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Let’s NOT Table This Issue

, , , , , | Working | March 31, 2022

I’m having a bit of a working lunch. The cafeteria is unusually busy today; I’m lucky to have found a table.

I spot a large group of women starting to pull the remaining chairs and tables together. It’s pretty unfair to everyone who wants to actually eat. One of them comes over and takes the chairs from my table without asking. I figure that’s a bit presumptuous, but I’m trying to focus and I don’t want a fight.

I then get a sense that someone is staring at me.

Woman #1: “We need your table.”

Me: “Oh, sorry, I’m using it…?”

Woman #1: “Can’t you move?”

Me: “I’m busy, and no. I don’t see any other tables.”

Woman #1: *Tuts* “We need this table. Can’t you take it outside?”

I have my laptop open in front of me and plugged in; it is pretty obvious that I can’t.

Me: “No.”

She huffs and goes back to the others, pointing and flailing her arms. Two other women try to get me to leave, but again, I explain that there is nowhere else to go.

After a short while, another woman walks up to me.

Woman #2: “Excuse me.”

Me: “Yes?”

Woman #2: “I’m sorry, but we really need this table. You really shouldn’t be working in the cafeteria. There are rules, you know?”

Me: “I’m aware of the rules; I’m on the committee that reviews them. The rule you are referring to is that the cafeteria should only be used for eating and drinking and is not a workspace. However, as you can see, I am eating.”

Woman #2: “You are working, though.”

Me: “And you appear to be using it as a meeting room, which is strictly against the rules. Half of you appear not to have anything to eat or drink.”

She turns around, seeming to realise this for the first time.

Woman #2: “But we need this table!”

Me: “No, you need to book a meeting room.”

She huffed and puffed and went back to her group. They were still chatting when I finished my work, and they grabbed the table before I could get out of the way.

I walked outside and counted three large meeting rooms, all vacant.

The next day, a memo went out from a senior manager about why and how to book meeting rooms and the repercussions of not doing so.

Thankfully, I didn’t see that group again.

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