Thursday, June 10, 2010

Settling for plastic sporks over real silver

There is a funny phenomenon going on in my office around lunch time. Most everyone in the office brings lunch at least several days out of the week. But that isn’t the weird part. Most people don’t bring sandwiches, salads, or other standard lunch fare, but full on meals in tupperwares including rice portions, meat portions, and veggie portions all in separate containers. Some people even have special little naan carriers that are really quite cute inventions. Again, I don’t think this is the weird part. I often bring leftovers for lunch simply because if I have a sandwich and some chips at noon, I’m absolutely starving by 6pm. Whereas if I have say, a pork chop and some zucchini I’m full for much longer.

Here’s where it gets strange. Most people bring several containers. Each segment of the meal is in a separate container rather than all in one giant container, there’s a large one for rice, a smaller one for veggies, another smaller one for meat. This one guy even has a little tea pot made for the microwave that he uses to brew a pot of tea each lunch time. Then after the meal is finished, they all wash their dishes. I skip this part. You won’t catch me using the dirty office sponge. I used it once, and my hands smelled like musty sponge the entire day.

Even though most people bring several containers full of food, no one, I repeat NO ONE brings their own flatware. It’s not just like they forget it occasionally. I have witnessed the daily routine while waiting for the microwave over and over again. Pull out 4 tupperwares from office refrigerator, unwrap, open containers to vent, place in microwave, while food is heating, retrieve plastic fork and plastic knife from kitchen cupboard. I just don’t understand it. If you are going to the trouble to bring a cooler full of food to work, and doing your dishes afterward before you go home, why aren’t you bringing anything to eat the food with? It can’t be easy to cut all that meat with a plastic knife. And really, it’s horrible for the environment. I bring my own flatware when I bring meals that require a knife and fork. I consider the cabinet of plastic utensils as there for a last resort, if say, your delivery guy forgot to include utensils or you somehow forgot to put a fork in the bag in the morning, or if we are having catered food for a meeting.

I just can’t figure it out. It’s clearly not because they don’t want to have to carry anything home with them, they already have a separate little lunch bag for food. It’s clearly not because they’re worried a soiled fork will get the cooler messy. They are already washing all the tupperwares. It doesn’t make any sense. Maybe it’s the idea of getting one over on the company by using the only free things they provide (plastic cutlery being one) to the maximum. Maybe it just hasn’t occurred to anyone. I thought about asking, but I didn’t want to be that girl scrutinizing everyone’s eating habits in the office lunchroom.

What strange office lunch rituals have you witnessed?

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