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Getting food for others at work

I work in a large retail store, and whenever I go to lunch someone always asks where you're going and bring them something. Ok, I pretty much bring my lunch now, but a thread from the Texas baord got me to rant. Anyway, when I went out I liked to eat in my car and listen to the radio, a small oasis from the insanity. If i brought others food I felt compelled to rush as I didn't want to bring cold food. Then there were people who wanted to give you a credit card for a five dollar meal. Even worse was when you got back with food you had bought for someone else and it's always, "Why didn't you tell me you were going out." My standard response was,"When did you EVER tell me you were going out and offer to bring me something, or I have to ask everyone?" It finally got to where I'd just lie and say I was going home,(as I lived nearby,) for leftover pizza or a sandwich. As I said I now bring my own, it's healthier and cheaper.

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  1. Unless I'm in the mood to bring something back for others, I don't generally say specifically where I'm going, so if they asked, I'll say, "I don't know where I'm going yet or whether I'm actually eating." If they say, "can you bring me something back from ___?" I would say something like, "I'm probably not going that direction." Most of the time this isn't an issue; at my last job, my boss even included it in my review as a "team player" thing because he knew I would ask people if they wanted me to bring something back and felt that it started others being for helpful towards each other.

    It is a responsibility though. Did you give them the right change? Did you get the right condiments? Do they want mustard/pickles? What dressing? Was Pepsi okay since they didn't have Coke?

    11 Replies
    1. re: boltnut55

      Oh, we have unwritten rules about that. If you don't specify something ("no tomatoes") you get it bog-standard, and if you don't like it, next time get up and go yourself.

      1. re: boltnut55

        OMG L..O..L

        I just had a meltdown a while ago about this very thing. My solution to this, since I am the only one who will venture out into the world to pick lunch up. I am steadfast on these rules, by the way, and I tell everyone who piggybacks on my order:

        Rule number one:
        I do not feel that I have to pay for your food. If you think that I do, then someone who ordered will simply not get their food. I will guarantee, however, that I will get MY food.

        Rule number two:
        I do not feel that I should pay for the TAX on your food. Mommy and Daddy have probably bought you everything, and you are not aware that goods are taxed. If you forgot to include the tax in your amount paid, see rule number one.

        Rule number three:
        Do not ask me how much you owe. I do not care how much you owe. If you are using a pc with the windows operating system on it, click on your start button, hit the option labeled "run" and type 'calc' into the little box. Figure it out. Get a friend to help you with math if you have yet to graduate from 5th grade.

        Rule number 4:
        Four ppl to an order. I'll go pick up your food, but my order will only have four ppl on it. I will NOT compromise the chances for the restaurant to make mistakes with MY order simply because you are hungry. Call in your own order, give me the money, and I will pick it up for you.

        Rule number five:
        It is not my responsibility to care about it if your order is incorrect. Please remember, I do not care one bit about your order. If something is messed up, please contact the restaurant. I do not care.

        Rule 6.
        I do not care one bit about getting you correct change. You will get change the same way that I get it. I do not work for the restaurant, and I am not a delivery person. Expecting me to care about your change is almost comical to me. I am not a cash register, and I have other things to do.

        Rule 7:
        I WILL NOT be delivering your order to your office with exact change for you. You will get an email or an instant message telling you where the bag of food is.

        If you actually care about any of the above issues, then you should do these types of things for yourself. I am NOT your servant, or parent.

        I had a total meltdown when some chick asked me to pick up a burrito for her, and handed me a 100 dollar bill. I pretty much cracked the entire office up when I yelled "does it look like I have "NEC" stamped on my forehead?

        1. re: gordeaux

          Rule number two, the tax. I was stopped walking out the door for lunch one day, when I asked where I was going I told him a rather expensive seafood place. Response, great let's go. (I really didn't want to go with this person and I thought my choice would scare him off.) We get the check I he gives me a twenty for his 19.95 seafood platter. Hey, hey, wait a minute. There's tax, tip, plus you had iced tea. I think I got a five out of him but had to "eat" his tip. This is just another reason i quit going out to lunch, the thought of tax and tips on a shared check boggles their little minds.

