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Vegan / Vegetarian Discussion - All Things Veg*n Forum

My co-worker is leaving the organization, and someone in my office planned a lunch in her honor at an all-you-can-eat steakhouse. I'm a vegan, and although there is a salad bar and I could probably find a couple things to eat, I'd feel uncomfortable being surrounded by all the dead animal gluttony. It happens to be the day before my birthday as well, and we typically do an office lunch the week of someone's birthday, which is obviously going to be overshadowed by this going-away celebration. I never cared much about birthdays, so that's not such a big deal anyway.

My dilemma is: should I a) just go to the damn steakhouse and sit there with a mostly empty plate watching everyone stuff themselves silly with animal flesh; b) respectfully decline to go and express that I'd feel uncomfortable going there; c) make up some excuse and say I have another obligation I can't get out of? I'm inclined to go with option c. By the way, the lunch is in the middle of a work day, and all the staff would be going over together.

I'm generally fine going out to dinner with people where meat is served. But this all-you-can-eat steak house with dozens of different meat options, and the bragging about how much everyone's able to consume that is sure go with it, is another story. What would you do?

Responses (2)

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    Posted by fogtime at 08/04/13 23:44:37

    Yeah. I know what you mean. I would still go though. By setting an example, I might just convince someone to become vegetarian. Maybe not today, but some day.

  • DC1346's avatar
    Report Abuse

    Posted by DC1346 at 08/08/13 22:25:27

    I'm sorry that your feelings were hurt.

    Make a point of saying goodbye to the person who's leaving. You don't want this person to think that you weren't friendly and/or that you didn't like her. You might even want to give this person a small gift. When you say goodbye and give your gift, don't make a dramatic production out of it. You don't need to be loud or to do this in pubic. Explain that you're saying goodbye at the workplace because you're not going to the steakhouse. Explain that you're vegan but don't make it seem like a big deal and don't act aggrieved because a steakhouse was chosen instead of someplace more vegan friendly.

    To avoid appearing as though you're not a team player and/or that you're antisocial, have a private talk with your boss. Again - don't make a big deal out of being vegan. Don't whine about the steakhouse. Explain why you're not going and make sure your boss knows that you've already made a heartfelt personal goodbye to the person in question.

    Please don't take any of this personally. To be candid, misunderstandings like this pop up all the time. For example, in the technological and medical industry, we're seeing more and more professionals coming to the states on work visas from India. Most Indians are Hindu and devout Hindus don't eat beef. Can you imagine how a Hindu coworker would feel about a steakhouse?

    What about the Muslim or Mormon coworker who's invited out for a drink after work? Alcohol is forbidden to both faiths.

    Think about what it must be like for Jewish coworkers during Christmas. A lot of people put up decorations and of course Christians tend to say "Merry Christmas" to everyone. Some employees even organize Secret Santa gift exchanges. Can you imagine how put upon Jewish coworkers might feel since they don't recognize Christmas as a religious holiday?

    Think about the person who's dieting and the boss brings in donuts for the staff ... or the employee who's allergic to eggs and can't have a slice of someone's birthday cake.

    The thing to remember is that things like this happen all the time. If you take it personally, you're just going to be miserable.

    Best wishes and HAPPY BIRTHDAY!


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