Friday, March 12, 2010

Desserted in Tennessee

I work in an office where folks sometimes bring in birthday cakes, desserts and other goodies to share. "Dolores" is always the first in line, and helps herself to a large portion of the treats and says she's taking some home for her family.
Last week, someone brought in an exotic dessert and I got out the dessert-sized paper plates. Dolores took out two regular-sized paper plates and cut off a quarter of the entire dessert! No one could believe it, but we didn't know what to say or do. One time, she actually cut a huge portion of someone's birthday cake to take home before the "birthday boy" even got a slice. This woman is not poor. What do you recommend? -- "DESSERTED" IN TENNESSEE

I think either Delores doesn't realize that her actions are socially unacceptable or she just plain out doesn't care. I take the side that communication is key with any kind of dispute. However, in a work environment confrontation can be uncomfortable and cause rifts between co-workers. If you don't feel it is your place to talk to Delores directly about her "hoarding", I would take the more passive-aggressive stance and have the administrative assistant/secretary send out a general email to all employees about food and break-room etiquette. It can be written as a reminder to general clean up guidelines along with taking single servings of treats brought into the office to make sure everyone has a chance to get a helping. An addition of, "whatever food is left over at the end of the day is free game for taking home is a respectable action", would give Delores the "go ahead" to take some home after everyone has had an opportunity to their fair share.

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