lunch

The annoying ways our co-workers eat lunch

Aug. 25, 2011 at 8:39 AM ET

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While you think you're being efficient by scarfing down that tuna sandwich at your desk, you might be causing your co-worker to toss up her own lunch.

The Wall Street Journal ran a piece looking at the obnoxious things people do while eating lunch at their desks, and the resulting anger that bubbles within their colleagues. Some of the most offensive behaviors include eating stinky food, munching and crunching loudly and accidental spills.

Our own Life Inc. blog conducted a vote, with 61.4 percent of respondents saying that they eat lunch at their desks. That's on par with a recent CareerBuilder.com survey, which found that more than half of all full-time employees do the same. We at TODAY.com are no exception. A pop survey revealed what annoys our staffers here, as well as what makes them feel self-conscious when they eat in the office. Here’s what they had to say:

The crunch

“There’s a certain co-worker here who shall remain nameless who used to eat the same thing every morning and CRUNCHED SO LOUDLY, that it drove me (further) around the bend. No, I never said anything.”

Just plain weird

"A guy at my old job used to microwave a sweet potato every day, then sit at his desk, which faced out into the entire room, and slowly eat it, whole, grasping it in his fist. Why would you do that??" 

Fear of judgment

"I feel self-conscious about how much I eat.  A snack here, a snack there…and I’m wondering if anyone is paying attention or counting the number of times throughout the day I start noshing. It’s not JUST lunch, it’s breakfast, mid-morning snack, lunch and mid-afternoon snack! I don’t think I’m a fatty but geez, I do wonder sometimes if I come off that way."

Nasal offense

“At my previous job, I worked with an incredibly nice guy who started every morning with a piping hot bowl of what smelled like liver, onions and egg whites with Worcestershire sauce. Much like here, the office was a climate-controlled environment, so no windows could be opened. It was olfactory hell. Ever since, I’ve been concerned that any meal I bring into the office is similarly over-aromatic.”

“I intentionally avoid smelly foods because I don’t want to gross people out. But sometimes I accidentally buy a stinky soup. I eat it as fast as I can, then wrap the remains in a plastic bag.”

And from my personal files, here's a scathing response I got thanks to trying to meet my daily recommended servings of vegetables by eating a broccoli and cheese side dish with lunch:

“I am not afraid to speak my mind about your baby-diarrhea-smelling piece of crap broccoli dish that looked (and smelled) like it belongs in a landfill,” said my usually joyful colleague Kyle.

Ouch! The kicker is that this makes me want to stock up on broccoli and eat it every day. He’s got to get used to the smell eventually, right?

Tell us, do you get annoyed by what or how your co-workers eat lunch? Have you been a lunchtime offender? We want to hear your stories!

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