Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Kitchen Confidential

My company has an executive dining room. Well, it's not really a dining room but more of a converted conference room in which a few small tables have been arranged. They put out bagels, croissants, and coffee1 in the morning and during lunch there are aluminum trays of food from local restaurants.

I think it's the epitome of elitism to provide free food to those that make the most money. In fact, the whole thing sickens me. Or at least I did until I was promoted a few months ago. Now that I'm permitted to use the room, I think it's the greatest thing ever.

Anyway, that's not the point of the story. The point is that the kitchen supervisor is retiring next week. You may recall him from this incident or perhaps from this one. Needless to say, I'm not his favorite person - which is why I was surprised when he came to my office yesterday with a plate of food that he'd prepared for me in the hopes of - in his words - "patching things up between us" before he left.

We exchanged a few kind words, I asked about his retirement plans, we talked about his career, and then we ran out of things to say. As he sat there smiling through the awkward silence that had developed, I suddenly realized that he was waiting for me to begin eating the food he'd brought. About a millisecond later, I flashed back on a conversation that I'd overheard that morning in which some of the brokers were joking about what [employee name] might be doing to the food this week.

Thinking quickly, I stood up, shook his hand, and said "Thanks for the food. I'm getting ready to run to a meeting at the moment, but I'll heat this up and eat it later."

"Are you sure you don't want me to do that for you?" he asked. "You can't go into your meeting on an empty stomach."

I declined his offer and we said good-bye. When I was sure that he wasn't going to return, I tossed the plate in the garbage and spent the remainder of the day checking the garbage can to see if it had melted from whatever toxic cocktail he'd put in the food.

And you thought that being in HR was dull.

Cue dramatic exit music

1 Note to Braleigh: Please take special note of the Oxford comma.