Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Hot Air Vent

Every year at Sunnydale, we have a big Christmas party. I mean *big*. Our floor feeds all our employees, the employees from various other departments, and sundry patients and family members. We plan the thing for weeks in advance and everybody chips in.

There are rules. If you don't bring enough food to feed a minimum of twelve folks (or one hungry resident), you have to pony up cash. There's no set amount, but whatever is given should be given without our having to pester you or your whining about it. Likewise, if you didn't bring something or pay money, you don't get to take any leftovers home. And, finally, we leave the vast majority of food for the night shift and residents, who reciprocate throughout the year.

Sounds reasonable, right? And you know where this is going, right?

I have two coworkers: The Thiever and The Bitcher. 

The Thiever steals anything and everything that isn't tied down: potted plants, toilet paper, items left unclaimed in the lost and found, people's empty totebags that are left a moment too long, clean Tupperware from the kitchen.  I understand that two kids and a deadbeat husband can make things tight, but c'mon. There is a limit.

Plus, she hates giving money for parties and doesn't cook.

The Bitcher has not--and here I do not exaggerate, for once--ever eaten anything besides meat and starch in my presence. Everyone else's food is fair game for her wrinkled nose and expressions of disgust. Vegetables are a foreign concept, as is any cheese that is not processed. She lacks even the most basic dinnertime manners. She would give my mom a heart attack.

Plus, she hates giving money for parties and doesn't cook.

I know you can see the end of this tale, like the steeple of a church rising up from the Alberta horizon, but bear with me. My blood pressure is insanely high.

Friday was the annual Xmas Do. Those of us who cook spent hours preparing food (and a good chunk of our own change), setting up the tables, and making sure things were hot. There was a turkey. There was a ham. There were various side dishes including, but not limited to: greens, macaroni and cheese, scalloped potatoes, mashed potatoes, dinner rolls, bean casserole, an enormous green salad with walnuts....you get the idea. I made four pies and a cake for the dessert course. We rocked out. 

Come afternoon, The Thiever arrived with--and again, here I am not exaggerating--a stack of plasticware and a couple of trash bags, and proceeded to scrape, pile, dump, and ladle all of the leftovers she could fit into the plastic containers. This after not giving any money or time to the party fund or even bothering to show up for the damn thing.

The Bitcher joined her in the kitchen and offered a running commentary on what was good, what was bad, and what was just plain too weird to eat. 

I was washing dishes and so got to see and hear the whole thing. After hearing my beautiful Potatoes Savoyarde denigrated as being "funny-tasting" (that would be the Gruyere, thanks), I lost it. I put down the sponge and grabbed the plastic container with the half of an apple pie in it.

And I snarled, "Get OUT." Like a pink-eyed pig on a fire escape, I was.

I was met with expressions of disbelief.

"Neither one of you," I hissed, "Did one fucking thing for this party. You" (stabbing finger at The Bitcher) "refused to eat anything without complaining about it. And you" (ditto at The Thiever) "didn't bother to show up, pay even five bucks, or cook anything. You do not get leftovers. Bitcher, you do not get any more food from me."

"I am not done cooking, but I am done cooking for you two damn fools."

And with that, my beloved, blessed, wonderful coworkers, who had heard the whole thing, all stood up silently and began to unload the various plastic tubs and boxes from The Thiever's bags and return them to the fridge for the night shift. The Bitcher stood there flummoxed and protesting that she was only joking, but everybody ignored her.

And on Christmas Day? When we're all working together again and a few of us are bringing breakfast? 

My two worthless colleagues will have to brown-bag it or buy something from the vending machines. I am *through*.


Anonymous said...

That's the kind of Christmas spirit I'm talking about! Go, Jo!


Dr. Alice said...


I hate people like that. I can't believe the Thiever had the nerve to bring Tupperware and shovel all that food into it! People never cease to amaze me.

Brenda said...


Anonymous said...

I've seen this boorish behavior at every office party I've ever attended. Thank You, Jo, for saying what I've been thinking for 30 years! WELL DONE!

Kimberly said...

::applauds:: You don't have to take that shit.

Anonymous said...

Number of Google hits of the phrase "like a pink-eyed pig on a fire escape:"

1 (yours).


Lisa G said...

I realllllly would have liked to have witnessed that. Those kind of people hardly ever get what they deserve. You go!

CandyGirl said...


You ROCK! I'm so glad your co-workers backed you up, but the guts that took... I'll bet it felt good too!

Anonymous said...


(And I must say that I'm intrigued by the Alberta remark. Have you visited our Great White North -- which btw will be covered in snow from sea to sea to sea this Christmas. First time in 40 years it's white everywhere!)

JChevais said...

Bravo! I can't believe how poorly some people behave.

And I can't help but wonder where you are? I'm originally from Alberta and it's a rare day indeed when I see mention of it anywhere on the internet...

Anonymous said...

You GO, girl! :D

Anonymous said...

Go 'head, Girl! I'm so glad you said something, and said it in no uncertain terms. I was woo-hoo'ing as I read.

Anonymous said...

Can I get an amen. I can only imagine the feeling you had after unloading on them, let alone how you validated the rest of staff.
Way to go girl.

Anonymous said...

Good for you. I have also arranged many staff parties only to have certain members whine, bitch, complain or try to take everything home to feed their whole families with. I have also turned on them to tell them they are ingrates and losers! (and guess what - they are always losers!!)
If you cant join in or be gracious then you are a PIG! If you choose to opt out - then that means out of all of it!
Merry Xmas Jo - I love your blog
Another Nurse 30yrs and counting

Anonymous said...

You go girl! What cheeky, ungrateful toads they are, and I'm so glad to see them told.

Love the blog, love the attitude and am strangely craving a large squid/octopus/whatever.

girl_in_greenwood said...

Oh HELL yes. Want to come work on my unit? We share the love, the food, and the leftovers.

Anonymous said...

Well HRN: Well said! Bravo! Last year the husband (he's a DOP) had a Pharmacy Department party for his staff, he decided to order an entire catered lunch with enough food to cover both shifts and three very expensive yummy pies and cookies from a great local bakery, so I didn't have to cook or take time to do the ordering myself. I was busy with my own holiday party gigs, so it was sweet of him!

Next evening he comes home, I ask how did the party/feed go? He gives me a look that could have killed... after about 5 minutes of snorting and huffing, he sits down in the dining room to tell his story...

Turns out that when the caterer delivered the food and put the spread went out, he had to go to a Manager's Meeting over lunch time, but told everyone-- "Save me some food, as I want to eat our lunch. I'll be back in 45 minutes."

40 Minutes later he returns to the Pharmacy Conference Room to find 3 nurses from one of the floors, loading up their Tupperware with all of the remaining food, and one carrying off an entire pie!

When he asks them "Who invited you to my staff luncheon?" They begin to get bitchy and tell him it's "None of your business!" That's when things got interesting... He then proceeds to tell them, "The lunch and this spread is for my pharmacy department staff only. I personally paid for it. Put all of the food back and leave-- now!" Then they start to get even more rude, and starts throwing the food back on the table, he nearly went orbital. Next he walks over to the phone and publicly pages for the DON. Now the theives begin to scatter-- only to be met at the door by the DON, who just happened to be around the corner... When she asks what's up-- my husband points to the food now tossed and thrown all around the conference table-- and explains the situation. The DON was not amused...

Long story short... she highly suggested they repay him for the meals-- or else.

Husband was so upset he never ate. That was the last in-house luncheon, dinner or celebration he ever had for his staff inside the hospital.