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To eat soup at my desk with a metal spoon and a pottery bowl?

(187 Posts)
LovelyJudy Mon 21-Mar-11 20:44:53

I work part time and often prefer to have a quick lunch break at my desk while doing some personal admin/surfing. I usually have salad but sometimes if i have soup or something that needs heating up I put it in a bowl and eat it with a metal spoon/fork as appropriate.

Today a colleague of mine came over and very politely said that he found it intensely annoying to hear people eating in the office, as it makes him feel as though he's working in a restaurant, so wondered whether it was reasonable to ask me to either use plastic cutlery/dishes, or eat hot food elsewhere.

I don't know - is he over sensitive? I'm inclined to stop doing it, because even if he's irrational i don't want him sitting there feeling annoyed. Also i know it's healthier to get up and go and eat elsewhere. but i don't always have time....

elspartacus Thu 24-Mar-11 08:03:05

YANBU. Not your fault that you didn't know he has selective sound sensitivity syndrome.

anonymum11 Wed 23-Mar-11 23:21:48

YANBU - We have a new eating area in our office, and most people still choose to eat at their desks even when they've bought hot food - including me. I can't see a problem with it, although I do try not to have anything strong smelling as that would annoy me.

A1980 Wed 23-Mar-11 22:48:07

I think your colleageu is being OTT with the soup.

At our office brining your own food in is what most people do. We're in a recession, buying food out is expensive, our lounge area is small and does not have space for everyone to sit at lunch.

I generally make a sandwich or pasta. The sandwich doesn't smell at all as it's cold food. The pasta tends to have a tomato based sauce which isn't obnoxious, smell wise. Hygeine wise, I clear my papers away and I have hand wipes at my desk. I also put a couple of layers of kitchen roll down on the desk before i eat. I don't eat off the desk surface.

However some of my colleagues really piss me off not by eating at their desks but WHAT they eat. Some of the younger admin staff bring in fast food. Other cook themselves full meals in the tiny kitchen we have. They bring in the fish, the vegetables, a can of boiled potatoes and they prepare it on the tiny surface we have in the kitchen. It's barely big enough for 2 people to make coffee. Another girl constantly makes very strong smelling curry. Many people bring in left overs from dinner the night before. Another girl microwaves a sweet potato every day and puts mackerel on it from a can. The mackerel can is of course put in the bin and stinks the kitchen out all afternoon. It's disgusting.

What I don't understnad is why people need two full hot meals a day? Are they starving? Do they have to prepare a huge hot meal for lunch?

justpaddling Wed 23-Mar-11 22:29:18

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

constantlywrong Wed 23-Mar-11 21:44:37

We've got a cafe, tis just round the corner - in an office with hundreds of employees, there are usually no more than 15 in there at one time. Guess pretty much everyone eats out/at their desk.

In fact, a very large percentage have cereal boxes on their desk heh

bitsyandbetty Wed 23-Mar-11 21:04:06

I eat at my desk every day and nearly always have. There is not canteen or even a room you can go to to eat so at my desk it is.

basana Wed 23-Mar-11 20:28:58

Lunch at desk totally acceptable in my office (and for some, breakfast and dinner too...). I think YANBU at all. He is.

PavlovtheCat Wed 23-Mar-11 20:17:22

"anyone "working through" and eating isn't really working"

I guess that applies to the type of work you do. Because in my job I am a master at typing long reports one handed or between bites of food, and a lot of job involves reading CPS docs and other such exciting reads, I can do that while stuffing my face full of curry!

MotherOfHobbit Wed 23-Mar-11 20:07:03

Everyone in my office eats at their desks...I'm in the sort of industry where taking a lunch break is seen to be slacking sad

slipperandpjsmum Wed 23-Mar-11 19:26:32

How nice that people have time to get so worked up over nothing. We have to eat and work at the same time. No where to go to eat, expectation we don't take a lunch break.

You carry on! Ignore the over sensitive tosser!

evilgiraffe Wed 23-Mar-11 17:02:38

Oh blimey, who knew it was such an issue?! I eat my lunch at my desk, because it's the only peace and quiet I get all day. I'm in the lab the rest of the time, and the canteen is crazy busy/noisy, so I have my soup at my desk while browsing the internet or reading. I suppose it would be different if it was the sort of office you're in all day though.

ninani Wed 23-Mar-11 15:46:50

People can be so selfish! They expect you to eat junk food just because they can't bear the smell!

And I am a person who gets REALLY ANGRY (although I have never complained) when I hear people making noises when they eat (or sleep). But after I had my children I try to be more understanding. This is MUMSNET after all isn't it??

I actually try to feel happy thinking "oh, this poor creature has had a busy day and is now enjoying some food!". People, tell others: "ENJOY YOUR FOOD" and give them a smile .. I have observed my husband saying nice things to people who is more civilised and understadning than I am.

