Ever since I read “I was paid to eat snacks”, my secret love of free food (especially snacks) has come out. Full frontal. Unashamed.
Because who doesn’t love snacks? Especially when they’re free?
Unlike the rest of America, I grew up starved of afternoon snacks. I come home after school after a long squawky-voice-of-neighbors-mother-who-is-helicopter-parent-carpool ride and snacks are not present. After all, that is the Chinese way. You eat when it is dinner.
Occasionally, my mom would offer up fruit or something unsatisfying food. Although granted, I was used to it and never thought to have snacks…until college. Suddenly with a small salary from my IT job, I could afford ridiculous amount of snacks. Candy, pretzels, juice. You name it. But the fact that I had to pay for it often took away from the joy.
As in: I JUST ATE $3 IN TWO MINUTES. Because as you know, every cent counts as a college student.
That continued for another 6 years through graduate school. Then boom, it was over. Real world. Real salaries. Real offices. (Sort of, my first job was in the VP of Engineering’s apartment.)
Then suddenly as I entered the world of real jobs. That is, real office jobs, I discovered FREE SNACKS. I had this habit of getting up every 30 minutes to get snacks. Sometimes I would feign going to the restroom (which was of course in an apartment, awkwardly placed between everything) then I would do this crazy sidestep to the snack counter. Jackpot.
Then later, I got a real office job. In a design agencies no less. No there, people cared about quality. Although I still gorged on the Red Vines. Then at my next company—the smallest one yet, my voice finally found its purpose. Because now I had say. And now I could say NO YUCKY CHEEZ STIX, LETS HAVE DRIED FRUIT. (You see I had become all organic and wholesome, by this point). One time, the head of the company sent me to Trader Joe’s where I went on a shopping spree of dried fruit, high-end trail mix, and lightly crisped chips paired with gently mixed guacamole. This is also the period in my life where I baked. Cookies and muffins magically appeared on our snack table. I had discovered the best way to get rid of my unwanted snacks.
Then I entered the world of being in-house. That is, in tech. You see, by this point, I had visited Google and Twitter, loving the fact that they had free food. But snacks? Well, I loved the magical arrays of beverages—not just soda mind you. Expensive teas, Odwalla juices, coconut water. Then the candies. Cheese wheels! Did I just walk into a snack room?
But I remember when an executive once mentioned as the company was struggling, “We can’t take away the snacks. That will send a message.”
Today, I attended an industry event held at a large office. While everyone chattered, I grabbed a bag of sour watermelon and a bottle of sweet tea. It was so tasty.