          1. re: gordeaux

            RULE TWO STORY!

            I just turned twenty-five. My twenty-fifth birthday was the last day of school before Christmas break (I'm a teacher) and I was flying back to my hometown that night. Unfortunately, this was in the early days of the bad winter storms we just had and my flight was seriously delayed. I was waiting at the airport, drowning my sorrows in $8 sugary cocktails, when I ran into a co-worker with whom I'm friendly, and a guy she knew from her sports team. He was about thirty, I would say. They joined me in the bar for a drink. We chatted, it was generally quite pleasant, and RIGHT at the end of the conversation my colleague mentioned to her friend that it was my twenty-fifth birthday. The exact words that came from his mouth were, "Happy Birthday. Here, Jetgirly's Colleage, let me pay for YOUR drink. Jetgirly, how much are these?" I thought that was kind of rude, but not shockingly rude as I hadn't met him before. I said, "The menu price is $7.50, and then there's tax and tip..." My co-worker and I stood up and hugged to say bye because her flight was departing, while her lovely friend looked through his wallet for the money. As he stood up to leave as well, and I sat down, I realized he had left EXACTLY fifteen dollars. And then he left. It was my birthday! He didn't offer to pay for my drink! And then he shafted me with the tax and tip for both their drinks! I would like to have words with that boy's mother!

            1. re: Jetgirly

              Sorry, don't understand why a guy who you don't know is obligated to buy you a drink. Yes it's your birthday, but so? But I do think it was shitty for him not have covered his tax and tip.

              1. re: viperlush

                I think it's rude for a man to loudly offer to buy one woman a drink, but not the other. The fact that it was a twenty-fifth birthday made it extra-rude, in my opinion. I also think it's especially rude when he could have done it in a much more subtle way. If my friend had pulled out her wallet to pay and he had said, "Don't worry, I'll get it." it would have been much less offensive than saying, "I'll buy YOU a drink." To top that off with not covering tax and tip indicates to me that this guy was just really poorly mannered.

                1. re: Jetgirly

                  Just what is so special about a 25th birthday that random men NEED to buy you drinks? Sure it was crappy for him not to pay tax and tip, but, I actually think you got what you deserved!

                  1. re: Jetgirly

                    Your flight was "seriously delayed" and you were "drowning your sorrows" on your birthday at the airport. I know when I am in a similar mood or situation I take everything personally and overreact. Give the guy a break, he was probably feeling the stress of his own travels.

                2. re: Jetgirly

                  I sympathize, I would have felt a little slighted myself in that situation! However...

                  While he would have been a swoon-worthy well-mannered fellow if he bought you that drink- not buying you that drink doesn't make him rude.

                  But if he shortchanged me on the tab as well, I might have taken liberties to infer that he wasn't as proper as he could be....which is what I assume you did too.

                  1. re: dream75517

                    Sounds to me he hopped on his flight and was gone. I color him a weasel for stiffing the tax and tip. I'd like to hear from some airport workers. I bet they get low-balled all the time, with their customers thinking they'll never see them again.

                    1. re: James Cristinian

                      At the same time I have wandered around airports in a daze just throwing money around because of lack of sleep and hunger. I bet they also get over tippers as well.

            2. To be honest I would have never put myself into that position. I would have politely declined lunch runs as being my brief time away from work, that is to be cherished.

              Also- I did work at this one place that considered lunch runs (or money exchanges between employees), a violation of their employment policies, subject to dismissal.

              1. That was always easy for me - I'd just offer to share the larb or the tongue or even the really garlicky pho from the laotian and vietnamese places down the street a few times, (with these big mac eaters), and they'd leave me alone. Once the Sichuan place opened up. I could bring back all kinds of super spicy dishes - people would never bother me then. If I got the Lao home made sausages, I'd have to make sure to eat them in the car on the way back - much too edible for American tastes, and way too good to share!

                1. Without getting into the hazards and pluses of doing this, if you do not want to and would like your normal music in the car lunch, just tell them that you have to perform some errands after lunch and it is not a good idea.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: jfood

                    I just say I'm picking up lunch first then going to do some errands.. and I know you wouldn't want your food to get cold.

