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  • FIRST POST
    • Tim_L
    • By Tim_L 2nd Aug 03, 1:41 AM
    • 3,399Posts
    • 3,233Thanks
    Tim_L
    0 WOW
    Free Food
    • #1
    • 2nd Aug 03, 1:41 AM
    0 WOW
    Free Food 2nd Aug 03 at 1:41 AM
    This is a slightly tricky one, but it works for me.

    Anyone who works in an office to which customers, CEOs or important-looking-executives-in-a-hurry pay visits will know that often very large quantities of buffet food are provided at mealtimes. About three quarters of this is usually wheeled straight back to the canteen bins after the meal break, I would guess because high powered executives would rather make big deals than pick bits of satay stick out of their teeth.

    So, the problem is: how to get one's hands on the food?

    One obvious technique is simply to get invited to the meetings. For engineers such as myself, this can be surprisingly easy - one just has to express an interest in "customer facing activities", and whoosh, meeting requests fly in from marketing people delighted to be able to parade a tame engineer who can dazzle their clients with a few incomprehensible buzzwords while forcing down a mini chocolate eclair or eight. However, this has certain disadvantages; firstly it is difficult to sit through a 3 hour meeting with marketing people without dropping off at some point (and risking missing the feed). And then, for some reason, the food just doesn't taste as good if you're actually invited.

    Raiding the bins, I have discovered, although promising in prospect, is rather dimly viewed by one's co-workers. Which is a shame, because I did once find a rather nice bench power supply under a mound of cocktail sausages. I believe this is what is known as a win-win situation.

    So I have devised another technique. This can take a little time to work through, but bear with it, as the results have exceeded my wildest expectations.

    Phase 1 is to arrange a seat on the route of the trolley to and from the meeting rooms. Obviously, forewarned is forearmed, and it's very worthwhile being in position to count the samosas in as a good way of ensuring that you are, as it were, present to count them back out again. Anyway, it took me three changes of project and a moan about having to sit next to smelly hardware engineers to get the optimum spot, but I now have it.

    Phase 2 is to explain to the canteen person pushing the trolley back and forth how delicious it all looks, and how their work is wasted on the denizens of the meeting room. A request for small morsels follows (with suitably ecstatic moans whilst crunching on the mini-Kievs). And at the end of a couple of weeks of this, they will literally be chucking the tin trays off the trolley at you, delighted to find someone who appreciates them at last.

    I have now even developed disciples (not to mention a rather large waist), who in rather a Pavlovian manner, turn up dribbling at the sound of creaking wheels (and how disappointed they look when it turns out to be someone from goods-in delivering PCBs to the next cubicle!), in the hope of a danish or a curling ham and cheese sandwich. They were slow, at first, almost diffident, leaving the choicest morsels to me, but now, I regret to say, it's what one might term scoff factor 10 and everyone for themselves.

    One side effect of all this is that because no food is now returning from the meals, the canteen manager is starting to believe he is not sending enough and therefore increasing output. I believe that exponential growth can be sustained by this method, but worry that the world supply of scotch eggs may be exceeded before the turn of the year.

    I hope this works for you. Do let me know what successes you have.

    NB: This is best combined with a company BUPA subscription as there is some increased risk of coronary heart disease caused by fried prawn balls and mozzarella sausages (sound wierd, but truly God's own finger food, believe me).

    Update Note from Martin 5 October 2004 It suddenly occured to me this thread had been forgotten - a sad fact. !So I've added it to this week's Money Tips. If you have a few minutes and want to brighten your day have a read. !However MoneySavingExpert.com would like to disclaim all responsibility for fat waists and lost jobs that may ensue.
    Last edited by MSE Andrea; 25-04-2016 at 11:57 AM.
Page 1
    • Tim_L
    • By Tim_L 2nd Aug 03, 1:53 AM
    • 3,399 Posts
    • 3,233 Thanks
    Tim_L
    • #2
    • 2nd Aug 03, 1:53 AM
    Re: Free Food
    • #2
    • 2nd Aug 03, 1:53 AM
    A slight PS. Readers may be puzzled to know what "thingytailed sausages" are, as referred to in the preceding tip. These are in fact not the delusions of an overnourished imagination, but the results of what appears to be a slightly over zealous (perhaps Scottish Presbyterian?) rude word remover on Martin's site.

    This has replaced a word which *almost* rhymes with kirk and could be held to describe a certain piece of male equipment usually found hanging between two other round thingys (ahem). Though on this basis, I suppose thingythingied thingys on sticks might be a less controversial arrangement of the whole thing, since both tails and sausages have been used as terms for the anatomical structure in question.

