Food n’ frustration at office pot luck foibles


Let 'em eat cake, photo courtesy of Teresa's Custom Cakes (Ft. Hood)

Let ’em eat cake, photo courtesy of Teresa’s Custom Cakes (Ft. Hood)

Hey, did someone at your last holiday BBQ , or office gathering grab a little too much? I’m not talking too much booze, or an extra chicken leg on their paper plate. Nope, we’re talking out and out packaging up extra provisions. Portions destined for off property consumption-without  permission or polite inquiry of others’ opinion on their pilfering it. Sometimes, they even march off with the conveyancing pot or pan!

Our guest writers share their HE SAID, SHE SAID column advising one harried staffer with a question on how to deal with this class of glutton. I think you’ll find a heapin’ helpin’ of  some good life calming takeaways, too!

Q. This is petty, and I know it, but it still drives me crazy. We have an office function every month and there is always food left over. We have a person in our office that always cuts a “special” slice of cake to take home. Then, when no one is around, they take all the leftovers home. Sometimes this is good, but it would be nice to get the cake pan back. I asked about what happened to my plate, and got a blank stare, denial, followed by counter-accusing the cleaning crew. And for the icing on top, this individual never brings anything other than their appetite. I’m fed up, but the real rub is that the rest of my co-workers just seem to shrug it off. Do you have any advice before I go off on someone?……

Shaun Collins responds to a question on food filching

Shaun M. Collins

HE SAID:  I would like to start off by reminding you that the only person you truly have any control over is you. What can you do, to minimize the impact of this person’s behavior on you?

First, I suggest you stop bringing in plates or cake pans. Stop bringing in plates and containers of value.

Second, you may try nipping the issue in the bud, by collecting all of the leftovers at the end of the function and having a couple of co-workers help you transport them to another organization on post that might appreciate the gesture of kindness. You will feel better ,as this individual will not get the chance to sneak the food away and everyone will get that warm fuzzy feeling associated with doing something nice for others. This approach would prevent overt hostility and will likely be embraced as a common future practice

Pam Collins

Pam Collins

SHE SAID:  Hmmm. Yes, I can sense your frustration. You have to know there will always be those who love to “give” and those willing to “take.”

I have observed this behavior throughout my life. The fact that your other co-workers don’t feel taken advantage of tells me going postal will likely not work out well for you, but you can take actions to protect yourself.

Consider bringing your contribution in a disposable plate, bowl or platter. Covering a piece of cardboard with foil, using a plastic container you would have discarded, etc. If you bring in something that you want to keep, take it with you when the festivities are over. If you don’t want what’s left in it find something to put it in and take your empty container back to your office with you.

If you want the leftovers, remove your dish promptly and if Minnie the Moocher asks, tell him you want to take your leftovers home for later. Others may follow suit if, they too, are tired or his shenanigans. If not, that’s on them.

That’s it then!

Hey, want to have your cake and eat it too?… There’s more military made advice where that came from.

Check out the archives at the Guidon where these columns appeared first, without MilSuccessNet’s editorial interpretations ..  or simply SIGN UP  for alerts at the top RIGHT of any page.

GUARANTEED  you will not be bothered by unwanted mail AND for sure you won’t be a boor at your next food fantasmagoria at your place of work or community potluck!



  1. Shaun Collins says:

    Love the video edition Helena!

    • Helena Kaufman says:

      Glad you liked the icing on your column ‘s cake. The video was implanted by team member Nate, editor at large and *G.I.F. wrangler.

      *Good Idea Fairy. We have GIFs on retainer and freelancing for MilitarySuccessNetwork.com and MilSuccessNet on Twitter and Facebook.

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