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Uninvited Guests Are The WORST

, , , | Working | May 8, 2022

As a little “thank you” to our employees, I hired a catering company to cook lunch for my 150 employees. I presented the quote to [Manager], who approved it immediately and asked me to send out the invite.

The day of the lunch came and I saw several people I did not recognize. I approached one group hanging around [Manager].

Me: “Hi, guys. How are you?”

Manager: “Ah, this is [My Name]! She organized all of this!”

Stranger: “Hi, [My Name]! I’m [Stranger] from the corporate office. [Manager] said you were having a thank-you lunch today, so we came out.”

Me: “Oh, hello. Nice to meet you.”

Every single person I did not recognize had come from other locations specifically for the food. They had contributed nothing to our work but showed up for free food, some of them even jumping the line. I got [Manager] alone a few moments later.

Me: “Okay, no disrespect, but what the f***?”

Manager: “It’s fine, [My Name]. Not everyone will show up, and these companies always bring more food, anyway.”

Me: “So, did you invite them or did they just hear about it?”

Manager: *Uneasily* “I mentioned that we were having this catered lunch…”

Me: “But did you invite them after I gave the caterers the headcount, or did they decide you telling them about it was an invitation?”

Manager: “I don’t remember. It’s not important. They’re here; we have to make them happy. Just make it work.”

As you may have guessed, nearly every employee did show up for the free food and the caterers did not bring extra meals. The corporate employees thought it was a great day, the caterers were furious that we had misrepresented the number of people they were to feed, and about a dozen employees were left out of the luncheon because there was no more food. I made a run to a local restaurant to get more food so that everyone could eat. After the corporate employees left, [Manager] pulled me aside.

Manager: “Hey, look, I’m not blaming you at all, but you should know that there are some pretty pissed-off people out there. When we say we’re going to feed everyone, we have to hold up to it. You know?”

Me: “Nor should I be blamed for it.”

Manager: “What?”

Me: “I arranged a meal for the people working here, not the corporate surprises. I just paid for more food out of my own pocket.”

Manager: “Well, we can’t turn them away.”

Me: “If they weren’t invited, we absolutely can. And next time, I will.”

Manager: *Angry* “You’re being pretty petty right now.”

Me: “Fine, I’m petty. I don’t care. But you should have told me you told them. I’d rather have too much food than not enough.”

I got a lot of s*** from the employees when the word got around that I had “poorly planned” the lunch. No matter what I said or did, I became the one everyone hated. A few months later, [Manager] asked me to plan another meal. I pointedly declined and suggested he do it himself. There was no second meal.

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