Thursday, August 21, 2008

Work Place Food Conundrum

Week two at my new job and I have been thinking about how work location impacts your diet and wallet. Of course, I started mulling this over as I snacked on artery-clogging onion rings today with just $4 in my pocket.

My first job was in downtown Boston which could be a pro/con depending. You have multiple outdoor eating spots and easy access to a variety of restaurants. I usually wound up brown bagging it and splurged an occasional Friday by going to a local Thai restaurant. My second job was at a university. It started out fairly well foodwise. There was a cafe in my building with fresh deli and salad offerings. Then a couple years in, they revamped the entire cafe format due to a new food service provider. So meal prices went up and the food offerings were greasy, doused in sauces, and nothing was fresh. Everyone I worked with complained about the new cafe. My next job just had a cafeteria for seating and a bunch of outdoor eating options. It was located near a local deli that was always mobbed at lunchtime and I came down with nasty food poisoning thanks to that establishment. So, brown bagging was the only viable option.

Hands down, my next job had the best cafeteria I've ever seen in a workplace. It was open for all 3 meals of the day and had a wide variety of vegetarian options. I loved this cafeteria so much, I branched out from my normal deli sandwich comfort zone. The soups were amazing and fresh, ditto for the salad bar. The prices weren't bad either! My next job had an abysmal, overpriced cafeteria and was down the street from a Stop and Shop. A Stop and Shop with BOOZE people! That is a dangerous thing for your wallet. If I did buy wine on my lunch shopping, I'd try to do the self checkout line because I didn't want to bother with people judging me in line. If I did get any comments, I'd say, "Tough day at the office." My current job has a cafeteria in the building. The food is pretty decent but the salad bar looks uninspiring. To me, lunch prices seem a little high ($7 for a sandwich and drink) but everything is getting expensive nowadays. The cafeteria is right next to a gym so I get to walk by all these hard bodies with my full belly - very smart psychologically. Yup, I am thinking of joining.

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