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Cake Expectations

August 12, 2008

What is it about grocery store sheet cake that allows it to be such a great motivational tool in the workplace? Thanks to Milton, everyone knows the stereotypes:

But what is sad is that in my experience, cake stereotypes are largely true. Cake motivates. It used to be that cakes were only brought in on birthdays. Then we started having one when people left for a new position. Then when people had a work-related anniversary. Then today, we truly took cake eating to the next level. We had a cake for no reason at all. It was ostensibly a “meeting” but it was very transparent that the sole purpose of the meeting was to make the birthday cake eating more socially acceptable.

The even more critical issue to me is: why is it such a big deal when I don’t fully parktake in the cake festivities? If I say I only want a small piece or cake, or if I take a piece and don’t finish it in the meeting, or god forbid I outright decline the cake offering, people stare at me like I just turned down a winning Superball ticket. “What do you mean ‘no cake?'” My new strategy is to wait til everyone has some, then very conspicuously take a piece and have a bite of it, then go back to my desk where I will leave it sitting on display for a few hours. Then when no one is looking I will throw it away.

Sorry I don’t want to ingest 300 calories of sugar and corn syrup, only to feel like crap from the sweetness then crash and be totally worthless an hour later. I eat enough other junk food in the course of a week; I don’t 3 pieces of cake on top of it all.

The things I have to deal with at work… I definitely don’t get paid enough.

5 Comments leave one →
  1. andy permalink*
    August 12, 2008 3:18 pm

    Yeah, we talk about this a lot, and I could have written the same post because I used to do the same exact thing. I’d either decline the offer (which always met a clever riposte such as “YOU DON’T LIKE CAKE OMG” or “more for the rest of us !”) or I’d have a bite or two and pitch the shit. I was actually ostracized for not partaking in cake eating ceremonies on a previous project for a previous company, and I’m sure it was part of the reason I was asked to change projects. They too moved from cake on occasion to cake at random meetings for no real reason.

    I don’t want to eat that bullshit. Like Adam says I make enough bad food choices throughout the week.

    And why cake? Why is it always cake? Why not cookies, or pizza, or 6 magnums of Riesling?

  2. August 12, 2008 4:25 pm

    If you refuse cake at work it’s like there is something wrong with you. People trust you less because you are not one of them.

    I totally believe not buying into cake-centric group activities will be cause for removal from a project. Not that it’s the only reason but if they need to dump someone, the non-cake-eater sticks out like a sore thumb in everyone’s fondest (and, with certainty, cake-related) work memories. Makes the decision that much easier.

  3. August 13, 2008 8:27 am

    OMG. It’s true. While the social committee (Yes, we have a social committee, and yes, I’m admittedly a part of it. I know this is a long parenthetical interruption already, but I feel obligated to assert for the record that I got my arm twisted. I think it’s because I’m young that I was so heavily recruited.) has not stooped to the level of cake-for-no-reason, we did celebrate Flag Day. Who even knows when Flag Day is to celebrate it? And why do we need a pot luck to celebrate Flag Day?

    I think co-workers shun the person that refuses cake because that person puts off an air of condecension: “I don’t eat that because I’m too good for it and, therefore, better than you junk food eaters.” And even though you don’t mean to appear condescending or act as a self-righteous health food freak, you do feel better than them, don’t you? You do.

  4. Ashley permalink
    August 13, 2008 11:13 am

    Does anyone even LIKE grocery store sheet cake? My old office used to bring in beer and wine. That worked well. And there were no leftovers which is something that can’t be said about shitty sheet cake.

  5. August 13, 2008 7:16 pm

    People LOVE sheet cake. Or at least they love free sheet cake. Eating roses made of frosting on a stale yellow cake in a boring conference room is a bonding activity that trumps just about any other work-related activity.

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