The Office Lunchroom

This morning at work, I was busy doing..well, work, when a coworker-Charles- came into my office.
“Do you know who keeps turning down the thermostat in the lunchroom?” He asks
“I might”, I replied with a knowing smile (It’s me)
“Don’t say that you are the one who has been doing that.It’s freezing in there!”

Here is some info on the lunchroom. It’s on the second story, with giant windows. Charles, an older male employee, gathers there with other older, male employees twice a day to blab and complain. Despite the light coming in from the windows, they turn on all the lights and crank up the heat to 30+. At lunch time, the room fills with them and early twenty-somethings, some of whom are temporary employees. The scene would be akin to dining on the surface of the sun with loud, harsh laughter and overlapping conversations, complaining on the “older” side of the room and plenty of ‘likes’ and ‘omygods’ on the “young” side. (It is quite the study in age stereotypes.) After an hour or so, all of them leave and go back to their respective offices. Oh and they leave the thermostat at 30+ for the remainder of the day!

Once everyone has left, I sneak into the room, turn off the lights and turn down the thermostat to a more reasonable 22-23 C. If I snuck in while they were still there and turned it down, I would have four cranky old men bleeting at me, so I wait. I have probably saved management a bundle in energy costs by doing this daily.

So back to our conversation.
Me: Do you have to crank it up to 30? Can’t you turn it up just a few degrees?
Charles: “We’re cold. You’re all bundled”, he motions at my sweater. (He’s wearing a thin long sleeved shirt)
Me: “I’m wearing winter clothes since it’s winter”
Charles: “Well we’re mad about this.”
Me: “Then you need to find something else (ie. something important) to complain about”

Charles mutters and walks away. Another coworker comes in and says “Well that’s Charles. He likes to complain”
Me: “Well, normally I like him..”
Coworker, astounded: “You do??”

Most of the time, I do like Charles and his buddies. While, I don’t eat lunch in the lunchroom, I do like to chat and joke with them while I reheat my lunch. But they seem to be under the mistaken idea that this room is theirs alone and no one else should be comfortable.

Of course, this is a more extreme example, but in general, I just don’t understand the whole “lunchroom culture”:
Inane conversations/loud arguments+blistering heat+fights over microwave use and unwashed dishes.

The main time I use this room is for my morning break, I eat my morning bagel or oatmeal and peruse through the magazines. It’s very nice. But by lunch hour, the lights are all flicked on, the heat is cranked and it gets LOUD! Some people at my work consider me “weird” for not wanting to spend every lunch hour moment with them in said uncomfortable environment. But how anyone can enjoy this situation is beyond me.

Anyways, the point of this post: I know it’s cold out and sometimes it’s grey. But if you are lucky enough to have a lunchroom with windows, you don’t have to crank up the heat to greenhouse levels and turn on all the lights. Also, call me crazy, but I think wearing sweaters in the winter is probably a good idea.



17 thoughts on “The Office Lunchroom

  1. Hippie Cahier

    When I was a student teacher, one of my professors warned us against spending too much time in the faculty lounge, which he also referred to as “Cafe Complain,” or “The Whiner Diner.” Maybe Charles used to be a teacher.

    I think you should be nominated for an award of some sort for your money-saving efforts.

    And I love the picture. Very funny!

  2. thoughtsappear

    If I’ve been really busy, I like to to just chill on my break or sometimes read…not be crammed in a loud room.

    And I’m with you…it’s winter. Dress warmer! Maybe introduce Charles to the concept of layers.

  3. leashieloo

    What’s most comical is how high school antics follow us into adulthood. Lucky for me, the building owners control our thermostat so we can’t do a whole lot about it. One drama avoided!

  4. Pauline Post author

    Lynn-LOL. Perhaps I should team up with the ‘Urban Ninja’:

    Hippie Cahier-Ha! Whiner Diner! That’s good! Maybe he was a teacher at one point! Thanks for the energy props.:)
    Lone Grey Squirrel-Aw shucks! Turning down the thermostat or keeping it at a reasonable temp has so many benefits. I don’t know why some people at my work don’t get that.
    Thoughtsappear-A quiet lunch, exactly! My work station is pretty high traffic, so it’s nice to get a break. LOL. I tried to tell Charles about layering but he wasn’t having it. He’s an odd one.
    Leishieloo-Comical yet sad and frustrating at the same time. But yes, you are lucky that you avoid that drama!

  5. Laura Best

    “Then you need to find something else to complain about.” I LOVED this response. So open and honest. It made me giggle, and yet I felt strangely proud of you for saying this!

  6. Foggy Dew

    I was thinking 30?!? Really? Can’t you at least turn it up to 50 to keep the water from freezing. Then reality set in. Oh, yeah, C.

    A friend of mine once told me the opposite of this story. She did an internship at the newspaper in Tampa, which had a dress code including the words “coat and tie” for men. This led to the newsroom being kept at near-Arctic temps throughout the summer. She said she was never warm again.

  7. Pauline Post author

    Lacochran-Damn! Some of them are 80 or close to it! (“Older” at my work means way past the usual age of retirement)
    Laura Best-Thanks and it’s true. There are plenty of other crazy things in the world to moan over. But they are pretty set in their ways!
    Foggy Dew-LOL. Woops! Probably should’ve qualified that yes, I mean Celcius. That’s crazy about your friend. Over zealous use of heating or air conditioning drives me nuts and gives me headaches! You really shouldn’t have to work in a freezer or oven!

  8. Pearl

    I could see this escalating into 10 minute dashes all day with Charles turning it up adn you slipping past and turning it down. could get quite amusing.

  9. Pauline Post author

    Pearl-That would make for quite the entertaining scene! For now, though, I’ve split the difference and set it at 25C. Let’s hope that they doesn’t mess with it!
    Kate-Oh yeah. It’s a wonderful bag of kittens and rainbows!. 😛
    Laura Best-Aww, thank you! I will mosey on over and check it out!

  10. Zhu

    I never truly experienced the lunchroom culture: the first jobs I work had a strict 30 min. break and we had no time to chat. In my current job, people take turn to grab lunch and most go outside or stay in the building but don’t eat in the designated lunch room.

    There is always some kind of fight about the air-con. I think people tend to overuse it, I’m freezing in the summer!

    30C is definitely way too high. How about wearing normal clothes? He wouldn’t be cold!

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