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Monday, April 11, 2011

Vegetarian Discrimination

Whether you're a vegetarian or a meat eater, if there's nothing for you to eat a company party, you can feel unappreciated. Here's what to do about that.

Vegetarian Discrimination


Interviewer said...

Most of the vegetarians in my slightly larger company have made themselves known, and they are considered in event planning. We usually do salads and sandwiches. I cannot imagine a sub sandwich that can't be eaten by taking off the meat and eating the bread & condiments (lettuce onions tomatoes, etc.).

Also, most people have no idea if you are vegetarian or vegan. Huge differences and subtleties that many, many meat eaters can't be bothered to figure out.

Being involved in the party planning just to get what you want to eat on the company's tab seems like an obvious ploy. But it seems like a gentle education may be in order here. Try bringing your own dish to add to the buffet at the next company meeting, and open their eyes to a little bit of what you actually eat. Maybe then they'll know what to look for on the menu when they place the next order.

Anonymous said...

Ah, not to be a huge jerk, but as a vegetarian myself, I find the idea of picking the meat off of a sub sandwich and eating the bread and condiments kind of offensive. Primarily because the meat is still just wasted, which if you're a vegetarian for animal rights or environmental reasons, is kind of worse than someone actually eating it! But also because it's unfulfilling and a bit demeaning. I'm all about gently educating people by letting them try my vegetarian food when we're out at restaurants, by inviting them over for vegetarian dinner parties, and the like, but at work? I should be able to have something that's delicious and filling as everyone else! It's not that hard to order some veggie food! Usually it's the first to go, because omnivores like it too!

Anonymous said...

Perhaps the problem can be recast. For example, I consider myself to be a very strict vegetarian, but I am prepared to eat organically processed plant matter.

Not A Fussbudget said...

I don't like peas, but they're in everything (must be extremely cheap). I pick them out. It's not hard.

Mike C. said...

I can totally understand the "Guys, I've been here five years, it's a small company, we eat lunch together every day, you know I'm a vegetarian". It seemed to me that it wasn't even about the food but the lack of thought.

That being said, offering to help plan the parties is a brilliant piece of advice.

Charles said...

Vegetarian Discrimination? Discrimination? really? you have to use that word? Do you even know what REAL discrimination is?

It is folks who whine about almost anything that cause some departments to write up a thousand and one rules for just about everything. (see previous psot about nit-picky rules)

To the OP; Do you have a job? Do you have a way of bringing your own food to these events? Do you get paid on time? Are you making enough money to pay all your bills? Do any of your co-workers treat you rudely (in ways other than not catering to your food preferences)? Did they make you pay for any of this food that you can't/don't want to eat?

If you answered "no" to all these questions, then as far as I am concerned if you weren't involved in the planning or you weren't made to pay for the food, then you need to change your attitude.

Changing you atttiude will make you happier and then they might "respect" you more by considering you when ordering food. Keep in mind it really isn't "free" food; somebody has to pay for it, and if they start "catering" to one person's needs then they will have to cater to everyone's needs and that is why so many "freebies" get cancelled.

I also want to ask how many other office things do you complain about? Are you a constant whiner about other things? If so, maybe that's why they don't "care." I know that if I couldn't make someone happy one bit I wouldn't even bother. For some folks trying to please them is like banging my head against a wall. (I speak from experience as a trainer - there is always one in every class who is never going to be happy with my training no matter what I do; so I try my best, but after a while I do have to put my effort into helping the most folks - not the one whiner who always have to have it her way)

I'll sign this as a proud "Meat-Eater." Oh, and BTW:

Animals, I kill them, I eat them, I wear them!

Suzanne Lucas said...

Charles--Yes, I did have to use the word discrimination. Here's the relevant definition from

treatment or consideration of, or making a distinction in favor of or against, a person or thing based on the group, class, or category to which that person or thing belongs rather than on individual merit

Not all discrimination is illegal nor even immoral.

And I agree with those who are objecting to the idea that you can just "pick off" what you don't like. Blech.

Anonymous said...

I've been a vegetarian for a little over 10 years, and I've run into this problem countless times. Here's the thing, though: I CHOSE to become a vegetarian. Why should I expect special treatment?

Planning a party is expensive and time consuming, and you'll never make everyone happy, no matter what you do. I held my wedding reception at a hotel with a 5-star restaurant and still had people complain that they didn't like the food (filet and grouper, for the record, plus an amazing vegetarian plate that I selected - and ate myself!). As EHRL mentions, you can't please everyone.

If you choose to limit your diet, don't expect others to cater to you. If you're invited to a dinner or party, try to find out what you'll be served, bring your own food, or eat a little before attending so you know you won't go hungry. Yes, close friends & family can and should be expected to make some adjustments for your diet, but not strangers, acquantainces, or your company.

Your choice...your responsibility!

Anonymous said...

(Whoops - meant to write "acquaintances." I rely way too heavily on Word's auto spell checker!)

Anonymous said...

I'm not a vegetarian. I like beef. I like Pork. I don't care for chicken. People who know me, know this. At many of this kind of event all the meat is chicken. Am I begin discriminated against?

I've been to many of these events. I haven't starved to death. Not even once. :-) I don't make a scene by picking the chicken off of the food. I don't whine about the food. I'm happy that there is food there that most people like, even if it is food I don't care for. Maybe I get something to eat before I go. Maybe I get something to eat afterward.

Claudia Vandermilt said...

It's definitely a hot topic, though it shouldn't be. It's simple enough to chose a meat and a vegetarian option for your event. Think of how often more than one meat option is offered.

And no, Anonymous, just because "you" do not care for chicken does not mean you're discriminated against. One person vs a group of people = completely different scenario.

And no, you cannot please everyone all the time, nor should a company try to during company parties (do companies still do that?).

Vegetarianism and veganism are far more common these days than even 10 years ago, plus omnivores (yes, that's what you are, you're NOT carnivores) can eat sandwiches sans meat or salads or curries or any number of things without meat without issue.

Is it a choice? Often yes. So is eating meat. Bet you didn't think of it from that angle did you?