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AIBU to not go to a team meeting because I can't afford to buy lunch in the pub

(64 Posts)
jemjelly Thu 13-Feb-14 14:11:51

We usually have our team meetings in the office but this time some bright spark decided it would be nice and sociable to have our monthly team meeting in the pub. The managers all agreed and a menu was sent round the office last week, everyone was asked to have a look and add our food order so they could email it in and the food would be ready when we got to the pub.

I replied to the email and said I would not be able to go this time and one of my colleagues came to my desk and asked me why sad I had to admit to her that as my DH is unemployed and as I only work 20 hours a week I really can't afford it. I asked her to keep it quiet as I don't want the whole office to know my business.

As they were all leaving my boss said really loudly "oh are you not coming to the meeting jelly". I just mumbled no and he gave me a look, it was really embarrassing, I think he will mention this and ask me why I did not go when he gets back.

AIBU to think that I should not be expected to pay for food at a team meeting which is just for work when I only earn minimum wage and have better/more important things to spend my meager salary on.

Gileswithachainsaw Thu 13-Feb-14 14:14:50

Yanbu.

Usually businesses hire rooms don't they and pay fir catering?

No way would I go if I had to pay to be there.

BitsinTatters Thu 13-Feb-14 14:16:06

Isn't the office picking up the tab?

yanbu by any stretch but you should tell your manager so they don't think you're being obstructive for any other reason

Chin up xx

BrianButterfield Thu 13-Feb-14 14:16:43

I think you should just tell your boss that - it's not one to basically make you pay to go to a meeting! If it's a work thing, work should pay for refreshments and if it's a social thing, it shouldn't be in work time. I would begrudge paying even if I could afford it tbh - if I'm having a meal out I'd want to be with friends or family, not talking about work.

I assume you're not in an industry where "working lunches" are common? (And aren't they usually on expenses anyway?)

redskyatnight Thu 13-Feb-14 14:16:50

You could have gone and not had any food? (invent a big meal tonight or say that you don't want your packed lunch to go to waste). We have team events (socials rather than meetings tbh) in the pub and plenty of people don't bother with having food.

Pendeen Thu 13-Feb-14 14:19:52

YANBU.

Your boss is an idiot.

PuppyMonkey Thu 13-Feb-14 14:19:55

I would have just gone and had a glass of tap water.

MimiSunshine Thu 13-Feb-14 14:20:25

YANBU however i think you should have told your boss you weren't going and why. Not because you own anyone an explanation about your personal situation but it would have avoided that public questioning.

No one in my team would be able to not turn up to a team meeting without either having a meeting clash or by prior agreement so the 'look' may have been him wondering why you hadn't said anything

Gileswithachainsaw Thu 13-Feb-14 14:21:33

Why should op go hungry though? That would work if it's after work bit if it's over lunch then the op doesn't get to eat at all as presumably her own food wouldn't be allowed and she may not be able to eat at her desk.

ShatnersBassoon Thu 13-Feb-14 14:22:26

That's a shame. Very thoughtless of them. If they want a meeting to coincide with eating, they should cater.

Let them know that you'll go next time, but don't want to eat there.

Kendodd Thu 13-Feb-14 14:25:35

Are you sure work isn't picking up the tab?

If you don't want to talk to your boss, talk to HR about this. If it's a one off don't worry to much but it can't be allowed to become a regular thing unless work are paying.

Kendodd Thu 13-Feb-14 14:26:41

One other point, does this mean everyone then has to work though their lunch hour? Work should pay for this, did you check if they are.

CajaDeLaMemoria Thu 13-Feb-14 14:27:25

This happens where I work all the time - team meetings are always at the pub/Pizza Express/Subway, and everyone pays individually.

People who can't afford it usually just buy a drink, or a side snack. Eventually everyone does that at least once, so it's not too embarrassing.

It is annoying, though. You end up spending a fortune on food, and as we don't know about it until the day, most of the time I've already made lunch.

msmoss Thu 13-Feb-14 14:27:29

Are you sure that the food wasn't being expensed?

