they can't be upset with you, (because working with others is hard enough without having them all mad at you, even if it is over something stupid, and shouldn't matter) and also, this way, you may have the hassel of getting everyones lunch, etc...but it would only be once in awhile, when it is your turn,(since there are 7 of you) and the rest of the time, you can sit back, relax and let someone else bring YOUR lunch to you!!!

If they don't want to take turns, then phooey on them...order your own!
post #15 of 15
At work the office is next door to a coffee shop and every morning one of the techs goes over and gets a coffee. She always asks everyone if they want something while she's over which I think is polite but there's also only 5 people at the office early in the morning when she goes and that's including herself. Generally only one other person will want something but it's a nice gesture to ask.

Although if there were more people there and they all wanted something different and complicated it would get annoying but seeing how it's a small place I don't think it's a big deal.
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