                    But I do ask one person if she wants lunch b/c I would be happy to bring it back for her. Knows exactly what she wants and always gives a backup option.

                  2. Here is another spin on that James. My daughter works with a group of people who regularly go out and bring back food. They will ask every one on the place if they want something, except for her.. Then they leave her there to answer the phone, but she is not the receptionist. She can't get any lunch, until they get back. The real rub, or two, is that she is the minority worker in this place and she is very pregnant. Pisses me off but I don't want to start a riot, so when I have a chance I wisk her away before they have a chance to leave and treat her to lunch.

                    When my DH worked in retail he just left without saying anything, therefore no one had a chance to ask him. Now he is in outside sales, so they don't know when he has lunch, plus he works around the corner and often comes home.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: danhole

                      That's really mean how they treat your daughter. When I was new at my job everyone would do the same to me. Before they left, I would hand someone money and give them my lunch order. After doing that a couple of times, they started asking me what I wanted.

                    2. I won't do it. Period. The people I work with want crap--McDonalds, Burger King or any other fast food fix (sorry--but I do not want to be offensive to those who love this stuff--I just cannot stand it). In addition, I don't want to deal with others' money and the bother of who gets what change. Believe me, it is bad enough when I have to open the door for the delivery man from a pizza place and hunt down the person who ordered.
                      My lunchhour is my time.

                      1. What in the world?! We are not anyone's keeper, mother, or servant; it absolutely irks me that some people think others _should_ do something for them. Screw 'em. One person dared ask me to bring her something from a nearby sandwich shop once (was the youngest in the office at the time). I stared her down so hard I thought she would cry, and subsequently walked away without saying anything. She apologized in a five-page email and that never happened again.

                        17 Replies
                        1. re: link_930

                          why be mean? unless she was disrespectful and acted 'princess-y', there is no reason to be mean. Can't one simply decline, in a nice manner?
                          I do not see the use of a death stare in this situation.
                          (also, what is the link between asking a favor and being the youngest in the office?)

                          1. re: alixium

                            Have to agree that the death stare was really uncalled for in this situation (at least in the manner in which the poster phrased their post).

                            And this person also "dared" to ask the poster to pick something up for her? Why were the words "dared to ask me" used? Was it an imperious demand or just a simple request? Is the poster always asked to do something for others and feel they're being taken advantage of? Or do they just feel it beneath them to do something nice for someone else? A bit difficult to understand what is being conveyed in their post, except to get the impression that they feel it beneath them to do such a thing. Guess it will be a bit surprising when they themselves need help with a project and they don't get it because of how they treated coworkers in the past.

                            1. re: LindaWhit

                              Uh, no. The woman came into my office to send me on a sandwich errand. I was not going out for lunch (always brought it with me). Projects are a part of work, picking up someone else's food was never a part of my job. And I was getting tired of being "asked" ("if you could pick up the receptionist's phone during her lunch break, that'd be great") to do things that constitute regressing from my position as it is understood in this particular professional world. It is not disrespectful to request additional resources on a project -- it is not a personal project, it is a project done for the company. It is disrespectful to send someone on a personal errand. There is, really, a large difference. And it may also be surprising to know that some people may come across as being an undesirable character due to their sheer judgmental attitude of others even while not having a full factual understanding of a situation.

                              It's the _should_ part of getting food that was emphasized.

                              1. re: link_930

                                It is disrespectful to send someone on a personal errand. There is, really, a large difference. And it may also be surprising to know that some people may come across as being an undesirable character due to their sheer judgmental attitude of others even while not having a full factual understanding of a situation.
                                Had you provided the full facts in your original post that it was a personal errand for this person, and that this person has asked you several times to do something not in your job description, then I do believe that the two of us who responded to you wouldn't have responded at all. You, however, did not provide those facts, and as such, you got the responses that were given.

                                Having said that, I still believe that your "death stare" and reducing a coworker almost to tears was uncalled for. You can simply say "I'm sorry; I don't have time to do that for you" and go about your business at work.

                                1. re: LindaWhit

                                  agreed. must have been bad if it required a five page follow up to apologize.

