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chelle21689's avatar

How would you deal with work potluck freeloaders?

Asked by chelle21689 (5208 points ) April 22nd, 2014 from iPhone

My work is having a “healthy” potluck, I’ll be making chili. So it’s tomorrow and I asked the receptionist in charge who was bringing what.

I saw the list and just FOUR people are bringing something out of the 40+ people on our side of the building! Even on the list it’s just cut fruit, veggie dip, and bean dip… Sad potluck. We were going to cancel but some wanted to continue it.

So now I feel like it’s so unfair that we make food while tons of people who aren’t contributing eat… Soooo I just made a small pot of chili instead of a huge pot to feed everyone…

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23 Answers

talljasperman's avatar

What my mom does in her retirement home is to charge $5 for not bringing anything.

Coloma's avatar

Why not just post a sign at the entrance to your dining zone that says..“If you haven’t contributed a dish, you don’t eat!”
Then the 4 of you can go for glutton heaven and the misers can go hungry. Simple….just do it, and next time the freeloaders can decide of they want to eat/participate or not.
40 people cannot break bread from 4 contributors unless they bring Jesus to provide the loaves and fishes. lol

chelle21689's avatar

I can’t make the say. The person who created the even isn’t even contributing lol

chelle21689's avatar

Is it weird that now I’m worried how I’ll look for bring a small pot? Haha

Coloma's avatar

@chelle21689 Just leave a bowl of jelly beans for the freeloaders with a sign..” Jellybeans for freeloaders. haha

Cruiser's avatar

You might be pleasantly surprised to see other step up. I would also ask how well this concept was promoted to the entire staff. Plus the notion of “healthy” is vague even foreign and even evil to many so perhaps just a simple pot luck would be a better option for more to feel comfortable bringing a dish to share.

To want to have a “healthy” pot luck IMO would have to have extra “oomph” behind it and maybe even prizes for the employees that met certain criteria of what healthy means. Again healthy is often unfun from many folks but it can be truly amazing when healthy foods are prepared properly and IMO that takes a lot of skill and knowledge not many have.

chelle21689's avatar

You’re right cruiser

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

This isn’t a situation where it is worth having feathers ruffled. You have done your part by contributing and participating.

Our dept. used to hold pot-lucks, and what we learned over time was to have a sign-up sheet. It put a bit of pressure on those that wanted to attend but weren’t initially willing to contribute. We also offered the opportunity to those that just wanted to plunk down a monetary amount towards the main, like a ham or turkey. The sign-up sheet also allotted spaces for people to bring plates, utensils, etc.

For those that freeload, let them live in their rationality for their behavior. Maybe they will learn a lesson of good grace from yours.

Cruiser's avatar

@chelle21689 70% of my companies employees are Hispanic and if I were to steer them in a direction of a pot luck that is foreign to them we all would starve that day. We have pot-lucks twice a month in the summer and I am more than happy to devour their Arrachera and fried Catfish tacos with all the accouterments they surprise us with is the simple joy of what we all share near and dear to our hearts….IMO no need to make pot-lucks an Olympic event.

Coloma's avatar

I’ll bring my famous cashew cole slaw.

Dan_Lyons's avatar

You never know who will surprise you with meals who never said they would.

Also, it isn’t so bad to be feeding all these people even though they offer nothing in return except for friendship and love.

hmmmm…cashew cole slaw….sounds heavenly

ninjacolin's avatar

Just bring the ingredients instead of the completed dish.

ragingloli's avatar

Why are you bringing chili to a “healthy” event?

jca's avatar

I know it’s late to the game because the party is today, but I used to organize a lot of things like this at my previous job and had the same dilemma. I asked a Q on Fluther about it – don’t have time to research and find it now but I will, later.

First, if you go (or went) around to each person and ask them personally, many might have intentions of bringing something but just not signed up yet. So that’s one help.

Also, the implied “thing” was that if people don’t bring something, they don’t eat. What would happen is that the non-cookers would lurk like vultures and after everyone who brought took their food, the non-cooker vultures would descend and help themselves. It didn’t pay for us to get mad, since we’d already taken our fill, but it definitely defeats the meaning and purpose of a pot luck. The meaning of a pot luck is everyone brings something and there’s a huge quantity and variety of food for all.

It was tiring dealing with trying to organize a party for people who wanted to eat but didn’t want to contribute. I made a big effort not to let it bother me. I will definitely find the Fluther question and link it, later.

Please post an update as to how it turned out. You may find a few that didn’t put themselves on the list but who show up with food.

trailsillustrated's avatar

huh?? I hate potlucks!! I hate em!! so I might nibble or if I can escape the whole thing I will. I will never, ever bring anything I hate em and I think it’s the most stupid thing I have ever heard of…If I can’t leave which I try, I’m going to eat the least revolting of the food.

SadieMartinPaul's avatar

I would NEVER eat potluck food. I’ve done too much door-knocking for political and charitable causes. People who bathe every day, wear clean clothes, and look nice might have unbelievably squalid homes. I’ve seen some kitchens that are so filthy and unsanitary, it made me feel ill to be near them. You really don’t know.

Having said all that, I wouldn’t start a war, or deliberately insult your colleagues, over this matter. Not every battle’s worth fighting, and you’ll still need to work with these people the next day. Just don’t participate in any future potluck events. Don’t cook or bring anything, and don’t eat the food that’s offered.

jca's avatar

@SadieMartinPaul: I think the OP wants more people to participate, not to avoid the events.

Skaggfacemutt's avatar

In a normal potluck, each person brings a dish, but not enough for 40 people. If all your co-workers brought it a normal potluck-sized portion, there would be plenty. So, what I would do is bring a crockpot full of your chili, and when it’s gone, it’s gone. Same with the other 3 who are bringing food. That should send a message to the freeloaders.

hug_of_war's avatar

This happens sometimes at my job. I just let it go. I’ve got bigger fish to fry.

ninjacolin's avatar

^ nice, can I have some?

keobooks's avatar

Some of your employees may be single with no cooking skills at all. Let them bring paper plates or drinks or anything store bought. When I was young and single, I didn’t own a casserole dish and had no idea how to cook anything other than boiled eggs. When there was a potluck at work, I always bought a tray of vegetables or cookies or something from the grocery store down the road.

jca's avatar

@keobooks: I think it’s a given that if people can’t cook, they can bring something store bought.

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