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donation, discovery, discussion, dive in, and disposal June 8, 2009

Posted by That Guy in Free Food!, Guest Post.
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The following guest post was written by LR, a co-worker of That Guy’s at CorporateSpeak. He is in the same department as Wally, and is managed by the Two-Year-Old. He enjoys golf and air shows.

***

In the world of cube farms and large corporate offices, the availability of free food, while not frequent, is not altogether unusual.

Photo by Juan Pablo Olmo

Photo by Juan Pablo Olmo

Typically, free food is placed in a common area of the workplace — a conference table, or in the break room.

But before the free food is consumed by the busy bees at CorporateSpeak, it must first pass through several stages.

DONATION: The process begins when a generous and (probably) friendly co-worker deposits the free food in an area that is known as a public domain. The donator of free food often makes this deposit without much fanfare or ceremony.

DISCOVERY: The food will then sit for a period time until it is discovered by the other employees. This period of time could only last several seconds, or go on for several hours, depending on several factors — including, but not limited to: staff meetings, workload, and the aromatic nature of the food.

DISCUSSION: Once the food is discovered, the employees will generally react with uncertainty and a period of investigation will ensue.

“Is this free food? What is it? How long has this been here?” These are all common questions that the employees will ask.

After the employees determine that the food is in fact free and in the public domain, they will immediately begin to question whether or not the food is acceptable for human consumption. During this phase, employees will attempt to deduce the source of the free food. “Who brought this?” and/or “Where did this come from?” are common questions employees ask.

Employees feel the source of the free food is important information when deciding whether or not to actually consume the food. For example, if the food came from Kate, who was recently employed as a pastry chef at a swanky in-town restaurant, her food will generally be considered “safe” and acceptable for consumption. But, if the food was brought in by Milton, who’s known more for his lack of personal hygiene than his work performance, the free food will be treated as radioactive waste. Generally, the food will be disposed of in a way that makes it look like it was consumed, so Milton will think it was eaten. In reality, though, it was shoved into a trash can using some sort of improvised office utensil (pencil, broomstick, etc.).

DIVE IN: Once the employees learn that the food is free and safe for consumption, they will then stand around and wait for somebody to take the first serving. The reasons for this are two-fold:

  1. The absolute edibility of the food has not yet been established.
  2. Nobody wants to look like a pig.

Generally, the first serving of food is taken by a younger male employee, starving for anything other than Ramen noodles and willing to accept the risks of free office food.

If the first-taster does not become violently ill, 95 percent of the free food will be consumed by the other employees in 15 minutes. (The quantity of food and the number of employees does not affect this time.)

DISPOSAL: The final phase of free food is perhaps the saddest. The final five percent of the free food will remain in the common area for a period of days or weeks (despite the need for refrigeration or the appearance of fruit flies) until it is either discarded (in a manner similar to Milton’s food) or consumed (probably by Milton).

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Comments»

1. CathrynG - June 9, 2009

Does this process also apply to old magazines? Today someone (I don’t think it was Milton), left about 30-40 old magazines in our break room. So far, people are looking, but no diving in – no one wants to look too cheap to subscribe to Runner’s World.

2. That Guy - June 9, 2009

I suppose it could. When I worked in the video game industry we all used to pick from the “destroyed” magazines — the ones where the manager had to send the covers back to the publisher but we could keep the content.

3. the smartest guy gets the dumbest phone « corporatespeak - June 30, 2009

[…] Touch Pro (by Ray Dehler)I wasn’t doing anything; why shouldn’t I go down? LR and I went to the room. LR gave his name and the phone rep handed him a brand-new HTC Touch Pro. […]

4. lack of follow-up leads to lack of discipline leads to lack of accountability « corporatespeak - August 6, 2009

[…] there was no discipline. Because there was no discipline, there was no accountability. And now LR and I spend about two hours every day fixing, among other things, Rickie’s poorly-shot […]

5. fridge sign week: just take the whole slice next time « corporatespeak - October 20, 2009

[…] know, they’re not going to bother trying. That piece of pizza will sit there until Milton eats it or it gets thrown […]


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