                                  I get annoyed with disruptions on my lunch hour as well, particularly as where i work at the moment doesn't have a lunch room, and the clients are at their neediest during their own breaks. I made gentle suggestions during a staff wide meeting on how we could all curb this a little, without having to leave the building. Anyway, sorry, a bit off topic.

                                  As annoyed as I get sometimes with work, it also bugs me to work with people who are card carrying "thats not MY job"-ers. Most places I've worked have a little clause called "other duties as required" built into the job description, and i've done loads of things that really don't fit my job.

                                  As for personal errands, I do it if i have time, and also offer, we all do where I work. If i'm going into town, i don't mind picking up coffees and such for people who can't leave their work stations. I know what it's like to crave a coffee or forget lunch and not be able to get away. I find t hese things go a long way towards co-worker relations.

                                  As long as it's not abused :)

                                  1. re: im_nomad

                                    Agree on knowing when a coworker is slammed and offering to get them something if I'm going out. Like you, I don't have a place I can escape to to eat, so I usually eat at my desk - which means that often, I'm interrupted to be asked a question. It's part of the territory, as are those things that aren't part of a job description but get added to it because of being low man on the totem pole.

                                    As an administrative manager with 30 years of business under my belt, I really dislike being expected to get coffee/breakfast set-ups should we have a morning client meeting because I'm the sole "administrative person" in the company. It's SO far beyond what my job description is, but having started out as a lowly secretary 30 years ago, I know it always falls to the administrative person to manage, and know it's just something that coworkers look for me to do - so I do it. No - I don't get individuals cups of coffee unless they ask because they're going into a conference call and just don't have time to walk down to the kitchen (and it's asked nicely).

                                    There are sometimes positions in companies where personal errands for the Big-Kahuna-In-Charge are a necessary fact of work life at that company - no matter who you are. If you don't want to do it - you leave that company. Otherwise, you just get on with it.

                                    1. re: LindaWhit

                                      Exactly. Left the company for one that actually shows respect for everyone. And everyone runs their own darned errands and gets their own cups of coffee, makes their own photocopies -- even the CEO. No one asks anyone to do anything, which leads to people offering happily. Not very touchy-feely, if someone shows such disrespect, I don't expect anyone to maintain niceties. But I must live in a different world.

                                      1. re: link_930

                                        "Not maintaining niceties" and giving a death stare and reducing a coworker to tears are two completely different things, IMO. As I said earlier - you could have just said you didn't have time to do what they asked of you and go about your business. I still believe that the choice to take it to a much lower level than most would even dream of doing was uncalled for.

                                        1. re: LindaWhit

                                          I have to agree with you, LindaWhit -- one's bragging about reducing someone to tears tells you pretty much everything you need to know about that person. And I've been in your position -- I called it being a really well-paid waitress -- for quarterly meetings when the corporate bigs came in. Sometimes you just do what you have to do, even if there's no apparent immediate reward.

                                          1. re: harrie

                                            Amazes me how some people think sticking solely to their exact job description and deviating from that one bit is absolutely unacceptable. Anyone that has advanced in their careers knows that you don't get ahead by being "that person."

                                            1. re: Rick

                                              True in some instances Rick, but in other cases a junior person who is in fact NOT the admin/secretary/gofer has to make it clear they will not regularly perform those kinds of tasks, or risk adding them to their job descriptions permanently. And there are senior people who will totally take advantage, and only look down on you more for compliance, rather than supporting you as you try to move up.

                                              1. re: Rick

                                                Totally agree Rick, it's also a pain in the arse to work with people like that sometimes, depending on the situation. As i'd said before, most jobs i've ever worked had a little clause called "other duties as required" built into the job description. Even that aside, it doesn't mean you have to bend over backwards or have your own work go astray, but it does help foster good relations with the people you work with.

                                              2. re: harrie

                                                "really well-paid waitress" - perfect description, harrie! Yes, it is that, but there are those times when you actually get recognition for doing something so simple, even if its not in your job description. That can make up (a little bit) for the many other times you didn't get recognition.

                                                And as Rick stated, by just sticking solely to a written job description without going outside that box isn't going to bode well for advancement past a certain point in many companies. Kind of fits in with the "team player" portion of performance reviews.

