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What do you do when people want to order from non-chowish places?

I remember at one place where I worked, everybody LOVED Dominos. They always wanted to order the extravaganza (or whatever it's called) on thin crust because everybody was watching their carbs. Now, Dominos is really not my thing. However, not wanting to ruin the whole group dynamic, I just kept my mouth shut and ate my pizza. I never lied and said how wonderful it was. I just chose to keep quiet in order to be polite. Now what really killed me was that there was this very good pizza place (Nick's in Forest Hills for all you NYC people) which was closer than Dominos. However, everybody always wanted Dominos and thought of it as a real treat.

So what do you guys do in situations like these? Do you speak up if you're in the minority? Or do you just deal with it?

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  1. With a combination of a very strong personality and a reputation for knowing about restaurants etc for better or worse, I find that friends and coworkers often defer to my choices. This can be a double edged sword as if I steer people somewhere that is not to their taste, I must take responsibility.

    On the odd occasion where I don't manage to impose my evil will, I try to suck it up (literally) and not whinge too much, but this is hard for me as I view every meal as an opportunity for Chow-happiness and every bad meal as a wasted opp. So I speak up, sometimes get ignored and then try not to be too much of a dog in the manger. I am not going to be winning any awards for team playing though!

    4 Replies
    1. re: grayelf

      I'm just like you grayelf. I have a strong personality too. My co-workers know I'm a bit of a food snob. Miss Needle once you mentioned Dominos I winced. But, that place holds a special place in my heart and here's why.

      Back in 94, my ex and I ordered Dominos. It was our first take out pizza in the "big" city. Anyways, I was 19 and was only used to small town pizza. We got it, I tasted it and was completely repulsed. Bad dough, sauce..everything. So bad that ever since that moment any time I saw or heard any one talk about Dominos my first thoughts are yuck, how can that place survive. Anyways, fast forward to 2005, a co-worker was raving about how great their pizza was. I mentioned not liking it but, said that was over 10 years ago, maybe I should give it another chance. I know of places that have changed their product maybe that was the case here. She went on and on about how great it was. She's also somewhat of a "snob" in her own right. Dresses in very expensive clothing, jewerly, etc. I assumed she was that way with food too. Soooo, that weekend Hubby and I order from Domino's. It arrives. I put it on the counter of the kitchen, open the box and smell. The smell is a revolting disgusting smell that I can't describe but will never forget. I immediately close the lid and say, " I'm not eating this" Okay, I always try. Always. But, I knew, I remembered. Smells bring back strong memories...this one was reminding me of '94. Hubby was mad! I'd never seen him like this. "You haven't even tired it! How can you say you don't like it." I snap. "Don't even talk to me about food. You are one of the most pickiest eaters I know!" (He's better now but, back then....annoying!! LOL)

      And that's when I had this moment. Dominos help me to understand

      I realized I am a picky eater. Sure I'll eat a lot of things people wouldn't even think of putting in their mouths but, I like it cooked a certain way. I have these expectations. At that moment I realized I was a food snob. As grayelf put it, "I view every meal as an opportunity for Chow-happiness and every bad meal as a wasted opp" Those are words I live by. Thank you for that quote!

      So back to your original question. I wouldn't eat it. I would enjoy lunch with them with my own brought/bought lunch. Pizza is one of my top food snobbish things. I can't stand bad pizza. I wouldn't talk about how bad Dominos is while their ordering or eating. I would just enjoy my "better" lunch with them :)

      1. re: livetocook

        LTC, you may use the quote at will, my pleasure. I've been a picky eater all my life but the pickiness has evolved from only eating chicken tacos for an entire 3 month stint in Mexico when I was 8 to preferring not to ingest certain foods because of texture (green peppers, raw bananas, go figure) or flavour (too much cumin and I'm not happy) or both (liver and onions -- ack ack ack, and the SO loves it!). I will choke down certain foods when required (wedding dinners tend to be a bit of a trial) but will really try to avoid eating things that don't meet my admittedly stringent standards. I can totally see the brining your own lunch option...

