VWPA Advice #012: Callie’s Conundrum – Activist It or Say Fuck It to Company BBQ?

Should I Attend a Not Vegan-Friendly Work Event?

So my work is doing a BBQ fundraiser lunch in a couple of weeks… They will be grilling burgers and providing chips and soda for any employees that want to participate. Since I work in the same department as the person coordinating this, she asked me if I would be interested in buying lunch if they had some veggie burgers available. I said if the burgers were vegan than yes I might be (last time they had a lunch like this they grilled hot dogs but the veggie dogs were vegetarian, not vegan so I didn’t have any).

Well now this person has made a BIG production of researching veggie burgers to find ones that are vegan and has turned it into a much bigger deal than it is. I have tried to be patient and helpful, offering suggestions of what brands are good and even offering to buy them… but this whole situation has started to make me feel uncomfortable, like they are doing me this HUGE favor.

Instead of feeling included, I feel more othered somehow. I’m not sure I want to even participate for a number of reasons:

  1. The lunch doesn’t sound very appealing, just a cheap frozen veggie burger on a crappy bun LOL, and I feel all this pressure to make sure its good so people don’t say “see I knew veggie burgers are gross!”. They want to buy Boca burgers which in my opinion aren’t fantastic.
  2. They have a habit of mixing up the veggie option with the beef one and I’m nervous that I’ll accidentally bite into a non-vegan burger.

However that all being said, I feel like this is a good ‘activist’ opportunity that I shouldn’t pass up. Do you think I should buy the lunch even if I really don’t want it?

– Callie

Nichole

This is exactly why I stopped participating in potlucks and cookoff competition at my job. It’s a huge expense and time-suck, and then you just have to deal with people’s bullshit all day. Thanks but no motherfuckin’ thanks y’all.

I feel, especially after reading further details below, that you should be an activist but in a different way than you think: I think you should tell your coworker that you won’t be attending because you are uncomfortable with how big of a deal this seems to be to accommodate you. She’ll sputter and maybe make you out to be rude, but FUCK HER. Sometimes it’s important to spread vegan sunshine over an event, and sometimes it’s more important to let someone know they are being a rude-ass motherfucker. Call that shit out!

You can choose to leave it at that, or elaborate, it’s up to you. But I think the biggest activist opportunity here is to show people that by making an elaborate show of picking out an option that is safe for an employee, that are making the environment hostile through their constant, ignorant micro-aggressions. This is a great opportunity for education, and to let them know that you will not kiss the ground at their feet and be grateful for something they should be doing anyway. This is a company that is frankly an HR nightmare, so it doesn’t surprise me they have no idea how to handle differences without being othering bullies about it, but they should learn.

If you are as much of an asshole as I am, I would recommend bringing the most amazingly indulgent wonderful vegan thing you can think of (like an entire pizza from Red House) and go sit with them and eat it while they are having MeatFest 2015. Groan and coo over how good your meal is, lick ALL of your fingers repeatedly, and say, “Oh my god, NO!” whenever someone asks you if you’re sad you’re not eating crappy company burgers.

Callie

Like I mentioned above, I am feeling really conflicted about participating in this lunch… I never really participated before I was vegan, mainly because the food wasn’t great and it’s pretty expensive for a crappy work BBQ lunch ($6!!).

And my coworker has been making it a pretty uncomfortable situation. She told someone (within earshot of me) that the reason we are doing vegan burgers instead of veggie ones is because I told her they taste better (never said that, I told her it was because I choose not to eat dairy or eggs). And she keeps dramatically sighing and going on about how much research she has to do to find out which brands are vegan (after I told her I would pick them out so she wouldn’t have to).

It has become a hassle that frankly I’d rather not be a part of… BUT spreading awareness of veganism is very important to me so I feel like I SHOULD participate. When we have had meatless options before they are usually vegetarian and not vegan, so it would be a ‘win’ to at least start transitioning the meatless option to vegan.

I’m thinking my best option would be to keep pushing to be involved in picking the veggie burger brand so I can pick a good one, and to ask for details about how they are going to keep the veggie burgers separate from the meat so I don’t end up biting into a meat burger.

Thanks for the help! :-D

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