                                                1. re: LindaWhit

                                                  I've brought in and set up food for client meetings, and I think it's a way to get into the room and introduce myself to clients. It's not a big deal since the food is ordered and delivered.

                                                  1. re: LindaWhit

                                                    I am a boss, and I don't consider getting food for others part of "teamwork" when doing an employee evaluation. The general attitude conveyed, however (that's not MY job), sounds as though it may have bled over to tasks other than just getting food, and that could translate into not being a team player.

                                                    I think sometimes we women particularly are still trying to shake that old school secretary stereotype , a la Mad Men, where the bosses were always male, and the female secretaries were always expected to be the gofers for everything from coffee to dry cleaning. Although we'd like to think that's a thing of the past, I'm sure it's still out there. On the other hand, anyone who thinks that they can make any forward progress in their job by just doing EXACTLY what's in their job description, ain't going to get very far.

                                                    1. re: PattiCakes

                                                      In my experience, people who play the "not my job" note too often don't last long. It's called cooperation, and there are times when things have to get done, by someone. No matter what their job description. The owner of my bakery will don an apron and help turn out rolls or bagels when we're busy - and the bakers appreciate the help. Getting the job done has got to be a priority.

                                                      1. re: Catskillgirl

                                                        I see a world of difference between helping to produce the company's product when the joint is jumping - in this case bagels - and being errand boy. In my early days I made the grave mistake of being way too ready to please others and be helpful as to menial tasks (such as lunch delivery boy) that were far outside my duties. As a result, my stock and regard from others who mattered went way down, and I was not taken seriously for promotions. Zero credibility, even though I had great performance evals. Feeling totally disrespected and taken for granted, I quit unhappily. My worst suspicions were confirmed years later by a former manager.

                              2. This whole concept is foreign to me. I have worked all my life (I'm 60), and have never been anywhere where others asked to have someone else bring something back for them. I have seen the "runner" ask others if they would like something (example: "I'm running out to the post office. Does anyone else need stamps?"), but never the other way around. I have also seen "group ordering", where everyone will order from a specific place then share, but that's usually pre-arranged, not spontaneous. It would never occur to me to ask someone else to bring lunch back for me, even a good friend, unless they offered first. Even then I would probably not want to put them to the extra trouble.

                                1. Lunch is something of a personal time for everybody in my office. Very rarely does anybody ask somebody to bring something back for them and it is even more rare for anybody offer. Coffee and soda runs are the norm. It's an unwritten rule to announce that you're running to Starbucks or to the deli since you are doing this in the middle of your shift and not on your break.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: MrsT

                                    Guess I am pretty lucky, we work in a retail store, we don't really "take" lunch breaks...just eat whenever we feel like it. There are a couple people that like stepping out of the store for a bit, (I on the other hand hate it....if I am getting in my car it means I am done for the day) so it works out perfectly for us, one of the "outside" people will say, "Hey what do we want for lunch" or "Hey who needs lunch" and we put our heads together about where to eat.

                                    Another way to keep it fair is the old, "I'll buy and you fly"....

                                  2. Am I ever relieved to hear that others besides myself find this practice to be bizarre. It's an unwanted intrusion on my lunch hour. Never have I asked anyone to get anything for me, much less would it ever cross my mind to so.

                                    I find it disturbing that some workplaces would give me demerits as a "team player" for refusing to take part in this. Nowhere that I'll ever work. Evaluate me on my work performance please. They may as well pass judgment on how I spend my weekends and vacations.

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: Leonardo

                                      ""I find it disturbing that some workplaces would give me demerits as a "team player" for refusing to take part in this.""

                                      IMHO- That Company could risk claims for "working off the clock" if an employee properly documents such a practice. An employee's duty stops when clocked out for lunch, till an employee clocks back in. Lunch runs then is an off the clock expectation or an additional duty.

                                      The killer kicker is if a 40 hour work week is worked, and found to be in violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA)(USA), those lunches would be at the overtime rate of time and a half! So it isn't wise to mess with employee's lunch!!!

