A UK government minster, Anna Soubry, who is the Minister for Public Health has condemned those office workers who eat lunch at their desks. She has stated that it’s a “disgusting” habit to eat over a keyboard and maintains that lunch should be a time to enjoy your food and relax in order to set yourself up for the rest of the day but are you guilty of this misdemeanour?
Are you one of the millions of office workers who grab a takeaway sandwich and take it back to the office to eat at your desk?
I know, to a certain degree, I am. Although I’m self employed and work from home, I almost ALWAYS go downstairs at around 1.00 to 1.15, make a quick sandwich, grab a cup of tea and return to my desk either to work while I’m eating or at least be sitting here in case any work comes in. In fact, while I’m sorting out this article, I’m in the middle of eating a cheese and cucumber sandwich and then I shall be slurping my cup of tea.
Anna Soubry has also stated that we have a “weird” relationship with food and she considers it “mad and wrong” to expect employees to lose pay for their lunch break. I have to admit that I thought that idea had gone out with the ark, but apparently not!
However, not only did she make comment on the keyboard lunch, but also touched on the fact that there were a good many primary school children here in the UK who didn’t know how to handle a knife and fork due to the fact that they were regularly eating TV dinners (such as pizza or burgers) with their fingers! I suppose I shouldn’t really have been surprised. I suspect this also applies to children being able to use a cup or glass – so many kids over here have the extremely unsavoury and unhealthy habit of swilling their milk or fruit juice straight from the carton; or alternatively take small cartons or plastic bottles of drink with them to school for lunch – hence drinking either through a straw or straight from the bottle.
Going back to the “desktop dining” issue, the journalist who published the article which I read on the subject pointed out that she, as with members of the rest of her team, were guilty of this crime but it wasn’t because they didn’t want to leave their desks but rather the fact that they had deadlines to reach and it was either a case of eating at their desks or starving – and I know that, like her, I would have opted for the former. She stated that she regularly didn’t move from her chair for hours apart from taking a couple of minutes off to go to the loo!
She looked into some of her colleagues particularly disgusting desktop dining habits and was shocked when one member of her team confessed that he had on one occasion spilt soup on his keyboard but instead of just cleaning it he tipped the keyboard upside down and poured it into his mouth … yuk!!!!
Having looked into the “keyboard crime” still deeper the journalist also discovered that there are 200 times more bacteria on a keyboard than there are on the average toilet seat – the same applies to other gadgets such as mobile phones. This was backed up by a survey conducted in 2008 in which it was discovered that bacteria capable of causing food poisoning had been found on some keyboards and one of the keyboards that was targeted for the survey was considered so unhygienic that a microbiologist had it confiscated, quarantined and cleaned.
I suspect my keyboard isn’t squeaky clean. Not only do I eat over it but my two cats often wander around in front of my desk or settle on a cushion on a table beside my desk and have a good wash scattering hair and heaven knows what in my direction, or shake their muddy paws which, as you can imagine, have been digging around the garden covering up their “deposits”. At least, though, I don’t tend to pick up any food that’s been dropped on my desk or keyboard and eat it so I’m not a complete slob.
Well, there’s food for thought for all you budding best sellers out there!!