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It’s well known that office snacks are a key component to maintaining a happy office environment. Who doesn’t love being able to grab some potato chips, pistachios, M&Ms, or an energy drink from the break room completely free of charge? I never really considered the person who ordered such snacks an unsung hero… I just would walk in the office and think, “Oh more snacks – cool,” and move about my day. But now that I’m the designated office snack master? Oh, boy. Long gone are the days that I take office snackage for granted.
I feel like a soccer mom trying to handle the post-game snack ritual. Except instead of trying to please a small group of 7-year-olds, I’m facing dozens of hangry, hungover, and grumpy office employees who are way more vocal about, well, everything. Not only do you want to keep your team fueled for maximum productivity, but also snacks are a huge way to create a solid company culture – and that’s a lot of pressure for a snack mom. The snack area is supposed to represent a mini-vacation when someone needs a break from their desk, and it is my job to keep my office an edible playground with a wonderful supply of oatmeal, cookies, dried fruit, soda, and even beer. Food is an integral part of the workday, and I can’t fuck it up.
We order most of our snacks in bulk from Costco, but we also utilize Branch To Box and NatureBox for the healthier folk in the office. Needless to say, the options are wide… It’s the narrowing of options that makes it tricky. Don’t downplay it – selecting and ordering the right snacks each month is an art. First, there’s the employees who need their sugar fix every day at 2 p.m. or else they’ll be relentlessly unproductive. Next, we have the opposite side of the spectrum where anything unhealthy is sworn off of someone’s “diet” they have going for them that week. There’s also the few workers who have the most absurd taste in snacks and insist you order those “garlic plantain chips” every month to satisfy their obscure needs. There’s also a balancing act that I, snack master, need to pay close attention to. For example, I always know that granola and La Croix are the first to go, so I should order more of those upfront so that the amount has some longevity. But for the root beer and peanut butter crackers? I can order less of those since they seem to stick around a bit longer.
Regardless of my purest of pure intentions, however, I always seem to fail. Mark wanted bananas but Stefanie wanted fresh strawberries. Nicole wanted Cheez-Its but Jamil wanted Cheetos. Karen wanted vanilla coffee creamer but Will wanted a soy-based creamer because he’s allergic to dairy. Of course, my goal is to satisfy everyone’s snack cravings all while acknowledging margins of budget, timeframe, and existing inventory I’m required to stay in. Every month I have a few victories with making people happy, but an equal number comes complaining about how I didn’t cater to their wants or needs. I’m not even joking… I was scolded for ordering turkey jerky and not beef jerky and sometimes that just takes a toll on a girl, ya know? As hard as I try, alas, I cannot win. I now have an utmost respect for anyone in charge of snacks for an office space. They are a hero worth of unqualified admiration.
The message here? Be kind to your snack person. They’re doing their best..