                                    2. Seems to me a lot depends on where you work. When I have worked in large offices, it was very rare for anyone to go out and get lunch for the group. In smaller offices, 6-12 people, it was not so unusual, especially if we were all rushing to get work out on a deadline. Sometimes the boss would even wake up enough to realize the deadline was looming and would order pizza for the crew, although that was more likely for dinner. A 40 hour work week? Surely you jest.

                                      1. I recently started a retail job over the holidays and noticed a few things:
                                        <>Most staff eat rather poorly if at all. We have 30 min for a meal break and it's barely enough time to get to the food court, order and eat.
                                        <>The lineups at the food places...particularly Starbucks... were insane...forget picking up a coffee on your 15 min break...it took half the time just to get to the till lelt alone the line to pickup... you -might- get your drink in 15 min but that left no time to actually consume it.
                                        <>One day I picked up a sandwich and fresh fruit salad at Veggierama (not sure if its a chain since its the only one I've been to) and people in the break area (forget "room"... it's a corner in the stock room with a mic and a bar fridge) were oggling the fruit. My next shift (the week leading up to Xmas) I brought in clementines and homemade oatmeal blueberry muffins.

                                        So would I go get other people their lunches in my precious 30 min? No... but will I bring in healthy food to share? absolutely.

                                        4 Replies
                                        1. re: maplesugar

                                          Really? You're making 8.00/hr, (minimum wage in MA), spending half of what you make on your commute - and you're talking Starbucks and sharing clementines and muffins? What planet is this?

                                          1. re: applehome

                                            I'm in Calgary, Alberta Canada here on planet Earth thanks.

                                            I can't recall the minimum wage but I make $10/h. I get the occasional Starbucks with a coffee card that was a gift. Clementines were $4 and the muffins cost maybe $2 to make, with ingredients I had on hand....ok $4 if you consider that I doubled the batch and left half at home for the kids. It was Christmas we were all working nonstop and through at least one of our breaks. I figured a bit of food would help. Apparently a little generosity is alien?

                                            1. re: maplesugar

                                              Wow maple, it's people like you I'd prefer to work with, not people like apple that choose to criticize generosity!

                                            2. re: applehome

                                              Holy judgmental batman. I don't see where maple mentions his/her commute? And you can read up on how mall culture encourages, even depends on, the low-paid employees spending their own money in the same mall they work in.

                                          2. I so wish I got a lunch break. But I don't. We work 10+ hour days and while we are allowed to run errands, we can only leave when there aren't any clients needing attention. And there are always clients needing attention around lunch time.

                                            So we take turns running out and getting lunch for anyone who wants it. The other day I even picked up gift certificates for my coworker since he couldn't leave to get them himself. Today I got coffee for three people. If we didn't do these things for eachother, we'd never eat!

                                            6 Replies
                                            1. re: mojoeater

                                              I'm not sure what line of business you're in, but isn't it illegal for an employer to not allow a break for lunch?

                                              1. re: LindaWhit

                                                It's not that they don't allow it. It's that we are short staffed and there's always an influx of business 11am-3pm. And it's no good if one of my clients shows up when I'm not there.

                                                1. re: LindaWhit

                                                  also, you can be allowed a break, but the type of work you may be doing may dictate that you can not leave the premises, as was the case with me when I was the sole person in charge of an entire house full of people. I got a paid lunch break, and would eat when I could. Happens alot in the social services professions, I find.

                                                  1. re: LindaWhit

                                                    The rules about breaks depend on what kind of job you have and where you work, the US does not have a federal law requiring meal breaks http://www.dol.gov/elaws/faq/esa/flsa...

                                                    My job does not fall within the criteria for federal protection - If I work more that 40 hours a week I do not get time and a half. But it is within the scope of some state labor laws, so if I work more than 40 hours I do equal time off at another time within the calendar year. One of the nicer protections I have is lunch break. The state requires my employer to allow at least a 30-minute break for lunch. If I am interrupted with work needs at any point in the 30 minutes, I get to start the clock over. I try not to eat lunch at my desk, so it doesn't happen often, but every now and then my boss will find me in the break room or outside at the picnic tables because she is about to leave for a meeting and has an urgent question/need. And by grace or karma those question always come up about 5 minutes before my break ends, so I get almost a full half hour free. My boss, on the other hand, is exempt for state and federal protections, so she can take a break if she wants to and has time, but she can't force the institution we work for to give her time for lunch.

