Office Snacking Etiquette

During a long day at the office, you need some tasty treats to help you keep up that energy. Follow Modern Manners Guy’s 3 tips proper office snack etiquette.

Richie Frieman
Episode #226


Tip #2: The Snack Thief

Here's a quick checklist to find out if you are office snack thief:

  1. Do you wait until no one is around to grab a snack?

  2. Do you only eat and never contribute to the office snack stash?

  3. Do you dash in and out of the office snack area because you don't want to be seen taking seconds or thirds?

  4. Have you hid food in your cube and not shared it with your coworkers, even when everyone else shares with you?

Are you reading this list and thinking to yourself, "Wait a second…I do that!"? If you answered ‘yes” to any of these questions, then congratulations, you are the office snack thief!

Granted, sometimes we are all guilty of one or two of these infractions. We've all snuck in for seconds or thirds, but everyone said they were done, so why not? Or maybe you were cheating on your diet and didn't want to get caught with that extra piece of cake. That's fine, I won't judge you. Still, there are some people who time after time knowingly commit one or more of these and do not care to change. That is rude and that makes them office snack thieves.

An office is a place of sharing, not hoarding. If you have a large stack of printer paper you've been saving for when you run out, and your coworker needs some, you should share. If you have the only working stapler that doesn't get jammed, you should let others borrow it. And if you are taking part in office snacking, you should do your best to give back. I'm not saying you need to bring in a box of rare truffles from the South of France, but you should contribute a little.

For example, there is a woman at my work who makes her office open to her entire group for coffee and treats, in which I gladly partake. However, I'm always ready and willing to help maintain the stash. Be it a couple of bucks for refills or even just picking up a box of something tasty at the store while grocery shopping.

See also: The Case for Meal Planning  

And if you happen to be passing by an area of the office where you don't work but the cookies are too delicious to skip, then just ask. I doubt anyone will mind sharing and maybe down the line, you will be offered snacks more often. However, make sure you don't forget to return the favor.

Tip #3: Inappropriate Snacks

How many times have you been at your desk and thought to yourself, "What the ---- is that smell?"

Now, now, let's all be adults here. I'm not talking about the gassy coworker across the aisle (although that is an issue I'll touch on later), no I'm talking about that raunchy smell of snack food or microwaved contraption someone is eating.

Allow me paint a picture: You’re at your desk listening to the latest Modern Manners Guy episode, and right before you are about to comment on the Modern Manners Facebook page, you notice that a coworker has sidled up to your desk and is offering you fresh pork rinds. Now, I'm with you on bacon being delicious…but at work?

Bottom line for office snacks: Know your coworkers' tastes before bringing in a questionable snack. And don't roll your eyes, fried pork rinds ARE questionable.

I'm not going to sit here and say that you can't snack on whatever you like. You have the right to eat whatever you want. But if you're snacking on something just to pass the time and give you an extra boost in the afternoon, stick to something that isn't a distraction to others. You don't want to stink up the place with your fancy organic energy bars made of rare spices that are so potent, they clear not only your sinuses but your fellow coworkers down the hall. Or if you are snacking on something that you know a fellow coworker will get the dry heaves from, it's best to keep that at home. Stick to the basics or just ask before you bring something in that may be offensive to some noses.

Do you have a great story about bad office snack etiquette? Post all the details in the comment section below or on the Modern Manners Guy Facebook page. And check out my new book Reply All...And Other Ways to Tank Your Career and learn how to quickly climb the ladder of success (without putting your foot in your mouth).

As always, if you have another manners question, I look forward to hearing from you at manners@quickanddirtytips.com. Follow me on Twitter @MannersQDT, and of course, check back next week for more Modern Manners Guy tips for a more polite life.

Office Workers Eating Cake, Woman Eating Cookies and Bacon images from Shutterstock


About the Author

Richie Frieman
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