Whilst, it's unreasonable to make people pay for their lunch during a team meeting, I also think you should have spoken to your boss about this rather than just saying that you couldn't go. They can't solve a problem that they don't know about.

flowery Thu 13-Feb-14 14:27:32

Are you certain you were going to be expected to pay?

I agree you should have said to your manager when the idea was first mooted.

PuppyMonkey Thu 13-Feb-14 14:28:08

I'd have eaten my sandwiches before the pub. In fact, I'd have had my full lunch break before the pub on the basis that a team meeting is work and not a break.

jemjelly Thu 13-Feb-14 14:29:25

Not just me then. I did querry whether the office would be picking up the tab for the food but was told no, there is no budget for social activities at the moment.

We are all usually expected to attend team meetings which are usually held in the office but I would feel uncomfortable sitting in a pub with a glass of tap water when everyone else was having food, etc. My boss would probably have brought me a drink to be honest.

I think this was thought out by managers who are on a much larger salary than me and it probably just did not occur to them that I couldn't afford �5 or �6 for a pub lunch. I am a parttime secretary so earn pittance comparred to everyone else on my team. Yes I suppose I should have told my boss but I think this is my business. Hopefully next time they will think a bit more before assuming that everyone has the same level of spare cash to flash around sad Really annoyed about this.

flowery Thu 13-Feb-14 14:37:44

Presumably your boss knows how much you earn though, so it's not just "your business." If you earn very little it's not revealing anything personal if you say lunch out isn't within your budget.

They may well think a bit more before assuming everyone can afford it next time as long as they know why you didn't attend this time.

jemjelly Thu 13-Feb-14 14:53:56

I am quite a private person and hate people I work with knowing my business, I don't use facebook for the same reason. Money is so tight at the moment I can't even afford to pay my mortgage let alone a meal out even if it is a cheap one.

I just find the whole thing really cringeworthy and uncomfortable.

flowery Thu 13-Feb-14 14:56:45

But your boss already knows you are on a low salary, so the knowledge that you can't afford meals out isn't sharing any more of your business than he/she already knows. He/she will probably be mortified at having made the assumption in the first place.

mumbaisapphirebluespruce Thu 13-Feb-14 15:00:19

You should confide in your boss, unless there is a reason you don't think you can trust him/her to be sympathetic. I understand your reasons and that you are private, but he/she should understand and be discreet, or at the very least he could have treated you. Nothing to be ashamed of. Your boss is going to be aware of your salary, so it's not like you are disclosing anything out of the ordinary. By not going you are just making it look like you don't want to be part of the team.

mumbaisapphirebluespruce Thu 13-Feb-14 15:01:33

YABU. You should confide in your boss, unless there is a reason you don't think you can trust him/her to be sympathetic. I understand your reasons and that you are private, but he/she should understand and be discreet, or at the very least he could have treated you. Nothing to be ashamed of. Your boss is going to be aware of your salary, so it's not like you are disclosing anything out of the ordinary. By not going you are just making it look like you don't want to be part of the team.

EmmelineGoulden Thu 13-Feb-14 15:01:37

Jem there's no need to tell your boss you can't afford it. You can just tell him you won't be attending office meetings at your own expense because you think it is unreasonable. I have said as much (and that I think the arrangement is inappropriate and might put pressure on less well off colleagues) in a couple of situations when I could easily afford to pay, because I have no intention of subsidising my work - ever. I go to work in order to earn money for other things!

mumbaisapphirebluespruce Thu 13-Feb-14 15:02:07

You should confide in your boss, unless there is a reason you don't think you can trust him/her to be sympathetic. I understand your reasons and that you are private, but he/she should understand and be discreet, or at the very least he could have treated you. Nothing to be ashamed of. Your boss is going to be aware of your salary, so it's not like you are disclosing anything out of the ordinary. By not going you are just making it look like you don't want to be part of the team.

mumbaisapphirebluespruce Thu 13-Feb-14 15:02:21

YABU. You should confide in your boss, unless there is a reason you don't think you can trust him/her to be sympathetic. I understand your reasons and that you are private, but he/she should understand and be discreet, or at the very least he could have treated you. Nothing to be ashamed of. Your boss is going to be aware of your salary, so it's not like you are disclosing anything out of the ordinary. By not going you are just making it look like you don't want to be part of the team.

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