The Blog Formerly Known As Practical Paralegalism
This answer to this question is likely “no” – unless no one sees you do it. Actually, this is not the literal question and answer given at Corporette’s post earlier this week, “Reader Mail: Can I take the leftovers from my business lunch?” I perked right up at the sight of a question that even a legal professional who will never be on a partnership track and usually bags it really needs to know the answer to.
Corporette recommends “precision-ordering”, a process that requires Sherlock Holmes-like powers of observation and deduction, to avoid leftovers – and no requesting a doggy bag. (Even I know not to say “doggy bag” at a professional lunch, and to politely request a “to-go box” in the event my precision-ordering is off.)
The topic touched a nerve among Corporette readers, and the comments range from mandating that to ask for your leftovers is a huge career faux pas from which you will never recover, to it is politically correct and reflects a healthy self-esteem to get a to-go box. While a couple of readers indicate that in their firms only administrative assistants take leftover food, I am delighted to see at least one reader say the partners in her firm do, too, a prudent idea in these uncertain economic times. I want to hug those readers that say who cares if you ask for a box or not, regardless of where you are on the law firm ladder, as well as the reader that recommends taking the box and giving it to a homeless person (although most of the ones I’ve run into said they’d rather have cash).
Despite the advice from some Corporette readers to “go with the flow” at a business lunch and do what everyone else is doing, here’s how I decide what to do with the leftovers. If I like my lunch, I take the rest of it home with me.
I thought I’d share a few more helpful business lunch tips from an About.com article “Mind Your Table Manners – Especially for Business”:
Don’t talk with food in your mouth. It makes it difficult to understand what you’re saying, and it’s not pleasant to see your food being masticated. Further, you don’t want to risk a torpedo flying out of your mouth onto your companion’s plate.
Don’t burp. It’s not cute and it’s not a compliment in most parts of the world, no matter what your father told you. If a burp or hiccup escapes, just quietly say, “excuse me.”
Never lift your soup bowl to drink the final drops. Tilt it away from you and scoop the final amount with the spoon pushing away from you. Don’t try to get every last drop.
And absolutely do not tip your soup bowl into your mouth and then burp. After that, whether you ask for a box or not will be a moot point.