Potlucks Are The Worst!

Can we not and say we did?

December 11, 2018

Potlucks or whatever you call your communal food parties at work, I just don't like them - and they're just about impossible to get out of (believe me, I always try)... so I end up participating. I know there are people that have a deep love for potlucks and is why I can't seem to escape them in every place I've ever worked.

For me, I'm pretty particular around the concept of 'sharing food' - it just never interested me. I totally get that people bond over food, so lets BYOL (bring your own lunch) and chat. I'm not sure if my disdain for potlucks is a just-JMatt thing or if others feel similarly (gosh, I hope I'm not alone on this!), but here's my thought process around this work event.

First of all, when the potluck is announced, there's a signup and you don't want to be one of the few people that doesn't offer to bring anything and just shows up. No one likes a mooch (or to be perceived as one). Then if the potluck gets a low response, you get extra emails pressuring the holdouts to step up and offer to bring something and at that point, the easy stuff like drinks or plates are already scooped up. "Drinks" seems to be the quickest thing to go - then on the day of, Mike brings a case of bottled waters. Thanks... Mike.

Each workplace has the overachiever too, Teresa loves to take over the entire kitchen with slow cookers and spends her entire morning checking on the food - okay, her job for the day is no longer accounting, it's cooking. For every Teresa, there is also the underachiever, Rick forgot to bring his dish to pass again, so now 20 minutes before we start he's running to the nearby store to pick up his contribution.

Then after we've all enjoyed each other's company and tried all the dishes and made a collective mess, we meander back to our desks to try to avoid our food comas and be productive. But wait, who cleans up the mess? If you're lucky, multiple co-workers pitch in, but I've been in plenty of workplaces where it's left to the receptionist or the organizer. Not fun if that's the case.

Let's be real, the MVP of the potluck is the (sometimes reluctant) organizer, who is often in the thankless role of trying to bring co-workers together over a fun break from work. Meanwhile, I'm over here trying to strategically plan my vacation days to avoid potlucks altogether.

So there you have it, potlucks are the worst - change my mind! Haha, or agree with me... you can always hit me up on social media at @JMattMke (same handle on InstagramTwitterFacebook, and Snapchat).