Pat Muir is out of the office this week. Here’s some classic complaining from 2016.
In an act of charitable goodwill, a colleague brought in a plate of Christmas cookies to the office.
It’s his first time bringing in a baked good. Pros: They look wonderful. Cons: They taste terrible. Like maybe his shortening or flour had turned and he didn’t notice. They are “spit this out right now” bad. I have been stealthily throwing a few away every couple of hours, but otherwise they are going untouched.
He’s really proud of himself. How do we clue him in that there’s a culinary issue with his ingredients without hurting his feelings? Or worse, what if he’s a terrible baker but doesn’t know? I don’t think the office can take another batch of these.
Sincerely, These Cookies Need to Crumble
Dear These Cookies,
Not to discount the horrible disappointment of subpar cookies, but aren’t we being a bit dramatic here?
“I don’t think the office can take another batch of these,” you say? Like the whole place will shut down. All work will come to a halt. Or worse: The employees will be driven mad, turning against each other in a fit of bad-cookie rage that only ends when every last person has either killed or been killed.
I can picture it. The cops are called but it’s too late. It’s carnage. Sour-tasting cookies and dead bodies everywhere. The first-arriving beat cop can do nothing but take off his hat and silently make the sign of the cross. Then a couple of hard-bitten detectives arrive on the scene and one of them says, “All this over a plate of cookies,” and the other one responds with something pithy and sarcastic like, “I guess he should have gone with oatmeal-raisin.”
They find the lone survivor, a temp named Steve, shivering and stripped to the waist underneath a desk. He’s got cookie frosting smeared on his face and chest in patterns that the official reports can only describe as “troubling.” He’s mumbling something about flour and sugar and eggs. They haul him out of there, either to prison or to the hospital for the criminally insane — that’s up to a judge. Then it’s all police tape, body bags and hazmat suits.
What I’m trying to get at it with my little flight of horrific fancy there is that I think you’ll be fine. A guy made some lousy cookies; these things happen. You don’t have to worry about his feelings, because you don’t have to say anything at all. Just don’t eat them.
And if he asks how you like them, either say, “I love them, thanks,” or “Eh, I think there might have been something off; maybe they’re just not for me.” You don’t have to be mean about it, but you also don’t have to go to great lengths to gently tell the guy his cookies are terrible.
Hope that helps.