Is eating goodies in another dept OK?

We have had a slight arguement going on here since the holidays.  If people in one department put goodies out, is it ethical for someone from another department to take some?  I say it's permissible because it's out to share, but my coworker says its only for the people in the department and she never would take any.

And does it matter if you are in the other dept on legit business or merely trolling for snacks? What do you all think?


  • 11 Comments sorted by Votes Date Added
  • I think it depends on the workplace.  If it's common practice for all departments to stagger placing food out at varying times, then I think it would be okay.  I always figure that if a department puts food out in their department then it is just for their department unless offered to all. 

     In the end, it really doesn't matter as long as everyone gets along.

  • I agree with ntk--it all depends on your work environment.  Look at the bright side, if folks start complaining about other departments raiding the candy/goodies/snacks and essentially acting like children not wanting to share, you can save time on your employee satisfaction survey question concerning the cooperation between departments and safely assume you have an issue.  :)

    On the serious side of things, in the department--theirs, out in a breakroom and general area--even the janitor should be allowed to get a sugar high.

  • IMO, snacks without a sign on them are public.

  • I have to agree that if they are in the open and have no sign, they are fair game.  And I think it would be tacky to have a sign. Of course, we don't allow food out on desks, so all of ours would be in the kitchen/lunchroom where everyone shares.

    I think someone needs to remember their Kindergarten rules about sharing.  Honestly, if my employees were bickering about something so unproductive, I would probably ban all snack-sharing.

    This reminds me of a story.....Years ago, a group of consultants were at the main corporate office of a very large discount retailer (VLDR).  There was a problem with the system the consultants worked on and it caused both the consultants and employees of the VLDR to work late.  The VLDR ordered pizza for their employees and told the consultants that if they were hungry, they could get a candy bar out of the vending machine. They did NOT share their pizza.  Personally I still think this was tacky and a bad business practice and still leaves a bad memory.  But it wasn't the only bad business practice of this VLDR and is one of the many reasons I haven't visited the VLDR in over 6 years.


  • Do you have a written policy on no food on desks. Everyone here eats lunch (and sometimes breakfast) on their desks.

     If you do, care to share some language?

  • Unfortunately we do not have a written policy. Mostly because our kitchen (both at this location and the old office) is amazing.  It is nicer than most employee's kitchens at home (except for maybe the CEOs).  We have a latte machine, an InstaHot water system, granite countertops, etc.  Very rarely do employees even want to eat in their offices (which are not as nice as the kitchen!)



  • I don't think there is anything wrong with people eating goodies that have been placed out in the open.  If you didn't want others eating them then they should be stashed away where only the people "allowed" to eat them can get to them.  If someone is that concerned about this issue then I would probably look into it a little bit deeper to see what the real issue is.  Sounds like more is going on then meets the eye. 

    Here at our office there is always food around.  If we have a customer in house and there is food brought in, any leftovers go in the kitchen for anyone to eat.  I have a ton of candy in my office that is open to everyone.  The owners allow snacks to be bought on the company for anyone to have.


  • IrisD--I don't know that you need to have a policy specific to food, but you could have a policy on cleanliness that covers food. For example, that employees are responsible for keeping their work area reasonably neat and clean, including cleaning up after themselves if they consume food at their desks.

    Where I work, I'd be wary of banning food at desks--usually people who are eating food at their desks are also getting work done on their computers (OK, those who aren't surfing the web, anyway). I don't think that employees eating at their desks needs to be addressed unless someone is leaving half-eaten food items or dirty dishes that are attracting flies! OK, I'm half-joking here, but you get my point.

  • Personally, we do not allow any lunch to be eaten at anyone's desk here. We are trying to cut down on overtime and we have rewritten our lunch and break policies to specifically address people who are "working through lunch" by eating at their desks. We now require that every single employee take a mandatory 30-minute lunch break where they clock out completely. They are not required to "leave" the property, but they have to be away from their desks so that they are relieved of all work responsibility during that time frame. We have several employees who like to work through lunch to pick up some extra hours and we couldn't do anything about it until we rewrote the lunch/break policy. Now we just have to get our different managers to enforce the new policy....... *sigh*
  • What about your exempt employees?
  • I'm saying no. I mean, it's not wrong, but the goodies were clearly not meant for you. I think the correct thing to do would have been to ask if you could have some, and THEN eat the goodies if given permission. Either way, it sounds childish to be perfectly honest. Perhaps, to rebuild bridges you should give a gift of baked goodies to the department you took the original food from.
Sign In or Register to comment.