    We now return you to your normal programming.
    Last edited by Tim_L; 05-09-2005 at 1:06 PM.
  • archived user
    • #3
    • 2nd Aug 03, 2:02 AM
    Re: Free Food
    • #3
    • 2nd Aug 03, 2:02 AM
    I laughed my socks off, reading this ;D

    Please let us know how the diet goes, i'm sure you'll be on one soon!! :
    • hellomoto
    • By hellomoto 2nd Aug 03, 11:28 AM
    • 280 Posts
    • 201 Thanks
    hellomoto
    • #4
    • 2nd Aug 03, 11:28 AM
    Re: Free Food
    • #4
    • 2nd Aug 03, 11:28 AM
    I laughed my socks off, reading this

    Me too, in tears

    [move];D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D[/move]
  • pakman
    • #5
    • 2nd Aug 03, 1:43 PM
    Re: Free Food
    • #5
    • 2nd Aug 03, 1:43 PM
    Where do we send the doggy bags. I will ofcause enclose a pre-paid envelope.

    Please don't think of it as begging, more of starting an outreach post of UR religion.

    Pak
    • MSE Martin
    • By MSE Martin 2nd Aug 03, 4:07 PM
    • 8,111 Posts
    • 42,248 Thanks
    MSE Martin
    • #6
    • 2nd Aug 03, 4:07 PM
    Re: Free Food
    • #6
    • 2nd Aug 03, 4:07 PM
    The tears are streaming for me too - brilliant Tim. !David brent would be proud! !Makes me wish i worked in an office.

    And as for your thingy tailed sausages, perhaps you could start a brand. It's got to be a winner.
    • Pal
    • By Pal 2nd Aug 03, 7:23 PM
    • 2,062 Posts
    • 731 Thanks
    Pal
    • #7
    • 2nd Aug 03, 7:23 PM
    Re: Free Food
    • #7
    • 2nd Aug 03, 7:23 PM
    This is a great post - good stuff Tim.

    The way it works at our work is that anyone who is in a meeting brings the spare food out for the people on their floor.

    The main problem with this is that the food arrives after everyone has already eaten, so it tends to go stale until the cleaners throw it away the next morning.

    The only exception is, of course, the biscuits, which get eaten in seconds by the secretaries, who decend on them like vultures. !I believe this is because biscuits are small and so do not contain calories. !Even the chocolate ones. !I guess it makes up for the low calorie M&S sandwiches they eat for lunch.
  • Adam
    • #8
    • 2nd Aug 03, 7:35 PM
    Re: Free Food
    • #8
    • 2nd Aug 03, 7:35 PM
    The only thin is get to the trolly before it gets to the reception. It really is amazing just how much those young and slender receptioinst can really eat, especially if it is coated with chocolate.

    What you need to do is add salty water to one of the wheels. this will remove the oil and start rusting. This will have the affect of causing squeaky wheel syndrome. This will then supply an 'early warning system' for when the trolly is approaching. To stop all your colleagues getting to the food first, use the switchboard to call them all at once at the touch of a button, meaning they will be interrupted and will have to answer the call, giving you the all important head start.

    Mwahahahaha
  • WiseOldBird
    • #9
    • 2nd Aug 03, 9:05 PM
    Re: Free Food
    • #9
    • 2nd Aug 03, 9:05 PM
    Great post Tim. Takes me back to my pre-retirement days when I was senior exec secretary. It's amazing how many times this old bird was chatted up by the young engineers, but only when I was pushing the trolley containing the working lunches.

    Still I always was a sucker for the young, poor engineers who lived a batchelor life - they would always get first dibs on the left-overs. They represented my sons out in the wide world in the same position - I always hoped someone would look after them.

    I was always too full after lunch to take advantage of the left-overs, though I did master the art of pinching a couple of sandwiches before the trays went in and re-arranging the remainder to cover the evidence!

    I didn't visit our canteen very often but would always note that the young single guys would make the most of the subsidised food. I never knew you could get so many chips on a plate.


    WOB.
  • AndrewDavidStone
    Re: Free Food
    Great post Tim - there are lots of people like you who work in my office

    You may even work in my office ;D, in fact you might be my boss, who funnily enough is called.....

    ......Timothy!

    Xcept he has a penchant for profiteroles rather than pavolvas :P

    BR
    ADS

    • Tim_L
    • By Tim_L 3rd Aug 03, 5:18 PM
    • 3,399 Posts
    • 3,233 Thanks
    Tim_L
    Re: Free Food
    I confess to being surprised at the hilarity with which my carefully crafted and *entirely serious* instructions for the provision of limitless quantities of free food has been greeted.

    So much so that I shall now sulk, and keep the follow up tip (i.e. the joy of business travel to that magical country, expenses land, where everything is free) completely to myself <burp>.

    You're all a bunch of thingy thingied thingers, really!






  • Adam
    Re: Free Food
    I took it with sincerity that was intended. infact I added a few extra ideas to increase the chnces of getting to that food first. perhaps you could send me a message of this secret magical place? that way those thingy thingied thingers won't get their thingied thingies on it.
    • Pal
    • By Pal 3rd Aug 03, 11:21 PM
    • 2,062 Posts
    • 731 Thanks
    Pal
    Re: Free Food
    This is a great post - good stuff Tim.
    Tim, I congratulated you on an excellent money saving post! Take those insults back!
    • COS
    • By COS 4th Aug 03, 12:16 AM
    • 545 Posts
    • 78 Thanks
    COS
    Re: Free Food
    Other to Tims suggestion you can always go to the local Market at closing time,its surprising how much Fruit and Veg they throw out, I can tell you when walking past a few tomatoes have come my way. ;D


    Chris
    • hellomoto
    • By hellomoto 4th Aug 03, 12:25 AM
    • 280 Posts
    • 201 Thanks
    hellomoto
    Re: Free Food
    I confess to being surprised at the hilarity with which my carefully crafted and *entirely serious* instructions for the provision of limitless quantities of free food has been greeted. !

