So yesterday at work an email went out (at 3:00) stating there was leftover food from a meeting in the cafeteria. I went and put 3 chicken tenders and a scoop of rice pilaf into a Tupperware container and made a joke to someone else coming to get food by welcoming them to the "I don't have to cook for my kids tonight line".
Next thing I know the receptionist (who must have heard me down the hall a bit) comes into the caf and says I can't take the food home because "we have 60 people in this building". I was just like "really?!" and she says "yes". So I close up my container and put it in the fridge because it isn't like I'm going to put it back at this point.
THEN... as this is happening my boss is in her boss' office. She comes out and has to talk to our group because the other day when there was extra food in the caf someone complained that my group was taking food home. In that case I had packed a small portion to bring home again.
I can't even believe I work for a company where people feel this way. I've been here a year and have noticed so many more petty things people complain about then I am used to at larger companies I have worked for in the past.
Just for reference I hadn't eaten a portion and also taken some home... if that even matters. Also my kids are 2 and 3 so it isn't like they eat a lot.
What do you guys think about the situation? I need some honest opinions.
kiwi / 656 posts
I think your work (or a few people there) are being absolutely ridiculous. Food is leftover and everywhere I’ve worked it’s first come, first seve, no one cares as long as it’s gone and no one takes any before the people for whom it was ordered are done. That said, it obviously bugs somebody with sway, so that is not the hill I’d die on at work. I’d stop packing it up to take home at all, or at least until the very end of the day. It’s just not worth it to me to rub anyone at work the wrong way, even if they are being insane.
apricot / 301 posts
I've never worked at a place that policed leftover meeting food like that. In every place I've worked, if they invited people to have the leftover food from meetings, they didn't care whether you ate some right then, packed some up for dinner, or ate some for lunch the next day, all of which I've done. The point was that they didn't want the food to be needlessly wasted and those who were at the meeting were done with it. If I were you, I'd avoid the food going forward, just to stay clear of the drama.
coconut / 8483 posts
Weird they would email saying come get left overs (presumably before they were tossed) and then complain!
My husband always brings me stuff from work lunches... lol
squash / 13208 posts
When we had leftover food I always took it home!
persimmon / 1365 posts
That’s so incredibly petty. The food is leftover so who cares how it gets eaten. I hate petty office drama like that.
nectarine / 2431 posts
So weird! Did they expect you to eat it there? It's not like you were taking a chafing dish home!
pomegranate / 3127 posts
Oh please! It's not like you took the whole tray. Of course people are going to take the food home, especially since it was almost the end of the day. In my office no one cares what you do with leftovers, and if there's a lot, people totally put them in their lunch for the next day, or take them home.
pear / 1992 posts
Ditto to the rest of the crowd. This is absolutely strange of them to care so much about whether you ate it then or took it home. Especially considering the time of day when most people have already eaten lunch.
It's annoying, but I'd probably refrain from partaking anymore just because it seems like there's no way to win there.
We have a ton of events with food at my workplace and I'm on the planning committee. When it's leftover - all we care about is that it gets eaten. Once the event is over, it's first come, first served and you do what you want with it.
pomelo / 5257 posts
That is totally ridiculous. Over THREE chicken tenders and some rice?! Please. When we've had leftovers at work things, both at my current job and previous job, people would literally say, "Hey, take some home, eat it for dinner!"
eggplant / 11716 posts
I work in a school, and no one would "confront" the person, like the secretary did to you, BUT there are some petty people who get angry about a situation that happens every week. On Fridays in our school, it's "pizza day" in the cafeteria and since I work in a very small school district, we actually have a local pizza place that delivers the pizza (so it's good pizza, not your typical caf pizza). Anyway, they order based on the number of students total, but there are always kids absent, usually 10-15 students a day. SO there are usually 2-3 whole pizzas left.
Well, the cafeteria workers tend to split this pizza among themselves and take it home to their families. There are teachers who grumble about this every week and say like, "They should be putting that down in the teacher's lounge so everyone can have some". But also, if a teacher goes down there DURING lunch and asks if there are leftovers, they are allowed to grab some. So it's kind of just needless grumpiness--like, you want some free pizza, go walk your body down there and ask for some. Otherwise, they will take it home.
