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Friday, December 14, 2012

Intrusive foodies at the company feedbag

When it comes to food, I have specific tastes. I like some things better than others, and some things just don't work at all. I also prefer fewer ingredients to more. Some things just don't belong together in the same dish.

I took a job at a place which made a big fuss about having free food, world-class chefs, and cuisine out the wazoo. I didn't realize it at the time, but this actually set the stage for some minor annoyances down the road.

On your first day of work at this particular company, after finishing your first round of paperwork and watching a "inspirational video" or two, everyone is rounded up and taken to the main cafe just steps away. Some helpful HR person points out the basics and shows the special reserved seating area just for new people, and asks everyone to grab a spot up there after getting some food. With that, we're free to roam around.

I wandered around a bit to get a feel for what was being served. Some signs in the hallway gave the daily highlights, and nothing looked too interesting. Some of the meals they were cooking up looked good at first, but upon reading through what it contained, it was apparent they had gone just a bit too far. It's as if they should have stopped messing with the recipe two ingredients ago, but hadn't.

Fortunately, I spotted salvation. There was a center island with a couple of cauldrons full of soup, a bunch of deli meats and cheeses, various sandwich-oriented condiments, and a storage unit full of bread. There were rolls and slices and all sorts of other wonderful things. I grabbed a roll, opened it up, threw in some basic ham and cheese, gave it a squirt of mustard, and called it done. After grabbing a drink and possibly a cookie or two, I rejoined the group in the special seating area.

I grabbed a table where some people were already discussing their food. They were just overjoyed at the variety that was available. They all had something different. I was pretty happy too, and just munched my sandwich. Then, it happened. This one guy piped up and said it.

Wait, they have lobster today, and you made a sandwich?

I didn't feel like explaining so I just shrugged and went on with my lunch. He shook his head and went back to his lively conversation about the finer points of the food with everyone else.

Fortunately, most people weren't like this guy. None of the people who worked with me ever pulled that kind of negative "OMG what are you eating" thing on me. The only conversations we had about food were positive ones, like X is amazing, or Y is good. They were tips for other people to try something, but never criticizing them for what they had chosen. That's just wrong.

Still, once in a while, my desire for simplicity and consistency would separate me from the group when it came time for lunch. Most days, I could be found at the local (free) instance of Andale while it still existed. It was a taqueria which had the usual "burrito line" where you can do a custom order with a person, but it also had an a la carte line. There, it was just you, your plate, and the food you wanted to pick. They always had some kind of meat/protein, rice, beans, and cheese, plus chips if you cared for some, and you didn't have to justify or explain your choices to anyone else.

Food is one of those things where some people have a harder time making things work than others. It's one of those things which isn't always a choice, and you just have to play the cards you've been dealt. Some people don't appreciate that and cause unnecessary drama.

It's like calling someone out for being "too tall" or "too short". What, do you think they can do anything about it? Grow up. Be nice.