General Question

tinyfaery's avatar

Is it wrong for me not to contribute to bosses day?

Asked by tinyfaery (41958points) 1 week ago

Every year at my firm the assistants (basically everyone who is not an attorney) chip in for a lunch and small gifts to celebrate bosses day. I chipped in last year because I had only been working here about 6 months and I didn’t want to come across badly. The lunch was heavily meat based and I had serious qualms about using my money for an industry I do not support. Assistant also eat the lunch, but I did not.

This year I am thinking about not contributing because I spend my life trying to keep my actions and my dollars from contributing to the exploitation of animals. I guess I’m still somewhat concerned about how this might come across; I am asking this question. But people know me now and might accept or even support me decision.

So what do ya’ll think?

General question.

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43 Answers

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snowberry's avatar

Oh, for heavens sake! Contribute already! You’d have to contribute in order to attend the dinner!

Cupcake's avatar

I think expecting the least paid people to buy lunch for the whole staff, including the highest paid people, is offensive. I would not participate on those grounds. I have no issue with you not participating because of your beliefs about animal welfare.

An alternative would be to request that your contribution funds a selection of plant-based foods.

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

I wouldn’t contribute, and I would thoroughly explain. Perhaps they will add some vegetarian/vegan options to the fare.

@snowberry I can drive to 2 grocery stores that do not sell meat.

snowberry's avatar

@Hawaii_Jake Amazing, but as I recall, you live in Hawaii. I’ve lived all over the continental US, and with the exception of a farm stand that only sells produce during the growing season,, I’ve never heard of one.

KNOWITALL's avatar

Perhaps you could offer to make a vegan option as your contribution/ gift.

wiscoblond's avatar

I don’t think it’s wrong. I agree with cupcake.

@snowberry I live in the upper Midwest, in Madison, Wisconsin, and we have many places here that don’t sell meat. This city is heaven for vegans.

snowberry's avatar

@wiscoblond They certainly aren’t common, but perhaps the OP is fortunate enough to live in such a place.

canidmajor's avatar

I agree with @Hawaii_Jake, I would not contribute and I would thoroughly explain. Maybe give a card to the bosses as a gesture of good will, or something.

@snowberry having to shop for food and choosing a restaurant are very different. The food shopping is necessary, and accessibility to grocery stores can be an issue. Eating in a restaurant is very rarely necessary.

JLeslie's avatar

My opinion is contribute.

Can you have any influence regarding what is ordered? My guess is a lot of people would appreciate vegetarian options put out on the table. In fact my preference is vegan options. At minimum two. Salad, or rice and beans, or green beans, roasted vegetables, cous cous, whatever. Lacto ovo vegetarian is even easier to satisfy people, pizza without meat toppings, macaroni and cheese, even the meat eaters eat those.

I watch my meat intake for health reasons, I don’t like side dishes laden with mayo or cheese, that’s why I like the vegan options. Lots of people feel the same.

ragingloli's avatar

You already contribute enough by putting in the work you are contractually obliged to.
I find the fact that the lowest paid employees are compelled to pay tribute to their oh-so-gracious boss, while the people who get all the dough and glory get their feet kissed and worshipped, incredibly sick and macabre.

JLeslie's avatar

Did I misunderstand? Isn’t the food ordered in for an office lunch? How much is the contribution? $5—$10? If it’s more it’s too high in my opinion.

nerdgirl578's avatar

Judging by what you wrote, I think you should not chip in under those circumstaces. You’re against eating meat which is an opinion I respect on several levels, I think you should stand up for yourself and explain the reason why. Like others have said, at least some people there will probably support you as well. With that said I also understand your concern.

longgone's avatar

Tricky. I understand the feeling and would be very much tempted not to contribute. However, all that will mean is a little less money in the pot and some potential hostility coming your way.

Considering that cheap meat generally means more cruelty, I wonder if this path is the best way to make an impact. Could you possibly bring up your concerns with the people in charge of organizing? Most bigger businesses have some sort of fake conscience you could bring up. Maybe the bosses would like some donations for their gifts this year? Maybe the whole lunch could be moved to an environmentally-friendly restaurant? Maybe you can find a conscientuous caterer who could take over?