      2. re: grayelf

        Oh and as a side note. I've never had pizza in New York (it's one of my "must do" before I die) but, I can't believe they'd want Dominos.......gawd....ack...why in NYC...why?? LOL

        1. re: grayelf

          Hear, hear. I hate being a weight on social proceedings, but I'm the loose cannon in the extended friendship group. You want me to eat bad food? You're gonna hear about it. Life's too short.

          Except, of course, when it's the in-laws, who aren't always very discerning. Mustn't rock that particular boat.

        2. Oh man. This past December we had a ceremony for my Mom's sudden death the month before. It technically wasn't a funeral, but it was a time for all of us to gather and share memories in her honor. My sister was in charge of the food. She went to a year of culinary school and loves to cook. So, from day 1 she was in charge of food. Talked to me about what I wanted her to serve (it was basically my call since I was closest to our mom.) We talked roast beef and apps, an easy dessert. The night before the occasion, she calls me up and tells me she ordered the food. What? Ordered? Turns out she chose Famous Dave's BBQ. Are you kidding me? People are there to honor someone's memory and you want them sucking on ribs? Someone died. It isn't a backyard party! This was very offensive to me and I was very disappointed that THIS is what she came up with, after a month of planning. I worried that I was being stuck up, but my boyfriend who is very easy to please agreed with me.
          So, long story short, instead of making her feel like garbage, I just let it go. I wound up being late to my Mother's memorial because I had to go to Costco to buy platters of fruit, veggies, cookies, and a deli tray. People gobbled it up, too. I think they were happy that their only option after a long day of work and LA traffic on a Friday night wasn't cold BBQ and corn on the cob.

          I know this isn't exactly what you're asking... but the basic idea is, I had to let it go. It wasn't about the food but about the people. If you're the only one who has a problem, then it's hard. You can suggest other things, but if people are shut off to the idea... you need to decide if the fuss is worth it. I'd bring in menus of other take out/delivery options and try to entice them for next time.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Azizeh Barjesteh

            Azizeh: siblings will always do weird things (mine do). perhaps yours was freaked out by the situation. I know it's funny that growing up inthe same house we can have such different ideas.

            You were right to let it go, and do what you did, but still find a way to let it go.

          2. I let it go. Personal preference isn't a matter of right or wrong. I am also thrilled whenever someone else is in charge as I tend to be the "cruise director" for our friends and family. I am so appreciative of not being in charge, not being the one who has to remember who likes what (and doesn't like what), etc.

            1. I feel your pain Miss Needle. Dominos sucks....

              I will always try to gently suggest alternatives, and try to put on a hard sell with mouthwatering descriptions of food. I also offer to organize, and if no one voices opinions, I can just do as I wish! Sometimes I will even resort to sneaky techniques like bringing in food from my preferred place, and encouraging others to try it in an attempt to woo them to my point of view. But if all my little ploys don't work, I suck it up. The occasional sucky meal is probably good for my semi-mythical diet anyhow.

              3 Replies
              1. re: moh

                I'll usually pull the "diet" out of the bag as well. I consider bad food to be wasted calories- especially whan they are fatty and not good.

                Now, I'll happily enjoy that beautiful beurre blanc, that rich chocolate torte, but I woun't touch a twinkie with a 10 foot pole- I'm on a diet, you know. :p

                1. re: caviar_and_chitlins

                  C and C, I hear you loud and clear! If I'm going to ingest fatty calories, it's going to be Callebaut chocolate, not convenience store candy bar. I not only want it to taste good but to have quality ingredients. Just another way of thinking of the body as a temple, perhaps? :-)

                  1. re: caviar_and_chitlins

                    Haha! I'm the same way. Mind you I really DO watch what I eat, a lot. I'd be 300 pounds if I let things get out of hand. If I'm gonna be bad (cheat days are usually Saturday) it's gotta be good.

                2. when co-workers want to order from the likes of Chipotle, or other places with food I consider boardering on inedible, or want to go to lunch at Cheesecake Factory, Fridays, etc. I just go with the flow, and order something I can possibly stomach without making myself ill. Its just on occasional sacrifice to not stick out as a food snob, or trouble maker.