                                                    1. re: mpjmph

                                                      Interesting on your "restarted" breaks if your employer interrupts you during your lunch break. I figured it wasn't a federal requirement but I assumed it was a by-state statute and usually only when over a certain period of work hours.

                                                      1. re: mpjmph

                                                        I think that is a little extreme. I eat lunch in the warehouse of my store instead of the lunch room, mainly because everyone back there knows what I'm eating, a salad and an avacado, and I don't get alot of stupid questions about eating rabbit food. I have no qualms about answering work related questions, as long as they don't mind me answering with a mouthful of spinach and carrots. I do have to ask my boss for time off now and then, what goes around comes around.

                                                  2. I sneak out when I go to my favorite indian buffet. One of my supervisors will have me pick up enough food for her to feed her family for like three days. I don't mind picking up a buffet to go for someone, but when I have to pick up two bags of foodI feel like I am being taken advantage of.

                                                    Plus, she never offers to return the favor. Sigh

                                                    1. Maybe I work in a charmed (and small) office, but sometimes when the boss is out, she'll call in to say she's at Dunkin Donuts and can she bring back anything for us. When I have to place a large lunch order because we're having people in for a meeting, the boss tells me to get something for myself (and often the other co-workers) on the company tab. Sometimes when I'm heading to (wherever) and I know a co-worker likes that place, I ask if I can pick anything up for anyone, especially if it's a crunch time of year, and they often do the same thing. And we're always bringing in surplus baked goods or party food.

                                                      If someone hit me up for lunch day after day and never reciprocated, sure I'd cop an attitude sooner rather than later. I guess we just work at not getting under each others' skins -- which does happen - more than necessary. After reading some of these tales, I resolve to appreciate the boss and co-workers all the more.

                                                      1. I don't mind doing it that often. Usually when I make a run to the grocery store is when I ask if anyone needs it. But more often then not I bring my lunch to work. But if I am running out to grab food, I only ask if anyone wants anything if I go to a late lunch because my normal lunch is 11 and a lot of people hate thinking about eating that early. But that is very rare and I usually only do it for my branch manager otherwise I know she won't ever eat.

                                                        2 Replies
                                                        1. re: vttp926

                                                          Sometimes the boss or someone will bring in donuts orother stuff.Dee our mail lady brought in oreo cookies and boxes of raisins this morning.
                                                          There is 11 of us in the purchasing-warehouse for our local school district.
                                                          Everyone either eats at home if close enough or goes out somewhere.
                                                          If Angie in the warehouse buys breakfast tacos for us , I'll buy her luch once in awhile, or she has bought me something.I sometimes ask the guys, but their answer is usually thanks, but i'm going to eat with Mark or going home etc.
                                                          not really a problem here in my department.

                                                          1. re: HollyDolly

                                                            I buy pizza, donuts,or bagels periodically for my staff. It's not uncommon for them to bring in something from home as well, particularly after holiday entertaining leaves them with more cookies or cake than they want to keep at home. In addition, we work with sales offices that are scattered all over the country, and they will send in small holiday treats, which we always share -- even though they may have been directed to the person who handles that specific office. Today, for instance, we are working our way through 3 kringles that were sent to us from Wisconsin.

                                                            We just don't have an office culture where people go out & bring stuff back for others, and no one ever asks. That's not to say that if someone were not feeling up to par that a co-worker might not offer to run across the street & get some soup for them, though. My group will also not hesitate to pick up excess work from a co-worker or offer to do some of a co-workers tasks if that co-worker has a problem (out sick, death in the family, & etc.). Most of the time, they don't even ask me (the boss), they just do it. I am blessed to work with such a wonderful group.

                                                        2. I didn't answer the "what do you do for a living" thread, and don't often talk about what I do for a living (not that i'm ashamed of it, but it's the nature of the job to be cautious !), but just have my two cents work on the topic.

