Friday, March 18, 2016
The free food table used to mean something around here, and though the food on it frequently disgusted and horrified me, I still took a kind of reassurance from it. It said that even if I forgot to bring food to work I would not starve, or, even worse, be forced to drive off during my precious lunch hour to procure food from one of the miserable restaurants and fast food joints around here. Instead I would be able to help myself to some of those sugar encrusted bacon saltines that someone brought in after either a culinary disaster or under a confused understanding of "generosity".
Well, who knows, maybe it was generous after all. And though mostly my main goal with the free food table was to resist eating anything that was on it due to my commitment to living past the age of sixty, it was still somehow good to know that that disgusting, profoundly unhealthful food was there. At least we made that gesture towards hearth and community, pathetic and misguided though it may have been. Unlike now. Have you seen what's been on the free food table lately?
Coupons! Five cents a gallon off on gas at the station that charges seven cents a gallon more than anywhere else. An "introductory" offer for a wine by mail club. A certificate for a 35 dollar haircut. A 35 dollar haircut? I have a wastebasket and a pair of scissors, why would I pay for a haircut? And these really aren't even coupons. They're advertisements pretending to be coupons. Why would you put those on the free food table? Do you hate your co-workers that much? Surely in the past few days you must have made something like a Spam and Tabasco hotdish that didn't go over with your family like you hoped it might. Bring it in for god's sake, not these ridiculous coupons! You don't think people would eat such a dish, but we will! And even if we didn't it would give us all something to talk about besides who drives us crazy around here or our all too common complaining about wretched American politics. We already agree on all these things. What else is there to say?
So let's put out the vegan cucumber brownies and be a proper workplace once more. Trust me. I've been here for decades, and I can guarantee you that no matter how harmonious it seems between us all right now, we're always about two bare inches from completely hating each other. Workplace cultures are fragile, so you've got to attend to the little things, like the free food table. It all goes south so much faster than you can imagine.