Do Your Eating Habits Make Your Co-Workers Want to Punch You in the Face?

Picture this: it's lunchtime and the office kitchen is crowded with people using the microwave. The smells start to aggregate. A Lean Cuisine here. Leftover lo mein there. Then, before anyone can intervene, some fool coworker commits the biggest offense of all: he or she reheats last night's trout dinner. For the rest of the day, the office smells like the deck of a fisherman's vessel on a hot day.

Have you been a victim of Smelly Food? Or worse, are you the perpetrator — the insensitive, clueless turkey who burns the everloving daylights out of microwave popcorn, allowing that awful artificial-butter-on-fire smell to permeate the office? If so, it’s time for an intervention, PayScale-style. We asked our friends, family, and co-workers here at PayScale to share their lists of most annoying eating habits of their coworkers.

Foods That Drive Us Crazy 

  • Reheated fish. Because gross. 
  • Burnt popcorn. Fastest way to lose microwave privileges forever. 
  • Microwaved boiled cabbage. Can you not smell that?
  • Broccoli. Save it for your house, please. It’s too pungent for the office. 
  • Corn Nuts. When chewed, these sound like tiny, yet very real, landmines of crunch that make people twitch. Plus, Corn Nut breath is highly offensive.
  • Any loud, crunchy food, actually. Things that made the list: apples, chips, even ice. Please quit crunching ice. (Note: this author loves apples, so I rallied the PayScalers who share desk space near me to declare our area an Apple Friendly Zone. Life is good in the AFZ.)

People That Drive Us Crazy

  • The Mannerless: Chewing with your mouth open, smacking your food, talking with your mouth full, leaving crumbs everywhere. Have you no dignity?
  • Slurpers. Whether you are drinking tea or enjoying soup, please do so quietly, without those sloppy sounds that make people sick. 
  • Meal Commenters: “That looks disgusting.” “How can you eat that?” And the worst, “That is so fattening!” You can just keep your opinions to yourself while I eat my Dorito-Donut in peace, thank you.
  • Slobs: You are a grownup, sir or madam. Wash your dishes. 

But the worst thing that can happen in the office, when it comes to food? My favorite response comes from Aubrey, a PayScale co-worker: 

“I hate having to sit in a conference room full of extra-aromatic cookies when I should not eat cookies because I had two plates of cheese for dinner. But that may be too personal.”

Tell Us What You Think

Is your biggest office-food pet peeve not listed here? Share your misery on Twitter using the hashtag #CasualFriday. Go ahead, vent a little. You’ll feel so much better. 

Burnt popcorn

(Photo Credit: Smile, It’s Shan/flickr)