Does anyone else hate workplace pot-lucks as much as I do?

There is a lady at work who is going out on maternity leave this Friday and the whole office if getting together and having a potluck lunch for her. The very though of it makes me shudder. I’ve always been wary of food that may have been prepared under questionable circumstances. I eat out in restaurants all the time and it doesn’t bother me, but I think about the 50 people in our department; the way some of them dress/appear makes me want to hit the Taco Bell drive thru on Friday.

I think it all started when I was involved in a potluck many years ago. There was a lady in our department who was smelly. One day we had a potluck and she was in our break-room loading up her plate. After she did that, she sat down at the SAME table where all the food was. She was gobbling down the food and crumbs were dropping from her mouth all over the table. I quickly suggested that she move to a more comfortable area, but the psychological damage had already been done.

Is there anyone else who hates work pot-lucks? I hate to be an outsider, so I always sign up to bring something like paper plates or something, but I never participate.

Preach it, Brother!

Why do I want to eat food made by people who let dirty, disgusting cats prance around on the counters? Or filthy smokers? Or people who use “Miracle Whip”?

There is always hair in pot-luck food.

I rarely if ever participate, both because it’s often difficult to tell whether the food other people are bringing is vegetarian and because office potlucks strike me as being a way to phony up workplace camaraderie.

God, I hate them. I make a point to bring meat dishes to vex the vegetarians who annoy me.

I’ve never had one. At any office where I’ve ever worked we’ve always gone out to a café or restaurant. The idea just seems incredibly cumbersome.

We’re very food-oriented where I work. The people in our wing of the office have a monthly potluck to celebrate that month’s birthdays, a big group has a daily “Lunch Bunch” that takes turns cooking for each other, and I’m on the committee that throws the parties (spring picnic, Fourth of July cookout, Thanksgiving potluck, etc.). We’re surrounded by a lot of really good cooks who also seem to practice good hygiene. The few who don’t cook tend to bring in good prepared foods from delis and bakeries, so it’s never really bothered me here. I’ve worked at other places where I might have worried, because I am a germophobe by nature, but it’s like working at a restaurant here.

I always signed up to bring plates, plasticware, cups, and napkins.

I don’t give a rats ass about how hygienic people are. Some of the best food I have ever eaten has been in questionable places. That is why I maintain an immune system and it serves me well. I also don’t care about cross-referencing the ingredient list against my personal list of approved substances. That is for the high-maintenance, self-absorbed, passive aggressive set and that isn’t quite as endearing as it sounds on paper.

What pisses me off is that the concept is poor and the money and time are much better spent on paid catering even on a small scale. It is a poor use of resources. A group of 40 people making an average of 50K spending an hour each on such a thing represents about $1000 in effort without even mentioning the ingredients. That could buy some kick-ass catering. That is why we don’t have white-collar workers to empty their own trash cans and clean the bathrooms every night. There are people that can do it much better and cheaper.

Some say the purpose is to make a personal connection with others via food. That concept is FUBAR on delivery as well. I am from Louisiana and me and my wife (well mainly just her) know how to make some kick-ass authentic Louisiana dishes that we use during our own entertaining. The problem is that even Jambalaya and Gumbo take hours correctly done and a pot of gumbo for 40 people can cost $150 or more because it takes an awful lot of seafood to fill that pot.

Most people don’t appreciate it anyway because we are surrounded by cretins, the poorly raised, the timid, and those with self-described eating disorders that span the rainbow. The time and money are much better spent just ordering a bunch of pizzas with a veggie option thrown in for good measure. There is no need to make it some perverted, forced, multi-cultural Thanksgiving for the captives. The company should just pay for it if they want to see the little Indians dance that jig.

Oh my goodness… This creepy bachelor I used to work with brought in some green chili one time. Looked pretty good, so I plopped a spoonful onto my plate and prepared to wander off. Then I noticed a smell. A smelly smell. A smelly smell that smelled… smelly.
I checked the bottom of my shoes, convinced I had stepped in something. Then started examining other peoples shoes, asking if they smelled it. All in the area did, yet none of us had anything foul on our shoes. Perplexed, I sat down and was about to take a bite when I realized the smell of rancid litter box came from the green chili.

I now eat only what I, or a select group of good cooks in the department, bring in.

The plural of “pot-luck” is “pots-luck”. Like “courts martial”, “Governors General” and “Procurators Fiscal”.