                  1. The only time I will protest when situations similar to the above occur is when the food is a type of cuisine I just really don't like. An example would be if they wanted to order Long John Silvers or something. Most of the time I go with what the majority wants, select a menu item I can eat, and be thankfull my cooworkers enjoy eating lunch and conversing with me. As for pizza, there really isn't any type I find so appalling as to be inedible.

                    1. Just go with the flow. It;'s onlyone meal.

                      At jfood's poker game the chooses are really bad in jfood's opinion. The two deliveries, Chinese and Pizza, are not very good, but that's not the purpose for the night. This week jfood asked if he could bring some home made pigs in the blamket that were in the freezer.

                      Giant sucking sound when put on the table. End of night, "Anyone want to take home some pizza? There's plenty left."

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: jfood

                        LOLOL! I love that "giant sucking sound". Maybe next Poker night you'll be asked to bring more of the good stuff! Pigs in a blanket are perfect for people with unadventurous taste buds, yet they're very tasty! Maybe you'll start the others thinking of other foods than the same old, same old.

                      2. With friends I'll eat anything and enjoy it.

                        1. I second Sam's post !! That is the point.

                          I feel this way about Greco pizza, but hey, not too many places can mess up a green salad which i'd be more than happy to have. This also happened to me once when someone bought pizza for everyone at work at my least favorite place in the area, plus i was on a diet. If i was going to cheat, it'd better be good ! I thanked them, ate a little of the topping, explained that i really didn't want to break my diet, and no one was offended.

                          Heck, I don't eat meat, but if everyone else had a hankering for a meal that served nothing but, i'd go happily eat bread or a green salad.

                          Actually, i have no problem really with chains or cheap eats being maybe a bit less than wow-ing. What I don't like, is going to a higher end place and throwing down some big bucks for something i could just as easily cook at home, and in some cases, much better. That's usually when i make a comment.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: im_nomad

                            I avoid those kind of situations as much as possible, but just a week ago a vendor came for a lunch meeting with me and a co-worker. The co-worker suggested Damon's, which made me wince. There just aren't that many good places in the area where I work so I went along without complaining.

                            So we went, I ordered a chicken caesar, and it was TERRIBLE. I mean just this side of inedible. Buried in awful, gloppy dressing with fake "grilled" chicken strips (the kind that look like the grill marks were done with a Sharpie) that weren't even warmed up. I choked down 2/3 of it to be polite while doing a lot of talking about the kinds of expectations and needs our business has. Usually I try to listen more than talk at those kinds of functions, but not this time.

                          2. I don't speak up, I just don't eat it. Life's too short (and I have a tiny appetite) so I try not to put inedible things or things I don't like into my mouth. Our office orders in food every Friday from local places - about half of them are acceptable and half are just not good. I don't complain - I swing by the conference room and see what's there, and if I don't like the restaurant, I just go out and get my own lunch, and no one notices or cares (although I have a reputation for being a food snob among my friends, I don't get into it too much at work). I also send emails to the person who orders the food with praise and subtle hints like, "Where did you order the Thai food from? That was GREAT and I want to go there myself soon!" I always get a nice reply from her when I do that so I think she doesn't get a lot of feedback.

                            1. I'd say "have you tried Nick's? I like it SOOO much better, let's order from there instead". But that's just me. If, after that, they insisted on ordering from Domino's I'd just eat my pizza as you did.

                              5 Replies
                              1. re: hsk

                                Unfortunately, my Nicks suggestion was put aside as they were all really big on Dominos. And, Lizard, I don't think these people were the type that couldn't care less whether their food was coming from a big corporation or a small local business. All they had on their mind was carbs.

                                It's also interesting to hear the responses from people with stronger personalities. I used to date this guy who had a very strong personality and it would seem like we would always end up going to where he wanted to go -- worked for a while. Then I felt like I ended up always getting the short end of the stick as there was not that much reciprocation and became the most stubborn person and got really argumentative as to where to go. We would get into fights over where to go for dinner. I'm generally easy going, but am not passive. So the dinner thing eventually ended up backfiring on the guy with the strong personality.

