Daily Archive for August 31st, 2007

Why we should not do potlucks at my company.

One of our co-workers is deserting us starting a new job soon. I was going to plan a farewell lunch (paid for by the company between 3 different business units), but since I was out of the office last week, I didn’t have a chance to do it before someone else sent a mass email out suggesting a potluck. While I am grateful that this lovely person took charge to coordinate this, this person has not been at the company very long and does not know that WE ARE NOT A POTLUCKING GROUP.

Not that we are opposed to potlucks; it’s just that people don’t know what to bring… or worse yet, don’t bring anything and then show up. Like most people, I imagine, our group is good at showing up when free food is placed in front of them. Not so good at providing food first, then eating.

Anyway, on Wednesday, I asked the coordinator what I could bring to the potluck; what everyone else was bringing, etc. She said that a number of people were set to bring all kinds of things, so maybe I could bring a side dish. I asked for a suggestion. She first said “fruit salad” but then changed it to “chips,” knowing that I’m pretty busy. (What?! You don’t think I can make a fruit salad? Ok, I can, but I didn’t really want to.)

So ok, chips it was.

I planned to swing by the store on the way to work and was thrilled to find Doritos of all flavors on sale. I bought 3 massive bags in 3 different flavors.

At noontime (the announced start of the potluck), I brought my assigned bags of chips to the large conference room. There was a guy downstairs who said he was waiting for food. VULTURE! WHERE IS YOUR FOOD!? (I found out later that he meant for a delivery guy coming for food. Oops.)

Other than that, the conference room was empty. I left my lonely bags of chips at the serving area and then decided to pitch in by setting up plates, napkins, utensils and drinks, even though that was clearly not something I was responsible for.

After about 5 minutes, one guy showed up with a giant bowl of guacamole. Another guy, a consultant, showed up with a smallish container of pasta salad. Another guy showed up with pita, hummus, and babaganoush (however you spell that). I had heard that one of the 3 business units was pitching in empanadas, another one was going to provide cake. At 12:15, the person organizing the potluck showed up with about 5 dozen empanadas (she was assigned to go pick them up from Empanada’s Place waaaay out on the Westside).

As you can see, by the time people started converging in the conference room, the potluck consisted of carbs (chips & pita), carbs (pasta salad), carbs (cake), and fried carbs (empanadas).

And aside from the THREE people who brought non-company provided food (chips, guac, pita), NO ONE ELSE BROUGHT ANYTHING. There were roughly 2 dozen folks standing inside the conference room, waiting for food.

As I mentioned, there was more food coming. 5 of our CONSULTANTS (not employees) who happened to be from Indian pitched in to order a huge pan of chicken tandoori. Unfortunately, it didn’t arrive until 12:40, after we had all had round one of CARBMANIA. So we all had to go back for round 2 for some chicken. Thank goodness for some real food.

To recap: 3 employees brought food + 5 consultants ordered food + 1 consultant brought food + company provided deep fried empanadas, cake, and soda + over a dozen “freeloaders” = tummy ache for Friday.

P.S. – I should also note that I was not told to bring tortilla chips/Doritos. I could have opted to bring potato chips, which would have gone oh-so-wonderfully with the guac.

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