I agree with @ragingloli about the general ridiculousness, but that’s beside the point.

jca2's avatar

I see participating in events like that as a good will gesture. @JLeslie makes a good point that it is probably a minimum contribution per person. I would think ten dollars max, out of your pocket, is not excessive and it is only once a year.

I would make a point of specifying to the people who are organizing it that you would like some vegan options. If they can’t swing that, then don’t contribute and offer to make a salad or a dessert that’s vegan and big enough for at least ten people to eat. You can make a decent salad with lettuce, tomatoes and cukes for about $10. The food contribution was @KNOWITALL‘s idea and a good one.

In my opinion, being part of an office or a small company is being part of a team and wanting to be a team player, and be seen as a team player. A luncheon like this, being once a year, is not excessive and I would want to contribute as a team player. You owe nothing to your bosses except your work, but it can’t hurt to show up, smile, contribute something and sit with your coworkers for a bit.

stanleybmanly's avatar

To me, your position is more or less unassailable. The only question being your willingness to plaster the bullseye on your back. Personally, I view the escape from animal abuse damned near impossible. From down comforters, to leather boots, the rest of the animal kingdom is in for unmitigated hell. There will be those who resent your reasoning, but in a crowd of lawyers, there should certainly be those rising to your defense. If nothing else, all of us need reminding of just what a juicy hamburger is actually about. Bring in some donuts or pastries for a few days.

janbb's avatar

I agree with those who say contribute and either request vegetarian options or offer to contribute a veggie dish.

tinyfaery's avatar

The lunch is ordered in.

Last year’s contribution was $36.00 (I understand that’s a lot to some people, but we are all generally paid well, even for L.A.) However, that is probably $30 more than food I would actually consume. Also, no one has to contribute. It’s not mandatory. Last year several people did not contribute and for reasons that are not the same as my own.

I think I’ll find out about where we might be getting lunch from and then decide if I feel okay about contributing. If it’s from a place where there are no veg options, maybe I’ll bring in something; though, most people won’t try anything labelled vegan.

We also have several people in our office (all attorneys) who keep kosher and their needs were not considered last year. I believe they complained, so maybe this year will be different anyway.

Thanks for your help, all.

Also, there is one all vegan grocery store in L.A. and tons of ethnic stores around that do not carry meat. And carrying meat isn’t the issue, I just won’t buy it. I refuse to pay someone to harm animals on my behalf.

janbb's avatar

Well, in that case, if it’s not mandatory and others don’t contribute and don’t go, I see it differently. And $36 does seem like a lot of money.

jca2's avatar

How about making a dessert, @tinyfaery, instead of chipping in cash? Brownies or cookies or a cake or something? Then maybe you can bring your own food but sit with the crowd if there is nothing else you can eat.

Jaxk's avatar

I’d be surprised if the bosses had anything to do with setting this up. Most likely it was the idea of your fellow workers. Further I’d be surprised if the bosses would be offended by your not chipping in. Most likely the offended would your coworkers. You need to decide whether to be part of the group or extradite yourself from those lowly carnivores. Only you can decide the importance of your issue. If you find it offensive to shop where meat is sold, I can only assume you’d find it offensive to work where meat is eaten.

kritiper's avatar

“When in Rome, do as the Roman’s do.” Don’t attempt to force your beliefs on the others. Contribute to what they see as normal without making a big deal out of what you find distasteful, which could come back to bite you in the posterior. You don’t have to eat it…

JLeslie's avatar

$36! That is a lot in my opinion. Even if you are in an expensive city I am SHOCKED it would be more than a $20 chip in. Is there usually a lot of food left over? My sister lives in NYC, an expensive city, she is vegan, and I think she would be annoyed by the $36 price tag and the food too.

What if you contribute $10 and say you want to give something, but that you can’t usually eat the food.

The people who did not contribute last year, did they also not come to the lunch?

A lot of people who keep kosher will eat vegetarian non-kosher when not at home, so the vegetarian thing might satisfy a lot of people actually. Although, in LA there probably is a lot of kosher food available, so they might not be used to bending on that. Some keep kosher at home, but out they won’t will eat meats that are not kosher, but won’t eat pork, shellfish, and won’t mix dairy and meat. So, if you ordered in sandwiches that were any type of pork, or sandwiches that had any meat and cheese, or shrimp cocktail, or lasagna, etc., etc, they couldn’t eat.

