Regionmom's thread about her poor kids who worked from morning to nearly midnight with one meal break brought this to mind. How can one politely assert the need to eat during the day?
I work very part-time for a retail establishment. My shifts often overlap a meal time, like 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Our owners do not offer meal breaks. I typically bring a sandwich and gobble it down in spurts while I'm looking for something in the stock room. It's not perfect, but it keeps my blood sugar level and my stomach growls silent. Plus, it helps that the owners are not on site to "catch" me eating.
However, there are occasions when the owners come in for day-long training or other projects. The owners will work a full day without taking a break for lunch, which is fine for them. The employees - most of the employees are high school and college aged - don't feel comfortable stopping to eat, because they're taking the lead from the owners. So you wind up with hungry, grumpy employees at the end of the shifts.
Is there any way to politely ask to take a quick break to eat, even though the owners themselves don't seem to need one? Please, let's not make this a legal argument. I've checked local laws, and they are not breaking any. I'm one of those people who really needs to have a midday meal, otherwise I get shaky and irritable. I have no problem clocking out for 10 minutes, so I don't expect to be paid while I eat. But I feel like such a wimp for asking.