Soup?? I am rushing to the kitchen for some right now!!

Scholes34 Wed 23-Mar-11 14:12:31

So, are you working, Rebeccaruby, or just sitting at your desk giving the impression of working so you can leave at 5 on the dot when you're sometimes eating or doing a Tesco shop?

Rebeccaruby Wed 23-Mar-11 13:57:16

I work in a small office where we don't have a separate room for eating. Well, we can use the meeting room, but we don't bother. I don't eat hot food but other people do, and I don't mind. I take the point other posters have made about it being healthy to take a break from your desk, but I would rather do some work and leave on the dot of five than stay late. Also, sometimes I use my lunchbreak to stay at my computer and do an online Tesco shop, which frees up my spare time at home.

OP, I think your colleague is being rather sensitive!

Scholes34 Wed 23-Mar-11 13:48:23

Got my own office. Got a staff canteen providing a free three course meal every day. Can take soup or sandwiches back to the office, but it feels totally unprofessional if people call in and catch you whilst you're eating and not pleasant if food smells hang in the air. We're not paid during our lunch break, and anyone "working through" and eating isn't really working. Take a break - if only for 10 or 15 minutes - and go elsewhere.

lucjam Wed 23-Mar-11 12:54:52

Just eating a yoghurt, having just polished off a ww ready meal. No one here cares, we all eat at our desks. It's not unusual on a monday for several people to be eating re-heated Sunday lunches, yorkshire pudding an all!!

MadameOvary Wed 23-Mar-11 12:41:00

Sherbet - my DP also snorts rather than blow his nose.
I take your AAAGGHHH and raise you FUCKING STOP IT.

sherbetpips Wed 23-Mar-11 12:37:21

MadameOvary - throat clearing AAGGGHHH - my MIL is living with us at the moment, the first hour of the day is dedicated to throat clearing, my DH then feels the need to join in with a bit of hawking involved - AAAGGHHH

sherbetpips Wed 23-Mar-11 12:33:15

It isnt really up to you or home. If the HR policy is that desk eating is allowed then you have the right to do so.
The sound of people eating also turns my tummy a bit (I have a colleague who will happily munch an apple in a meeting whilst talking with bits flying out of his mouth - gross) however we work in a busy office and dont always have time to go out to eat lunch.
Check with HR if their is a policy or guidance on this matter, he doesnt need to be involved.

thinkingkindly Wed 23-Mar-11 12:04:22

It is unprofessional to eat hot food at your desk. Lots of people do it, but it is weird. Used to work for someone who would heat up shepherd's pie and vegetables etc and then eat at her desk with knife and fork. It's just plain weird.

MadameOvary Wed 23-Mar-11 12:00:54

Oh God people smacking their lips and slurping next to me - cant stand it. I worked in a small office where the woman next to me would do this - I'd have to go to the file room and invent some tasks till she'd finished.
And then there was the Facilities Manager who cleared his throat every five minutes HEM-HEM. He could also be seen unzipping his flies on the way to the loo - niiiiice.

ThePippy Wed 23-Mar-11 10:24:28

I think if there was no canteen/rest facility (as in my office) then I would say eating at your desk is essential not just acceptable, but I would definitely try to be understanding of other people's feelings when it comes to strong smells, which hot foods tend to create more than cold.

However, as you mention there is a canteen I think it is perfectly reasonable for people to ask you to use that instead of eating at your desk.

MooMooFarm Wed 23-Mar-11 10:01:24

I would eat a quick sandwich or biscuit at my desk if pushed but not a bowl of soup. I'm just imagining all the slurping and scraping round to get the last bits and I would find that annoying too - sorry. Why can you not just use a plastic spoon?

It's not good for you to sit in front of your screen without a break all day anyway. If he really wants to be a PITA he could complain about it to HR and would actually have a point (health & safety wise, anyway).

HipHopopotomus Wed 23-Mar-11 09:58:22

I've had to eat at my desk in most jobs I've had unless I wanted to leave the building, go to cafe etc.

Never really had a problem apart from once, when I shared an office with my assistant - he was truly the most awful, noisy open mouth, dribbly, sniffy, food everywhere, disgusting eater I have ever encountered. It was fucking awful and caused a huge amount of tension not to mention made me feel sick. Of course I had to speak with him about it and he just thought I was mad & didn't change his behaviour one bit. Mind you he couldn't even drink tea without slurping, sniffing and spilling it everywhere - goodness knows what his home was like. Eventually the level of bed feeling got so high I had him moved out of my office.

Ciske Wed 23-Mar-11 09:47:55

Considering he asked you very politely and it's clearly an issue for him, I would compromise and stop doing it, or use plastic spoons as you already suggested.

There is no reason to turn it into an office war like some people on this thread suggest, especially if your colleague isn't out for one and just wants this minor issue resolved.

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