I think they shouldn’t do a lunch like this, but since they do, then I think they need a different person ordering the food. That’s my big take away from everything the OP has said. It is impossible to please everyone, and the person ordering the food has a stressful position being responsible for it, but she needs some guidance. She might be the one who came up with the whole idea though, so she did it to herself.

Maybe a potluck would be better? That’s what we do here. Then you know you like at least one of the dishes. People don’t have to cook, they can buy something ready made. You have to control it though or you can wind up with 6 chips and dip, and 6 desserts.

How many bosses are there?

AshlynM's avatar

Honestly, I’d just bring in something myself or just not contribute, since it’s not mandatory.

jca2's avatar

@tinyfaery: How many people are paying and how many (bosses) are recipients? I’m just wondering. I thinking about large member meetings we have at work, and how we will spend a few hundred dollars but we feed about 60 people. It’s just average food, mostly Italian or deli from local restaurants but the cost per person is about 10 dollars each, if we were to divide it up.

LuckyGuy's avatar

Do you want to stay working at this firm for a while?
It only takes one incident to be labelled a misfit and not a team player.

if I were you, I’d suck it up and contribute with a smile on my face. I would bring a dish of something I could eat and plan on sharing it with as many people as possible.
By attending and participating without drama you have the opportunity to subtly educate others.
That is a much more powerful message than just refusing to attend.

You can do it! Your career, and the animals, will thank you for it!

snowberry's avatar

@LuckyGuy Absolutely! ^^A five star answer!

tinyfaery's avatar


I am not contributing and no one really cares about it. I’m going to get a little something for the 4 attorneys I work for directly and call it day. This way I don’t go against my morals (which no one should be encouraging me to do, IMO) but I still show a little thanks to my 2 awesome attorneys, my one okay attorney, and the one pain in my ass.


janbb's avatar

^^ Sounds perfect!

jca2's avatar

How many people contribute, @tinyfaery. Just curious about the size of the office.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@tinyfaery hahaha, the pain in my ass….that’s funny!

tinyfaery's avatar

We have about 45 people in the office. 23 are attorneys.

jca2's avatar

@tinyfaery: So is it that the 23 attorneys are the recipients and 22 are purchasing?

tinyfaery's avatar


jca2's avatar

So it’s about 17 or 18 dollars per person (cost per meal), which is not totally crazy.

tinyfaery's avatar

@KNOWITALL Having only one pain in my ass attorney is rare and I so appreciate it. Others here are not so lucky.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@jca2 Yes but attorneys are probably making triple what the staff is, I assume, that rubs me the wrong way to buy them anything.

We used to have a GM who would take all the free stuff or free food or concert tickets without asking staff, and he made the most in the entire office. Everyone hated his guts lol.

jca2's avatar

I totally get it. That’s a large number of recipients. I was thinking originally that it was like 3 or 4 bosses and 30 or 40 people paying. I still think lunch could be had for less money per person than 17 or 18 dollars. It must be fancy food. When we have parties catered at work, we get trays of Italian food, maybe 60 or 70 dollars per tray (large trays like 30 inches long) and so a few of them would feed 40 people, plus a salad, plus some desserts and beverages.

What kind of food do they order and what kind of place is it from?

Maybe the person or people that organize it are trying to impress the bosses with the quality.

JLeslie's avatar

Sounds expensive to me too for a lunch.

Is there usually a lot of food leftover? You said it was a lot of meat. I don’t picture fancy food when I hear that, but my picture could be totally off.

gorillapaws's avatar

Pay for the vegan/vegetarian option, problem solved.

JLeslie's avatar

^^Best solution. $36 of a vegetarian dish.

canidmajor's avatar

I think @tinyfaery did well with her solution. It seemed to me that the dilemma was less about what she could/would eat, than about supporting a heavily meat-based restaurant/event. I’m not vegan or vegetarian, but there are restaurants I won’t support because I find how they source their supplies to be questionable.

Well done, @tinyfaery.

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