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Beware the potluck vultures

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I don’t mean to be a Turkey Scrooge but I absolutely hate working on the holidays. Every year. And every year that I hate it I wonder why I continue to be surprised by it. Hellloooo, I do work in a facility that is open 365 days a year, 24 hours a day. Like 7-11, only with less snacks and more insanity. Okay, the latter is questionable, I am sure there are some 7-11 employees with stories that would give me a run for my money.

The evening shift tried to have our own ‘food share’ last Fourth of July and word got out that there was a “potluck” in the conference room and all hell broke loose. You may say what is the difference between a “food share” and a “potluck”? Semantics really. BUT a food share you know exactly how many people are going to be there and you bring that much food. Not a bit more. There is nothing extra for the free foodies out there. And I let it be known that it was a food share; not a potluck. Let’s just say that I actually kicked people out. It was not pleasant and I did not winning any popularity vote that day.

One of the biggest reasons I hate working on the holidays is that there is always a potluck (not a food share). Here’s the problem I have with potlucks: Everyone wants to eat even if they didn’t bring anything. This is just being a bad guest (and some may argue a bad human being) plain and simple. Every one can bring something besides their appetite. Even if it’s a bag of three dollar carrots. And yet the majority of people feel somehow entitled to my crudités plate or Sheryl’s brownies. Put the Chinette down and back away from the table please.

The other reason I hate potlucks is because I work the evening shift. So the evening shift staff trots in with their potluck dishes in hand and, like the drunk, young college girl falling for the “I love you” line, sets down their dish in the ultimate trap. The Bermuda Triangle of food if you will. Because right when we start our shift, day shift goes on break; so by the time we get back there by our break it is slim pickin’s. If any pickin’s at all.

It’s taken me awhile to stop falling for the “I love you” line. This year, bah humbug it, I am not participating in any potluck. Are you? I plan to walk over to the cafeteria and get my free Turkey day dinner. The joke may ultimately be on me but at least I will be standing true to my potluck principles.

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Rebekah Child

Rebekah Child attended the University of Southern California for her bachelor's in nursing and decided to brave the academic waters and return for her master's in nursing education, graduating in 2003 from Mount St. Mary's. Rebekah has also taught nursing clinical and theory at numerous Southern California nursing schools and has been an emergency nurse since 2002. She is currently one of the clinical educators for an emergency department in Southern California and a student (again!) in the doctoral program at the University of California, Los Angeles.
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7 Responses to Beware the potluck vultures

  1. Martha Barber

    I so agree! Another thing that irks me on potluck days are the eaters who take the easy way out and only bring drinks, paper plates, or forks. Sure, these are nice things to have but there’s usually an overabundance of these items left over from the last potluck. Food, people, food is what is needed at a potluck.

  2. I have never minded working the holidays. I consider what we do to be like being a cop or fireman.

    That said, the thing that I HATE about working the holidays is all of the candy, sweets and crap that nurses bring to the job…then in the same breath, bitch and moan about weight gain and such.

    I work evenings, and we usually get stuck with the cleanup-and the break room is usually trashed.

  3. g

    The only holiday I get is at work, so I enjoy others happiness, the doctor gifts, family treats, and bringing in creative food from home. I usually do the decorating at work, not at home. No kids. Maybe some of your party crashers are ‘family less’ for the holidays too… Best thing is to assign a dish, get a commitment from each person who will be in.

  4. Helen Marshall

    The first thanksgiving I was married everybody invited my husband to come. What do nurses talk about when they get together? WAR STORIES. A coworker started talking about this very round confused old man on her team that accused her of stealing his PRIVATE PARTS! I turned to my husband just in time to watch all of the color drain from his face. When I got home the modest southern gentleman that I married said “Well, you sure do have some interesting dinner conversation.”

    P.S. Where I used to work we’d put a sign on the board. “NO BRING FOOD, NO EAT” It kept all of the grazing residents away.

  5. tamara

    I, also, hate the potluck days. I have stopped participating in these events and prefer to eat my own food. I especially hate that the nurses and ancillary staff that do participate in the potluck make a mass exodus to breakroom as if there were no work to do. If you want to have a “private” party, then you should set out your crudites and brownies at home.

  6. Maureen Myhre

    We do a sign up sheet ahead of time for our pot lucks, which encourages people to think about it and remember it. We also have a cypher lock on our break room door, so that discourages some traffic. I have to tell you that we have an international staff (RNs and NAs from Nigeria, Congo, Jamaica, Vietnam, Thailand, Kenya, Ethiopia, Tibet, Liberia, India, Somalia, and more) and we have the MOST interesting and fantastic pot lucks you have ever seen in your life!!! It’s like going to an International Restaurant and people are very proud of their cooking ~it is so great!!! There is always plenty to go around – we have a very large floor – more than 120 staff, I think. Potlucks are a really fun part of our work life!

  7. Maureen Myhre

    We do a sign up sheet ahead of time for our pot lucks, which encourages people to think about it and remember it. We have an international staff (RNs and NAs from Nigeria, Congo, Jamaica, Vietnam, Thailand, Kenya, Ethiopia, Tibet, Liberia, India, Somalia, and more) and we have the MOST interesting and fantastic pot lucks you have ever seen in your life!!! It’s like going to an International Restaurant and people are very proud of their cooking ~ it is so great!!! There is always plenty to go around – Potlucks are a really fun part of our work life!

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