OK, conference organizers, listen up:
You never get the box lunch right. Ever. Even when I was in grade school and you were the field trip organizer, you still never got it right.
Not everyone wants a pre-made meat sandwich, and not everyone who doesn’t want meat is a vegetarian. Giving me the choice between soggy ham, limp turkey, or sprouts-on-rye isn’t a choice. I might consider the ham, but you made it six hours ago, threw a really moist tomato on there, and wrapped it tight as you could in plastic, thereby ensuring the tomato juice permeates the bread and makes it entirely inedible.
Normally I wouldn’t even complain, except you make the assumption everyone’s going to eat the box lunch so you don’t give me enough time to go somewhere and get something else - I eat your lunch, or I don’t eat at all.
I am tired of eating a lunch that consists of an undersized apple, a small bag of greasy chips, and a cookie. I’m tired of having people with lower food standards look at me with that pathetic gaze and offer me another bag of greasy chips.
There are ways you can fix this and still keep your precious box lunch. Seriously.
- Stop pre-making the sandwiches. Put the individually packaged ingredients for each sandwich in the box instead so I can assemble it myself, ensuring the bread isn’t soggy and that I can entirely ignore that overripe tomato slice.
- Offer the peanut butter and jelly option. Yeah, I know there are nut allergy people. I think they can figure out not to eat the PB&J.
- Actually ask me what I want during conference registration. Not just a checkbox for the “vegetarian option,” but actually a menu of four or five different things you could package up that maybe aren’t sandwiches. Or let me select which ingredients go on my sandwich from the menu. It can’t be that hard.
- Buffet. I get a plate, I walk down the line of available items, I pick up what I want. Wow.
- Give me the money you’d have spent on the box lunch and enough time to hit the Burger King down the street. I’ll come back happier and probably have change left over.
Conference organizers everywhere, heed my call! No more box lunches!