If you work in an office for long enough, you’ll realize that there are certain kinds of people who share your space, building and office kitchen. Sometimes your office mates brighten your day and sometimes they’ll drive you crazy.
There is one office event that can make even the most diminutive colleague competitive: free food. In a newsroom, nothing makes journalists run faster than an email that states, “[insert food item here] is left over from a meeting in the kitchen. Help yourself!” You can almost hear the stampede to the kitchen, but don’t wait too long or the Food Hoarders might clean out the left overs before you’ve had a chance to even get to the kitchen. Like vultures descending on prey, Food Hoarders don’t wait for the person who sent the email to actually finish putting the tray down before scooping up every morsel they can.
Food Hoarders are the colleagues who don’t just take a piece of cake, they take several pieces of cake for later. They don’t just take one bag of chips left over from boxed lunches, they take three bags to keep in their desk. This wouldn’t be an issue if the person wanting to take three bags of chips waited until everyone had a chance to have one bag, but these food hoarders simply see the free food as a first come, first serve opportunity. This inevitably means someone feels left out. Someone who was in the middle of doing their job and couldn’t run to the kitchen didn’t get a snack or the few minutes of water cooler chit-chat.
Over time, you might start to notice a pattern: the same people who race to the kitchen are the ones eating the bags of chips days, even weeks later. Unchecked this can lead to resentment. Or worse, the Food Hoarders could get left off the original email so as to give other people a chance for free food.
So don’t be a Food Hoarder. Be respectful of your friends and colleagues and see the free food email as a way to have a snack, not a meal and definitely not as a way to cram your desk full of food.