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Rude to ask for a coworker's food?/Rude to refuse?


Rihannon
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Do you think it is rude for a co-worker to ask to have some of your: snacks, candy, lunch, drink?

 

Often times I have snacks, gum, food, and drinks at my desk. I also tend to eat lunch at my desk, and there is a little kitchenette near my office where I go to heat things up or prepare my food.

 

It's really common for certain people to ask to have some of what I'm eating. "Oooh, can I have some of your orange?" "Can I have a piece of that?" "That looks good, did you make it? Can I have a taste?" Sometimes people will see a closed package of something on a shelf in my office or just sitting near me, and ask to have some.

 

I always give it, because I can't think of a polite way to decline, but I personally think it's a bit rude. These people aren't my friends, we only ever talk about work or just the most generic of pleasantries like the weather and "do anything fun over the weekend?"-kinds of chit-chat.

 

Once or twice, someone has come to ask me if I have any candy or something like that, and I have lied and said "no" because it was hidden in my desk and I didn't want to share it. And I felt super miserly about that but then also annoyed that I had to hide it and lie. I have shared in such an instance before, but it was with someone I liked a little more, and who was more social with me, not just when he wanted something.

 

Most of the people I work with, they make more money than I do and they're superior in the hierarchy to my role. That shouldn't matter, I think it would still be rude even if it was the unpaid intern, but for some reason that does make it worse, because I think "Can't you buy your own snacks?"

 

I made this thread because just now I had a pack of fig newtons on my desk with two cookies in it. I forgot lunch today and had these in my desk so it was just a snack. I'd taken a bite of one when someone I work for came to my desk to ask about a certain policy. Mid-answer, she interrupted me and muttered, "Can I have one of those?" It took my a second to realize what she was asking for. I took the uneaten cookie out and handed it to her, trying not to look shocked.

 

What would you do, especially with repeat "beggars/moochers" (for lack of a better term)?

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Her: Can I have one of those?

You: Well, no, sorry. I forgot my lunch today and its all I have...Now, if you want to buy me lunch, my last cookie is all yours.

 

Either start eating in the kitchenette and hide all your snacks in your desk drawers or expect to share without resentment is my advice.

 

I used to keep a jar of individually wrapped mints on my desk for anyone to help themselves to. It tended to keep them away from the other things I may be eating in.front.of.them. Do you not think it's kind of rude to be eating in front of people without offering the people at least on both sides of you a little something?

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OMG, that would drive me crazy.

 

It's not necessarily "rude", but it's a bit....boundary crossing?

 

To reach for your last Fig Newton? Sheesh.

 

You have to just start saying no. Otherwise, you are seen as "Girl with Food to Share".

 

Just say "Oh, this is actually all I have for lunch today". You could say that you're tracking micros on MyFitnessPal, and you've entered your food precisely, or something like that. Of course, then you'd open yourself up to all sorts of other questions.

 

I'd just start saying "I'm so sorry, but it's all I have for today", and hide the rest. Rats stop coming around when the cheese is locked up.

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Do you not think it's kind of rude to be eating in front of people without offering the people at least on both sides of you a little something?

 

At a meeting: yes.

At lunchtime, on my breaks, or when I'm quietly working away in my own office not expecting someone to drop by: No.

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Her: Can I have one of those?

You: Well, no, sorry. I forgot my lunch today and its all I have...Now, if you want to buy me lunch, my last cookie is all yours.

 

LOLz! I love offering to let them buy me lunch!

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Make a joke of it. So from today, every person who asks you for your food - hand them a piece and tell them it's the last time. Say it with purpose and a slight joke.

 

Then when they cruise past again asking, you can say "NO". They won't ask again.

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On the upside, at least they ask. Lol. At my previous workplace, there was so much theft of lunches. One time in the lunchroom a guy literally picked up my co-workers coffee that she had in front of her and took a sip without asking.

Another time, my co-workers left over birthday cake, which was sealed up to go home with her, had gouges in it from someone eating it with their hand!

 

Hope that cheers you up ;)

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Wow. I've worked in a lot of places and just never seen this/heard about it. Here's how I have seen it work in certain places - people contribute to a communal candy/snack dish, various people keep bowls of fruit/candy/mints on their desks where it's obvious it's open for taking some -at my current job -I'm there once or twice a week - - I contribute candy to the communal candy dish -at least ,I did until they stopped having it!

 

My husband has had his leftovers stolen from the fridge more than once.