    I think it was a great money saving tip, but it made me laugh, I love the thought of you and your team waiting for the trolley to go past, laughter is an amazing gift you can give, so enjoy the fact we enjoyed your post, if I worked in such a place, I would surely be one of your disciples

    ;D ;D ;D
  • Adam
    Re: Free Food
    still waiting for that message tim.
    • Tim_L
    • By Tim_L 5th Aug 03, 1:57 AM
    • 3,399 Posts
    • 3,233 Thanks
    Tim_L
    Re: Free Food
    Well, Adam, obviously business travel is THE best way of getting free food, accomodation, and amassing free money from Capital One Circle cards on paying for it all (then obviously the expenses repayment goes to INGDirect)

    Two very important rules if you want to go in for this:

    1) Explain loudly to everyone you can find that you really really don't want to travel on business because frankly you're too busy, and that actually business travel isn't all that much fun because, well obviously you have to work most of the time and then you're stuck in a hotel some of the rest of the time with only a mini-bar and dubious thingy channels for company (or else get dragged out to dodgy lap dancing clubs against your wishes by greasy local reps) and obviously too much rich and expensive food plays havoc with your internals, especially when washed down with large quantities of whatever alcoholic beverages (usually best marked down on expense forms as "miscellaneous refreshments, no receipt&quot the locals force down you.

    2) When actually travelling, affect an air of total resignation and boredom (Prevert put this very well in Zazi dans le Metro: "les hommes d'affaires avec leur air de savoir voyager mieux que tout le monde&quot

    Taken together, these two tips will mark you out with your bosses as someone who can be trusted not to blow the gaffe that business travel is *totally* brilliant, and can therefore join the club.

    I mean, really, who wouldn't want to fly out for a few days of pampered luxury, with just a couple of three hour meetings interrupting the flow of free food, drink, and nights out where you don't have to worry about where you put the children or whether you'll be in trouble with Mrs Linnell when you return stinking of Grappo at three in the morning. No - you have a room all to yourself, where you can gently support your delicately distended stomach (any else had a 23 oz steak?) on a pillow whilst swivelling slowly in your super-king-size double bed. And any residual fatigue the next day can be blamed on jet lag! It's quite wonderful.

    Expenses do take a little bit of getting the hang of though. Someone I work with got a little perturbed by the idea on his first trip, and is unfortunately wildly ribbed even to this day because of his expense claim amounting to the considerable sum of 1.79 p on a three day trip (having, we suspect, taken his own sandwiches before running out on day three and having to go to an Esso station for a BLT). Now this is an extreme, but many people are concerned about whether the managers will sign off their elevated bills, and how much they should allow daily for 'sustenance'. No need to worry - the managers have their own similar concerns, so their main aim is to establish a certain elevated level of claim as the norm, so that their own claims don't appear wildly extravagant (in situations of doubt though, check company rules: there's usually one saying that the most senior member of the marketing department picks up the tab for group meals, and if not one can easily be created for reference on the company Intranet by anyone with a rudimentary knowledge of HTML and the server root password).

    One final tip - always pack a needle and cotton and Grannies box of buttons. There is no situation more tricky to deal with when you are travelling light (i.e. with only a couple of pairs of trousers) than when the fly button finally gives up the unequal struggle against 4 days worth of restaurants morning noon and night and flies off into the middle distance.

    (And, of course, always pinch the hotel shampoo).

    • robann
    • By robann 5th Aug 03, 2:07 AM
    • 15 Posts
    • 16 Thanks
    robann
    Re: Free Food
    What kind of engineer are you? On my overseas business trips I always ended up working 14 hour days as the customer tried to get some value from the 800 a day that my empoyer was screwing them for!

    I always used to seal the hotel toiletries until I realised that I had 40 or so mini shampoos that I didn't like. And why did I steal shower caps? Huh? What use did I really think I'd get from them when I have half an inch of hair?

    Answers on a postcard...
  • Galstonian
    Re: Free Food
    I stopped taking the toiletries when I realised the towels were worth more. I could never fit the TV in my hand luggage for the flight home though.

    "what sort of engineer are you" - typical?
  • johnllew
    Re: Free Food
    Well, Adam, obviously business travel is THE best way of getting free food, accomodation, and amassing free money from Capital One Circle cards on paying for it all (then obviously the expenses repayment goes to INGDirect)
    Don't mean to spoil the fun but you do declare the cashback on business expenses on your tax return, don't you? It is surely a "profit from employment".
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