Office party outing

We had a girls’ gathering after work on Thursday, a good-bye party of sorts for a coworker who is off to bigger and better things (namely hanging out with her adorable baby grandson), held at a golf course restaurant. For some reason, we always go there. Probably because they have a great patio for use when the weather is nice. Or maybe we just lack creativity.


The restaurant has a great happy hour menu with something called “Divot Fries,” which are basically perfection: French fries with cheese sauce, bacon, tomato, green onion AND a ranch dipping sauce. My girls LOVE THEM. I brought home leftovers once and now I’m expected to every time.

I didn't take a picture at the restaurant, so here's a reenactment on my kitchen counter.

I didn’t take a picture at the restaurant, so here’s a reenactment on my kitchen counter.

We’re all about tradition in this house.

So when I left for work Thursday morning, I tossed an extra container into my lunch sack. Planning ahead, that’s the key.

At the restaurant, I order Divot Fries, regular fries and a fish slider (the waitress doesn’t even blink that I’m double fisting the fries; I love Divot Fries too, but they kill my stomach) — and my coworkers think I’m a hero for getting around the happy hour rule of not ordering food to go. Technically that just makes me a jerk, but hey, my kids are happy, so.

Things are winding down, and I pull out my containers — one for fries, one for dipping sauce — and take a deep breath.

Everyone at work knows I use containers — it’s hard to hide jars of backup coffee — but they don’t know that I’m as committed as I am. This was my coming out of sorts.

Oh, you and your containers, my publisher laughed as I placed them on the table, and then I started getting peppered with questions: Did you bring that from home? Did you go home to get it? Why do you do that?

Uh, I knew we were coming here and the girls would need fries, so I packed it in my lunch. Zero waste! Trying to cut down on my trash.

Saying “zero waste” out loud felt like jumping off a cliff. But I got a couple of nods. And a few actually kept a lookout for the waitress while I packed it all away, although honestly, I wasn’t worried that she’d see me. Reusable containers aren’t outlawed.

(Or maybe they were just worried the waitress would see that I was a jerk, packing away the untouched fries that were clearly intended as a to-go item. Eh, I gave her a nice tip.)

I think that, because bringing in your own containers for leftovers isn’t commonly practiced, it makes you feel a bit like a smuggler. Even if it’s not you who’s doing the smuggling, as with my lookouts — they were simultaneously intrigued and ashamed on my behalf. I brought the containers in using my messenger bag — just for ease of walking — but I made myself keep the filled containers on the table and walk out with them in my hands. Because it’s not smuggling. It’s no different than asking for a to-go box.

And if anyone else noticed, or cared, it went unsaid.

Next up: Keeping safe with a safety razor.

4 Responses to Office party outing

  1. Good for you! I’m a container gal too 🙂 We’re flying to Vancouver for vacation and I always pack a few containers with me. Great for packing lunches and taking back take out!

    • It takes a little planning, but taking in a container is actually easier, I think — lid that won’t leak, stacks nicely in the fridge, no trash to worry about after the yumminess is gone. It will be interesting to see if, at our next gathering, anyone else comes in with a container.

      And yay you for thinking WAY ahead on vacation! That’s awesome!

  2. I like the idea of taking my own container for restaurant leftovers. If there are enough leftovers it would be like prepacking my lunch for the next day. I am all about making lunch packing easier. My problem is that I get the leftovers home and decide they would be a great late night snack.

    • LOL — so true about the late night snack! On Saturday the girls and I found ourselves without adult supervision, so we went to a favorite local restaurant (like, owned locally and serves local food). Abby and I meant to have leftovers, but somehow our meals disappeared. 🙂 Johanna did have leftovers and we packed them out in a container (I forgot to pack one because it was a last minute thing, but I have my emergency kit in the car and used a container from that. WHEW). The waitress even watched us load it up. No comment, but she wasn’t shocked or horrified or anything.

      P.S. The girls and I have started making our lunches the night before. I figured our beginning of the school year enthusiasm would wear off fairly quickly, but we’ve been going strong — and it makes the morning go a lot smoother.

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