                                1. re: Miss Needle

                                  That sux. The older I get, the more I keep my strong personality under wraps. I used to be really bad in my twenties.

                                  Most of the time I just keep my mouth shut at work. If you want to know what I think, I'll tell you but, I usually let the masses chat it up and only offer my opinion if a feel I can't let something go by.

                                  1. re: livetocook

                                    Luckily I married a terrific guy who's very easy going. We both want to make each other happy so we compromise a lot. I don't think I've ever eaten as much meat in my life as I do now and he eats a lot more Indian and Korean food than he would probably care for (though he always says whatever meal he shares with me is wonderful). It's a win-win situation.

                                    1. re: Miss Needle

                                      Ahh Miss Needle, luck has nothing to do with it! Key phrase: "we both want to make each other happy" ie. you both are working at this relationship.

                                      Imagine the exact same yet opposite situation as another thread (I'm sure we've seen variants on this already):

                                      "He makes me eat more meat than I ever have in my life, and he complains we eat a lot more Indian and Korean food than he cares for."

                                      Very nice. I am now making this mental leap:

                                      "I don't think I have ever eaten so much Domino's in my life, and my co-workers eat a lot more interesting food than they probably care for".

                                      Yep. Relationships are work! Especially if we want them to work. So I guess I'll have to deal with the Domino's if all my sneaky Chow ploys fail me.

                                      1. re: moh

                                        So true. All relationships due indeed require work and compromise, whether it's a friendship, romance or workplace thing. It makes for a much happier environment all around. Unless you've got a relationship where one's very dominant and another is very submissive. Unfortunately, for my ex (and for me), I wasn't a submissive gal.

                              2. I suppose I've been fairly lucky. Although I haven't always had the fortune to have friends with food love (although usually I do), I've never had to risk Dominos because no one in my cohort would want to support Dominos, courtesy of certain political positions. (And those who might not agree with my protest, as my friends they still understand how politics drive consumer choices and respect that.)

                                That said, when deciding on a place, if there is such a joyous alternative as Nick's, I might suggest it. Might come up with a 'support local business angle' (in workplaces, that can be good, unless you're part of a TNC or MNC).

                                Otherwise? Suck it up. Ask if there's a salad option. If everyone else is super happy for that specific place (as opposed to say pizza as a meal) I'll go along. It's one meal, and yes, it might be my last one if I'm hit by a bus, but at least I'll go out still friendly with those around me.

                                1. I am a "go with the flow" type of gal, even if I'm not very please with the choice. I'll go ahead and eat a bit of whatever, even if it is covered in stuff I don't care for, just for the sake of the group.

                                  One time I was at a church meeting, where dinner was provided, and the Pastor brought Po-Boys that had this awful looking relish on them. It was orange, and really looked nasty, to me anyway. The po-boys were cut into thirds (about 2-3 inches long.) So I took one, gingerly bit into it and loved the relish. Found out it is a special chow chow that this place makes. I now go and buy jars of the stuff.

                                  2 Replies
                                  1. re: danhole

                                    Gosh, I think I must be a horrible person... but I use political reasons to not only opt out of eating but also to encourage others to rething their choices: At one point -- and it may not even be true anymore -- Domino's was reknowned for donating to pro-life organizations. Thankfully, my friends (and coworkers) are all the sort for whom that matters -- so we get to order from the independent places more often. I also cite the nutritional information of chains when I can -- Quizno's, for example, is expert at making their "healthy" food loaded with fat and calories. I guess what I'm saying is I try to dissuade my fellow diners with information, and then I go from there.

                                    1. re: ctscorp

                                      You aren't a horrible person! If I am in a small group I might interject my opinion, or state nutritional info, but in a larger group I just shut up. I'm not a very confrontational person ;-). Not that I'm saying you are. I am eccentric enough, as is, and I really don't need anymore odd looks coming my way. LOL!

                                  2. I would let it go and just go with the flow.

                                    Not every meal has to be "Chowhound-worthy". Plus, one person's great pizza is another person's "icky pie".

