Tuesday, 30 September 2008

Birthday Cake o'clock

A few times a week, something like this appears in my email inbox at work.
 
"As I'm leaving on Friday, I've left some afternoon cakes and biscuits in the kitchen for everyone as a thank you"
 
or
 
"Normally a round of M&S's finest would serve to celebrate my birthday, however since Mike stepped up the bar with his huge cake offering last week, I've gone one better. Find lots of home baked cakes in the usual place"
 
As such, I've come to understand that not only do the people in this office bring in their own birthday cakes for everyone to enjoy, thus saving the embarrassment of an awkward group 'happy birthday' gathering around desks and a 'ooh, she only ever turns up for the cake' type discussion, they're competitive about it as well. Fantastico.
 
With the kitchen being pretty close to my desk I've also noticed a pattern in the minutes following a kitchen cake drop. Suddenly, all these people emerge clutching coffee cups and glasses or suddenly needing the toilet (conviniently situated next to the kitchen) - like a mass migration of sugar hungry children to a newsagent - and then their faces (not faeces, now there's a typo I was tempted to keep) sort of drop as they realise that everyone else has had the same idea and that they're now going to have to stand and make small talk for a few minutes before they can amble back to their desk. I love it when they try and act all surprised about finding the rows of cakes lined up too, like with a 'ooh, well, seeing as they're here' type comment before grabbing a slice and a napkin. I know your game. There's no fooling me, you gannets.
 
See, it's all about having the laid back approach to cake grabbing. From my superior vantage point, I can sit back and watch the first eager wave of people and even though the cake calls to me, I sit it out. Then when the rush dies down and everyone's run out of polite conversation and taken their polite amounts of cake (one slice, not two!), that's when I wonder on over.
 
And ohhhh yeah, I reap the rewards. Today I had one fondant fancy and two cookies - which social conventions would never have let me get away with in a crowded setting - and I didn't even have to style it out in two journeys; pretending to forget my water or something. The area was empty, so I just strolled on in and claimed my prize.
 
And best of all, my birthday's already been. Timing is everything in this game.

6 comments:

theperpetualspiral said...

It seems you have hatched the perfect birthday cake snaffling plan there!

The Unbearable Banishment said...

We had a “gather round” happy birthday just yesterday. Everybody stands around a desk and embarrassingly mumbles through the song. It’s so uncomfortable. Why do we still do it?

surviving myself said...

Well played Jo, well played indeed.

Mouldy-Old-Tartlet said...

My bosses are pigs. Bring in any sort of food and it's like piranhas on a helpless cow. Gah - whoever started the tradition of bringing in your own cake(s) to the office on your own birthday should be shot.

Please Don't Eat With Your Mouth Open said...

perpetual - I like to think so.

unbearable - They are awful. Leaving 'gatherings' are bad as well, a load of people who couldn't really care less all hanging about mumbling 'you must keep in touch' and handing over cards they've all scribbled in. Eeek.

surviving - Why thank you. I might start giving seminars.

mouldy - Ah, see in a small office there's no safety in numbers. It's every man for themself. Or every pig for their trough. Or something.

weenie said...

When we had a large department (pre credit cruch days of course), we used to run a birthday club, so whenever it was someone's birthday, everyone chipped in a quid to either get a gift or just give the birthday girl/boy the cash. It all went a bit pear-shaped when two of the managers said they were sick of forking out for people's birthdays. Since they had already had their birthdays earlier in the year and received their gifts/cash, they were not allowed to opt out. The club had run its course by the end of the year.

 

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