The hell with that! I hear you can buy off vegetarians for cheap. Hand 'em each a $5 bill and all the more pizza for us carnivores.
ducks and covers

The last place I worked loved to have pot luck lunches, but every single day in the bathroom I would hear people flush and then leave without washing their hands. I NEVER wanted to touch anything in that building, let alone food prepared by some of these people! Catering is a much better option. That way not only is the food handled by people who are trained/required by law to maintain sanitary conditions, but then everyone bears the brunt of the cost equally and one person doesn’t show up with two huge lasagnas while someone else shows up with plastic cups.

I usually participate - but there’s no pressure in my office, and they aren’t exactly daily (or even monthly) events.

We do have one employee who is a food toucher - we usually hustle her to the back of the line & everyone is aware of her.


I actually tried to put out individual servings when I brought it, and I brought in food because I liked to cook. The alternative was no treats. The persons that didn’t want stuff I made were and still are welcome to buy vending machine donuts.

I do check out who made stuff, because I don’t want cat hair. I pointed out the cat hair to people after break, because it would have been rude to point it out in front of the person that brought it. :smiley: Gotta love me.

I used to work in a factory where this was a monthly thing, and I never had a problem eating the food other people brought in. My deal was that I started decorating cakes on the side at a semi-professional level and brought in a few for practice in the beginning. After that I was pressured to bring a cake to every single baby shower, retirement party, and holiday dinner. I was WISHING I could throw together a casserole by the time I quit, but everyone was always so puppy-doggy, asking me for cake, and I’m a great big pussy.

We have WAY too many potsluck (really?) at my job. The absolute worst, by far, is the baby shower potluck. Then we have to bring out the chairs from the kitchen to line the hallway as we sit there with paper plates on our laps and ooh and aah at all the cutesy Walmart outfits. Kill me. Kill me now.

We had one lady that worked there for a long time who was really into it. She’d organize one every chance she got- and they were sometimes color-themed. For instance, for a Spring Potluck you had to bring a food that was green or yellow or pastel. Come Christmas it was red or green foods only. And your food had to be pre-approved by her and added to her list. She’s gone now, so here’s hoping we’ll be reducing the number of them that we have (but those babies never stop coming!) and they will be more sane.

I’m somewhat of a germaphobe when it comes to food, so I spend the mornings of potluck days walking around, asking people, “Um, were you gonna leave your casserole/enchiladas/chilequiles/whathaveyou sitting out on the table until lunch? Oh. 'Cause that’s like, 4 hours away, and did you know unless food is kept at either above 160 or below 40 degrees, bacteria multiplies at an alarmingly rapid rate. Ok, thanks!”

And another thing, why they always gotta have them on payday? That means that the day before payday I’m having to make enough food for 25 people! I just started bringing soda nowadays- but not generic, that’s just nasty.

We have one or two a month where I work, usually for birthdays or farewells. Generally, shower-type things are held outside the workplace; many of my co-workers are first-generation Filipino immigrants, and they seem to know and spend time with each other socially outside of work as well as at work. There is not much pressure to participate; it’s understood that we’re a big department and nobody should have to bring food to celebrate the birthday of someone they barely know.

The overwhelming Asian-ness makes the potluck offerings really good, IMHO. (My co-workers know I can be bribed with lumpia.) Some people bring homemade, some people pick up something at a restaurant. I usually bring a prawn ring from the deli. I’m a little wimpy about some of the stuff (the deep-fried whole shrimp with eyeballs were a little much) but overall I love it when we have a potluck.

I hate potato salad, what was the question?

Never had a potluck in Spain; in the places where I have, there were sixteen variations on potato salad. So everybody gulped down my non-potato-salad dish while I tried to find anything else non-potatoed. After the first time, I’ve learned to make sure I grab some of my own dish first, if I start seeing lots of potato salad.
Alice, you’re at not much risk with enchiladas. One of the reasons spicy food is so prevalent in hot countries is because the peppers are anti bacterial.

Every time we have anything like that, everybody else seems to bring pre-packaged stuff they just bought at the shop - I’m typically the only one that prepares something at home to bring in (under quite sanitary conditions - I’ve had training in food hygiene).

But I don’t really have a big hangup about it anyway. What diseases are you honestly going to catch from eating a ham sandwich that someone else briefly touched twenty seconds ago?

I used to find them OK…then once we had one at work and, even though I am a picky eater, I must have been less-than-picky that day.
I felt sick all afternoon and hit the restroom probably four times in four hours. I wasn’t the only one.

Since then, I opt out or else I go eat somewhere else at lunch and show up bringing desert and maybe eat a store-bought cookie. Too bad, as some of those people made some great home-style food…I still dream of the banana-cream pie/casserole dish one woman brought, but was sworn to secrecy by her grandmother when it came time to share recipes.