But still weekly, "jokes" will be made when they see the caf workers taking the pizzas to their cars. Like "must be nice not to ever have to cook on a Friday after working all day", that kind of thing.
persimmon / 1233 posts
That's super weird and petty that people would decide to get upset about something so trivial. People have already eaten by 3 so it's not like anyone was going hungry. Sometimes I will wait like 15 mins to make sure people who want to eat right then have a chance before I pack up (a normal portion) to bring home, just in case.
wonderful pear / 26210 posts
I think the etiquette is that the food is for the people in the building. In 21 years, I've never once brought food that was leftover from a meeting back to my home. If I want it, I get a plate and eat it there, but to put it in a Tupperware to bring it home, I can see why this caused a commotion.
persimmon / 1005 posts
@RonjaL7: The part that makes it weird is they announced leftover food. Why would they do that if they didn’t expect people to take some?
My FIL is the only person I know who works in an office where they have food regularly and he is always bringing home like entire trays of deli sandwiches or a box full of cupcakes.
wonderful kiwi / 23653 posts
They are crazy. When stuff like that it's announced, it's first come first serve! I mean, there are always hoarders that take way more than they really should, but then again, it's free for all so there really aren't any rules to this. I'm sorry you got reprimanded for something so insignificant!
wonderful pomelo / 30692 posts
@looch: Totally agree. This is how it is in my company - if there's extra food, it IS first-come, first-serve, but not so you can just take it home and feed to your kids. That to me is weird.
We actually had something like this recently - we had hot dogs for the Red Sox opening day and some guy took a TON of them to bring home to his dog! Like, is the company going to feed my dog too? That kind of stuff definitely rubs people the wrong way. That food is for the employees, not for family members or pets.
watermelon / 14467 posts
When we have extra food, we are encouraged to take home perishable stuff that might go bad overnight or over the weekend, but anything like that (chicken tenders/rice) isn't supposed to go home. So I've packed some but left it in the fridge for lunch the next day. It's a little weird that you made that comment that you don't have to cook for your kids because of the free food. I can see how that rubs people the wrong way.
Moral of the story: if you're doing it, keep it on the DL. No one can say you are packing it to take it home to your kids if you don't mention it.
pear / 1648 posts
I agree with @looch: and @Adira: that bringing food home goes against the usual office culture BUT I'm also surprised your coworkers are so up in arms about it? I don't usually take things home but have admittedly taken a cupcake for my daughter after everyone else has had a chance at leftovers. Once it's at the point that it will otherwise be thrown away, I figure it's the better option...
apricot / 424 posts
I guess I can see how it might rub some people the wrong way. I guess I'm just more surprised that even if it did they thought to talk to either HR or management about it enough that they had my boss talk to our group.
I also did not take any more then a regular size portion for sure. It was just rather than eat it myself right there I brought it home so I would have something right away for my kids to eat (I typically cook after they go to bed and feed them the leftovers the next day or something really simple that doesn't involve cooking).
kiwi / 598 posts
@looch: @Adira: Same. In my entire working life at several companies people enjoy left-overs on site and I’ve never seen people pack food home.
pomelo / 5563 posts
Honestly, I would think it was kind of weird and rude if I saw somebody doing this. The food is for an afternoon snack for employees, not to take home and feed your family. Maybe if you waited until, like, 6pm when everybody had had a chance to get some and it was going to be thrown out it might have been ok but it doesn’t sound like that’s what you did? I definitely wouldn’t complain about it, though.
Maybe next time put it on a plate, take it back to your desk, and then put it in the Tupperware subtly?
pomelo / 5257 posts
@RonjaL7: In my office people often encourage me to pack up food to take it home for the kids. My son has an allergery so I usually don’t but lots of people do. The last thing my office wants is food stored for the next day because then someone needs to manage it.
pomelo / 5220 posts
@RonjaL7: This is petty with a capital P. I can't stand when people create fake drama......over some chicken tenders?! Your receptionist needs to find something better to do if her life is so boring she is getting up in arms about 3 chicken tenders and some rice.
nectarine / 2028 posts
I worked as a nanny, and they were strictly vegan and had a personal chef who would make very elaborate lunches each day. So elaborate that I couldn’t eat it all and felt bad wasting my portion. I would routinely bring a Tupperware to bring home what I hasn’t finished on my plate, and either I or my husband (boyfriend at the time) would eat it. However, that wasn’t an office, and it was just my leftovers/a plate I’d eaten off of.
