General Etiquette > All In A Day's Work

Our treats aren't your buffet

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I work in a small department (10 people) at a larger office (100ish people). Our department (OD) is a far corner of the building and surrounded by a large buffer zone between us and other departments. Basically, the only time non-OD staff are in our area is if they make a specific trip here, and that is next to never.

Well OD decided to all bring homemade treats to share for halloween. Everyone brought something, and the amount was enough for OD plus a little extra for people to take home to share with our families.

I guess non-OD people saw us carry in our treats because less than an hour later, Pam from department Z shows up because "I heard you had goodies." She proceeds to fix herself a big plate without asking. She also mentions that someone in department A brought cake and she was going to get some of that too.    :o We would never consider helping ourselves to treats from other departments. A few other non-OD people came by and helped themselves as well after Pam shared news of our snacks, meaning we had no extras to share with our families like we planned.

We were pretty miffed that people came by and took a bunch off food uninvited, without contributing. Would this bother you or should we have anticipated treat-seekers from other departments?

Harriet Jones:
Is there any reason why you couldn't have said something to her?

I agree with Harriet Jones. Say something, "Hi Pam. We're having a private department party. Only the people from our department who contributed are invited to partake." If you couldn't get to her as soon as she entered the area, then someone should have either hidden the food or restricted access to anyone else who came after. That said, I would be more miffed at someone taking home treats to their family than I would a random coworker coming up for one.

We get that a lot at our office, but due to the open office plan, there is no buffer zone. There are a few people who are always mooching food off of other teams.

Mom and her team have found a simple way of stopping them. Before they can get to the plates, ask them what they brought to share.

Or if someone shows up because they heard you had goodies, stand physically between them and the goodies in question. "Yes, Pam, we brought food for our department. If you'd like to have a food day, please plan it with your own department, this food is only for the people who work here. Now is there anything else I can help you with?"

I don't thinking taking a big plate (larger than what others are taking) of anything is quite right. But I don't think I'd mind as much considering that it is Halloween. Somehow, going department to department and munching on goodies seems appropriate for today.


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