Off-Campus Lunch: Not as Innocent as You Think
I’ve been a part of my team for two years now, and I thought things were going great.
Actually, most of the time they are. Everyone gets along most of the time, we crack jokes and even have the weekly food order at a local restaurant.
You know what I’m talking about. The menu gets passed around, everyone writes down what they want, everyone pitches in and, voila, food has arrived. Sometimes it’s Chinese, sometimes it’s Chipotle, sometimes it’s sandwiches.
Well, every Wednesday for us is sandwiches. There’s a spot near the office that makes a great sandwich. So every Wednesday, the menu is passed around, everyone writes down what they want and everyone is happy 20-30 minutes later. This has been every Wednesday since I’ve been a part of the team. Remember, that’s two years.
Well, one Wednesday the organizer wasn’t working. A coworker came over and asked if I wanted to order sandwiches anyway. We ask around to see if anyone else is interested, no takers.
So he and I venture out and head to the shop. Upon arriving we’re greeted with the following:
EVERY WEDNESDAY: BUY 2 SANDWICHES, GET ONE FREE, PICK-UP ONLY
We were shocked. Naturally, we inquire. Come to find out, you’re only paying for four sandwiches if six are ordered. At about $7 a sandwich, that’s $14 a week. Do that, say, 45 times a year and you’re talking serious cash. We were being scammed by our coworker.
We came back to the office and stayed silent. On the walk back, the coworker told me he once asked to go with the scammer and he brushed him off — now we see why.
The next Wednesday, I watched him collect the money for the sandwich order (which I refrained from) and come back with the sandwiches and no change. What I already knew was confirmed.
So, what to do? On the corporate food chain, the scammer is higher than I. And I’ve always try to maintain a position of neutrality at work — I don’t need any squabbles with anyone; I’m there to do my job.
Naturally, I’m never ordering a sandwich on Wednesday from there again. But what about the people on my team? They’re continually getting ripped. This guy might be pulling in an extra $500 a year!
What should I do? Confront? Tell the coworkers behind the scammer’s back? Leave the scammer a note on the desk? Just drop it and continue the sandwich boycott?
How would you handle this? I need some input here.
And, I don’t want this to make anyone paranoid, but it might be worth auditing your lunch system, should your office have one.