                                                          I work in the criminal justice system in a professional position....I don't run the place, but I guess i'm around the middle of the pecking order. Up until a few months ago and for several years, I was working in a penitentiary, where needless to say many guards are employed on shift work. I'm not one, and my job allows me to have a lunch break, but also leave the place should I choose to. Many others there can not due to the nature of the job. Most days when I left, I asked if people wanted anything picked up, and I regularly came back with coffees and food for people in all different positions there. I suppose I could have been stingy, but if there ever was a place where you wanted to have a good rapport with your co-workers, and keep morale up, this is it. Besides which, it's just a human thing to do in general, and yes there were lots of people who came and asked me for the errand, rather than having me offer, and most of these times I was bringing my own lunch (had to go home to tend to the pooch, not eat). Then again, i'm someone who regularly feeds my coworkers anyway. People appreciate it. I'm able to do it, case closed for the most part. Where I work now, people still do the coffee thing, and I can say it's nice when a co-worker offers to buy a coffee now and then. We all do it.

                                                          Agreed this is not a traditional office situation, but I imagine similar situations happen in hospitals and such, where people can not always leave their places of work to take their breaks in cases of emergencies and such.

                                                          Even confines of work aside, I still believe that stuff like this can help foster a friendlier work environment, as long of course, as it's not the big guy constantly sending the little guy off to run personal errands, which i'm sure just fosters resentment. It's even nicer when the boss does it, shows appreciation for the staff.

                                                          I can also honestly say that i've done loads of things throughout my career that are no where near in my job description, and probably wouldn't even apply under the "other duties as required". I bristle when I hear people say "not my job" and spend countless amounts of time arguing over whether it is or not and peering over policies, when it's something that takes five minutes to do, or when they were unoccupied at the time. Maybe that makes me a pushover, but I don't think there's anything to be gained by not working together and giving a little here and there.

                                                          3 Replies
                                                          1. re: im_nomad

                                                            I'm with you im_nomad, a little generosity and flexibility goes a long way to fostering a positive work environment. I've worked with a few "not my job"ers and they were generally bounced around from dept to dept never really fitting in anywhere.

                                                            1. re: maplesugar

                                                              Yep. I find that entitled attitude annoying as well. Particularly in this economy, where the "it's not my job" could end up meaning "oops, it really isn't my job because now I don't have a job". I have 4 people (20%) on my staff whose spouse's have been laid off, so you'd better beleive that there's a "we're all in this together" attitude. If my getting coffee for a visiting poo-bah means that it helps close a sale that will help keep my company afloat, I could be the CEO & I'd still do it willingly.

                                                            2. re: im_nomad

                                                              I like your style, Nomad. I haven't really thought about this subject until this thread came up, but yeah, I would regularly get food for people in the office, and actively solicit food orders, mostly from my subordinates. When I found myself in a supervisory position, I realized my time was more my own whereas the people working for me (receptionist, specifically) were tied to their desks, mostly assisting my clients! It just seemed nice to go on a coffee run for people that aren't able to.

                                                            3. I'm a teacher and I always seem to end up at schools in the extreme suburbs with nothing nearby. Add to that the fact that me being one or two minutes (literally, sixty or one hundred twenty seconds) late back to work could mean one student stabs another student in the eye with his pencil, and it's not worth it to leave for lunch. On other occasions (like, if school ends at 3:00 and I've got a parent meeting at 4:00) I'll walk down to the local health food store and grab some banana chips or mixed nuts. I usually ask my "friends" if they want anything, but I'm not going to wander the halls of the entire school asking every single teacher if he or she wants some gluten-free crackers. I've got friends on staff and I would have no problem picking up lunch for them and paying for it if that were a realistic option; I know they would do the same in a minute. I'm not sure if they've become friends because they are the sort of people who have demonstrated they are open to a reciprocal give-take relationship, or if they're open to that give-take because we're already friends.

                                                              1. I'm so grateful somebody will do this that I always put in too much money, and KEEP MY ORDER SIMPLE. When I've offered to do it, somebody invariably says " Oh, will you tell them to substitute shrimp for the chicken, and tell them no onions, and make sure they include extra packets of mayonnaise." And when their order gets screwed up, they look at me like it's my fault. (And no, I will not drive back to the restaurant to correct their order.)