                                    1. Sometimes you just have to manage your expectations. I was at a conference in Savannah with some coworkers and a client. The client's heart was set on going to the Paula Dean Lady & Sons. I can't stand Paula Dean, and I hate tourists traps, but I figured I'd just make the best of it and hope for better fare the next night. The rest of the group hated their meals, but I pulled the "diet" routine and just ordered veggies- and was pleasantly surprised. I'm not saying I'd go back, but I've had worse meals.

                                      1. This happened to me at my first job after college. I was 21 or 22, and the lowest man on the proverbial totem pole, and amazed that nearly ALL my superiors were addicted to crappy chains and fast food. It didn't help that I was in a brand new city, where I knew no one. I sucked it up for a while on group lunch days, but would spend my free time in the evenings looking for interesting ethnic and independent restos. Then I'd bring in leftovers for lunch, or get carry out and eat in the office lunchroom and people would ask, what's that, and then can I have a bite, and then, next time you're going there bring me back one of those thingys too. And little by little I became the concierge/cruise director of the office and I got to be in charge of planning lunch meetings and group food! And former Olive Garden fans started patronizing the good little mom-n-pops! Sorry to ramble, but this thread brought back fond memories of my little chow self developing.

                                        In the end though, the joke's on me, because my husband is anti-chow and if he hasn't changed in three years, he never will.

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: yamalam

                                          Great story -- well, except the part about your anti-chow husband.

                                        2. I am no longer in the business of recommending restos to others. Too many whinners saying "That's not the Chinese food (or pizza or whatever) I am used to. Waaaah!!!"

                                          I save my stomach for when I go out for the food I want.

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: PeterL

                                            Yeah, I am in the same situation at work. My coworkers are not as open minded as some's, they look like they will never get out of their comfort zone; so I stopped trying. I am tired of people complaining about how the pho is not like the one they had been eating in their 99 white strip mall town, or seeing them pick half of their food so that they don't eat the "weird ethnic" stuff. I don't want to get in a debate when they say "Thai Express is opening up downstairs, so we don't have to walk to Bangkok ". The former is a chain sysco type of place, the latter is pure chow heaven owned by a great cooking Thai mama and is just 200 meters away. I would walk three miles to eat at the latter, but thet wouldn't understand. It is ok.

                                            I now prefer to go out for coffee with my coworkers and enjoy my "scary" lunches on my own so that I don't have to hear them wax poetic about Tim Hortons, Subway or other corporate canned food. Works for both parties, and I get to maintain my relationships with them.

                                          2. If it's a group decision, I would probably make my suggestion, but if I got voted down, I'd go with the flow. But each person in our office gets to choose the kind of birthday cake they want each year, and I'm definitely known as a cake snob (and proud of it)!!
                                            But when we finally got to my birthday (it's in November) they weren't complaining when they were sharing it with me... :-)

                                            1. Condensing a much longer post - I'll try to suggest alternatives, but once the decision is made, I shut up and deal. Especially in a work solution, anything else will probably come back to bite you later. I'd either suffer (and I do mean suffer - the stuff is vile) through the occasional Domino's pizza or go get my own sandwich and join the group. (Getting your own pizza might be a bit extreme. lol) Anyone rude enough to make a crack would be told what I think of Domino's pizza in between bites of my sandwich. With a smile on my face of course and a mention that otherwise, of course, I just lo-o-ve eating with people who make cracks about my food.. ;)

                                              1. I, too, have strong opinions on food; however, people's feelings are more important than any meal. The solution is that you talk to your friends ahead of time and casually bring up the discussion that you heard about this great pizza place you'd like to try ... mention this to 3 or 4 people (you are priming the pump), then one night - YOUR night - YOU bring up the subject of pizza - now it's YOUR call ... and YOU have the control. Some may dissent and go to Dominos; let them! But you've thought ahead and have a menu to get them thinking ... maybe artichoke hearts and feta is better than any extravaganza pepperoni pizza with grated dead mozzarela cheese! Good luck my dear, I know you can save them ...

                                                1. situations like those highlight the great utility of Tabasco sauce...