 

I would just keep your food out of sight and if possible if someone wants to meet and you are eating lunch ask if you can meet after lunch. If you're having a snack, put it away until you're done talking. Sorry you are experiencing this!

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That is super weird! I’ve actually never experienced someone coming up to me asking if they could have some of my food. It’s a bit off putting for sure, unless it’s someone I’m dating. Even then I tend not to ask until I’m offered a bite.

 

The furthest I’ve gone at work is send a message in a group chat if someone had an extra piece of gum they could throw my way. It’s actually making me chuckle to think about going up to a coworker and being like “yo bro your lunch looks legit, can I have some?”

 

But yeah I agree that you could say that you didn’t bring that much to eat and you want it to last you throughout the day and most people would understand. Maybe you’ve handed out so much, everyone assumes you’re the go to person for some extra snacks?

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The asking doesn’t happen but the food stealing does... one time I had bought some cheese and crackers for home on my lunch break, put them in the fridge, only to come back at the end of the day and discover they were gone. I’ve had lunches stolen as well. And we’ve had food stored for team potlucks stolen from the fridge because people some how think it’s a bloody free for all.

 

Offices can be such weird places I tell ya!

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The food stealing is pretty shocking! Do you think people know it's not supposed to be free and they just don't care? I guess I'm grateful that people are at least asking! I suppose that if I continue to say "yes" then people may start to assume the answer will always be "yes" and they might start taking it without even asking!

 

I only encountered one occasion of someone obviously intentionally stealing food at work: I worked retail and pleaded with a coworker to trade shifts with me around the holidays. She generously did, so that I could spend time with family. As a thank-you, I baked her a batch of cookies and left them in her mailbox in the staff-room. Someone went in and ate/took about half of them before she saw them. I noticed the bag around the plate was smushed down, and she hadn't even come back to work yet. I peaked in, and saw that half were gone. Grrr.

 

I did find out who took them though, just asking around. He said he saw them and thought they were going to be set out for everyone later, anyway. I accused him of being a thief and he said he wasn't a thief because "I just admitted I took them, why would I admit it if I was a thief?" The logic of some people baffles me. OK, you're an honest thief, you still took something that wasn't yours. And he said "It could have been someone else, though, so I don't know why you're being all mean to me." Ughhhh smh.

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Honestly, you need to get a bit of a backbone and tell these beggars..NO!

 

You're right, they're not your friends, you don't need to be giving them your food or snacks and it IS rude for them to be asking or expecting.

 

But you will get treated how you allow, and you've shown them that you will bend and give them whatever they ask for.

 

You need to start saying, no, and mean it.

 

Hey, your cake looks good, can I have some? Um, I was just going to keep this to snack on for the day, okay? So, no.

 

Can I have one of your candies? Not really, sorry.

 

It might feel crappy the first few times but the message will get across and they'll stop asking.

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If you have a candy dish on your desk, or a bag of candy you keep fishing your hand in the drawer for, I don't think its bad to ask for one. Asking for a bite of your lunch, however, is odd.

 

Thank you! I feel like I'm the crazy one if people don't agree.

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Thank you! I feel like I'm the crazy one if people don't agree.

 

I agree with the candy/lunch distinction.

 

And this thread gives food for thought and is a lot of fun! This as we go to attend the "cook off" a la Chopped Jr. at my son's camp where parents are supposed to volunteer to be taste testers -your coworkers would love it lol.

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Thank you! I feel like I'm the crazy one if people don't agree.

 

If someone said "oh, i have heard about that trendy food item, i have been meaning to try it. you will have to tell me what you think" its not impolite, and that lets you say "sure, i definitely will let you know' or "try a bite". But if they say "can i have a bite of your sandwich and they are not your child/niece or nephew who is 5 years old or your spouse, then it is a bit odd.

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I work in a small office of 60'ish people. We have a huge fridge for lunches, etc. but I use freezer packs and keep my lunch in my cube in a container. I never see anyone ask to take or try anyone's food, so odd and rude! Often we offer to share a bite of this or that. . . and many have candy dishes which are for public consumption....and we have a counter in our huge company kitchen - especially for freebies, leftover goodies from a party, things you don't want, etc. . . and we all know that is free for the taking. But ask for someone's food while they are eating it. . . . whaaa?

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Maybe I'm too much about the germ thing but I would never offer to share a bite of anything in a work situation. If I was having lunch outside the office at a restaurant and my food arrived and I hadn't eaten any yet in certain circumstances I might offer to a work friend to try it but would not like if someone asked me for a bite of my food in a work situation.

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