On the other hand, I recently was at a work training at school with other teachers where we’d paid $10 a day to have lunch brought in so we could efficiently eat there and not have to leave for lunch. One of the women would wait until everyone had gone through the line and then load up a huge Tupperware for her husband and sons (definitely more than an individual portion). I found it a bit odd, but wouldn’t have said anything about it? I guess if you want your portion of leftovers to go to your kids that’s fine, but I’d be discrete about it if it bothers other people.
wonderful clementine / 24134 posts
At first I was going to say this is odd and kinda going against office etiquette. I was assuming it was something like cookies, fruit, juice, etc that could be left out or even saved for employees for the next day.
However, if its perishable food like chicken and rice, I assume thats perishable and it needs to either be eaten, taken or thrown out by the end of the day!
nectarine / 2461 posts
Omg, who gives a shit, it’s leftovers. This lady could get a fucking life.
All the broke girls in their 20s at my office do stuff like this ALL the time when there are leftovers from a board meeting etc—it wouldn’t even occur to anyone here to begrudge that.
grapefruit / 4278 posts
We throw out so much food at our office because people will just let things sit out on a table until long past when it should have been refrigerated. People take food home all the time and no one bats an eye.
hostess / wonderful persimmon / 25556 posts
That's so weird. We ask people to take the leftovers home so we don't have to throw any away. I wouldn't feel bad! Our running joke at our company is they feed us lunch and our families dinner...
cherry / 150 posts
That's so petty. There are so many times where around 5pm i go to the lunchroom and there is still leftover food just hanging out there. Who really wants to touch it after it's been sitting out at room temp for 5 hours?
@Corduroy: The same at my company. If we have a catered lunch, the admin assistant is always running around asking encouraging people to pack some food for dinner.
honeydew / 7463 posts
So f’ing weird. Who’s to say it’s not your portion and you just chose to eat it at home. Why do they give a shit where you eat it?
apricot / 370 posts
I would find it weird to see someone loading leftovers into a tupperware because food at work is a hot commodity around here, and as an employee, you're lucky to get some.
That said, culture is different wherever you go. It sounds like you're learning about the culture at your workplace, and in general, I'd be inclined to adapt what you're doing in this case.
grape / 92 posts
Honestly, I think it's a little odd to take food home. If the announcement was made at 3 and there was still stuff left at 5, I think it would be OK then. But I'd definitely allow everyone the chance to grab some more food before I packed some to take home.
Now I wouldn't say anything or make a big deal about it. But I personally wouldn't do it until the end of the day.
persimmon / 1483 posts
I wouldn’t take food home (I’m honestly not even sure why?) but I cannot imagine caring that someone else did nevermind caring enough to confront someone or report it to HR. That’s bonkers.
pomelo / 5257 posts
@RonjaL7: Yeah, if you're just taking the same amount you would otherwise, but are not eating it in the moment, I don't see what difference it makes. So if you'd stuffed those three chicken tenders in your mouth immediately rather than take them home it would have been OK? That just seems arbitrary. It's not like you packed dozens of chicken tenders in your pockets or something...
ETA: Also, I think it makes a difference that it's leftovers. If your work was providing lunch to everyone and you immediately packed some to take home before they all got some, that seems weird. But this is like bonus food, so eh. If someone brings in some dessert from home and there's not enough for everyone, I don't get pissed about it, even if someone takes two cookies instead of one. Whatever. I'm not entitled to cookies, it was just extra.
grapefruit / 4466 posts
no one would bat an eye at this where i work. It's kind of assumed people may take the leftover food home. The only thing that wouldn't fly is if there was say a line of people waiting to grab some leftovers and the person in the front took it all
nectarine / 2972 posts
LOL I think that this is ridiculous! You were basically just taking your portion home. I might feel differently if you were loading up a ton of food but all of that for three chicken strips!!
pear / 1728 posts
I really don't understand why people care about things like this. Why does it matter where the food is being eaten? It's leftover food that's going to be thrown away otherwise. I've never heard of an unwritten rule that leftover food needs to be eaten at work and not taken out of the building. Seems really petty to me.
persimmon / 1093 posts
If they send out an email saying there is leftover food and to take some then they have no say in who takes what and how much. That's crazy! At my job they beg people to take leftover food and will even provide takeout containers occasionally. They just don't want to waste it.
clementine / 873 posts
Agree with many others that it seems ridiculous. Leftovers are leftovers. Up for grabs, means up for grabs!
I will say that I know someone who occasionally grabs snacks from her department snack cabinet for her toddler to try at home. I think that's weird because that could still be used by an employee.
wonderful pear / 26210 posts
I do think that the bigger message here is understanding the workplace culture. It's not that it's wrong, it's just that some places operate differently.