                                                  1. I used to work at a place where everyone loved Olive Garden--thought it had the best Italian food in town. I always figured, it's just one meal, and no, even though it isn't where I'd choose to spend my time, my money, or my calories, it wasn't worth making waves. And really, the food isn't that bad, it's just incredibly undistinguished. I'm not above doing the Scarlett O'Hara trick if I know I'll be faced with truly inedible food: I spoil my appetite by eating a real meal beforehand.

                                                    If, however, you want to try to enlighten your co-workers, you could use the strategy suggested by other posters: there's this great place I' think we should try. But be prepared for them to not like it, despite your best efforts, in which case you'll be stuck keeping your mouth shut about food for a very long time.

                                                    1 Reply
                                                    1. re: Erika L

                                                      I should have added, I use the Scarlett O'Hara trick and then play with the food that's served, taking just a few (small) bites and mentioning that I ate a big breakfast, wow is this filling, etc. This way, I can avoid looking like I'm "judging" others, or that I think I'm "better" than they are or that I "disapprove" of their food tastes, etc.

                                                    2. I think something we need to always remember is that it's is a two-way street. It's always worth your time and effort to try to change the meal plans but you also have to realize when you are backing a losing horse and just suck it up and go with the flow. You can't force your views on others, it's not fair or particularly nice.

                                                      A small but related aside, I spent a lot of time and effort organizing our company's X-mas party last year (my first time) and was very proud of the menu and venue. Everybody 'loved' the food but ultimately, it wasn't really important to them; the deal breaker was that the restaurant couldn't serve the alcohol fast enough. It was an open bar (as always) the the whole point was to drink as much as possible as quickly as possible. (and our beloved leader was leading the pack and trying to get everyone to do shots with him). Lesson learned. It simply wasn't the time or the place for my preferences.

                                                      2 Replies
                                                      1. re: sebetti

                                                        I do hope that nobody was driving afterwards! Though idiotic as that is, I'd otherwise prefer that to the kind of places where one dare not have a glass of wine or beer with a nice meal.

                                                        And I'm sure people did love your menu and venue, if not, they would have told you so.

                                                        (...Especially after so much booze...)

                                                        1. re: lagatta

                                                          don't worry, hotel rooms were reserved and available...at least I was clued in about that in advance. ;-)

                                                          That party was like going back in time; I didn't think companies did that kind of stuff anymore.

                                                      2. That's when my little travel bottle of Melinda's XXX comes out!

                                                        1. Great question! For friends, I would swallow soap. For co-workers... eh... unless they are also friends, I have to admit I am not as gracious as you are. I find a way to beg out. Miss N, did the whole office partake in the Dominos dinners? It's always easier if there are other holdouts.

                                                          In my group, at work, there is one person, in particular, who always insists on ordering dinner, together, when we stay late to work on a project (though we all have separate Seamless web accounts). Usually it's really bad Chinese, Sushi or Indian, which I find particularly objectionable since these are cuisines I adore when they are done well. On these occasions, I eat a Luna bar or trial mix out of my desk and say 'ah, sorry -- just ate'.

                                                          2 Replies
                                                          1. re: cimui

                                                            I worked in a small office -- about 10 people, and EVERYBODY LOVED Dominos with the exception of me. So, yes, we all had it about once a week. Even though they were coworkers as opposed to friends, I thought it would be in the best interest of smooth office dynamics to just go with the flow. I spent more time with these people than I do with my friends or family. So it was important to me to keep the atmosphere a friendly one.

                                                            I guess everybody has their own way of handling things. For me, I'm actually not a fan of things like Luna Bars or trail mixes or rice cakes, etc. I'm generally not a fan of cold food unless it's things like good cheese or a very well made sandwiches. Unfortunately, those are things I just can't pull out of a desk.

                                                            1. re: Miss Needle

                                                              well... if you'd also had a small fridge in your desk... ;)

                                                              i aspire to be as diplomatic as you! it is rather bratty to do what i do, i admit. i guess i'm less deterred from being a brat by the fact that we have transient teams, a much larger general pool of co-workers with whom to interact, and generally a few fellow mutineers.