Taking on ‘cake culture’: how to say no to office treats

The Royal College of Surgeons says the sugary confections provided by colleagues are causing obesity and tooth-decay. Here’s how to steer clear while at work

Cake culture is killing us. The faculty of dental surgery at the Royal College of Surgeons has claimed that sugary office-based snacking is contributing to an epidemic of obesity and poor oral health in this country.

However, its suggestions – such as eating sugar only at lunchtime and doling out birthday cake only on Fridays – seem like half-measures. If you’re determined to avoid office cake, here are your options.

1 Fake an intolerance

The easiest way to refuse cake in the office is to say that you’ve gone gluten-free. However, this has its drawbacks: people will either start to bring in “free from” cakes just for you or they will shun you for being a fun-hating grump. So say you’re coeliac instead. Not only does it sound serious, but you might also be able to convince them that it’s contagious, and they’ll leave you to work in peace.

2 Start a new birthday tradition

On your birthday, why not set an example for your colleagues by bringing in some unwashed carrots and a pile of flaxseed? “Why aren’t you eating any?” you can shout at your co-workers. “Aren’t you happy that it’s my birthday? Kevin, try this flaxseed. It tastes better if you mix it with saliva.”

3 Get a new job

If cake culture is ruining your health, then don’t be afraid to up sticks and change career. Maybe the Anti-Flour League has a position going. Or perhaps the charity Butter is Bullshit wants a new social-media coordinator. Have you enquired at the dental surgery faculty at the Royal College of Surgeons? You may find that everyone there is gaunt and unhappy, but it sounds like your kind of deal.

4 Eat so much cake that you die

This one is a bit drastic, but bear with me. Whenever someone brings cake into the office, grab as much of it as you can and force it into your mouth in front of everyone. Eventually, if you combine it with a total lack of exercise, this will cause your heart to give up, and you’ll collapse to the floor covered in icing, and your colleagues will forever equate brightly coloured celebration treats with the harrowing memory of your death. Congratulations – you have saved their lives.

5 Work from home

If you don’t have an office to go to, you’ll never be invited for cake. But it’s OK. You’ve got three coconut Quality Streets left over from Christmas and a slice of bread that you can ball up and stick a candle in if you want to pretend it’s someone’s birthday. God, you’re lonely. But you’re also thin, so that’s something.


Stuart Heritage

The GuardianTramp

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