Everyone has the right to choose what kind of diet they want to follow. Vegan, vegetarian, meat-eating, and everything in between. Unfortunately, some people feel the need to preach about their dietary choices and shame others for theirs. That’s what happened to this man when his vegan co-worker told him to eat his lunch burger outside in the cold and not in the breakroom where she was. He wrote about the situation in the Reddit forum Am I The Asshole to find out if he was wrong for eating a burger in front of her. (1)
Should I Eat A Burger In Front of My Vegan Co-worker?
The original poster (OP) started his post by stating that he usually gets along with his vegan co-worker. He says she always tells people she’s a vegan but that he hasn’t known her to be overly pushy about it. (1)
One day he decided he was craving a burger, so much so that he’d actually been thinking about it for a few days. He popped over to the fast food place nearby to pick himself up a burger while on lunch break. (1)
Upon returning to work, excited to dive into his lunch, he bumped into his vegan co-worker.
“We exchanged pleasantries [and] she noticed the bag in my hand and said something to the effect of “yeah, can you not eat that in here, the smell makes me nauseous, and I can smell it already, “he wrote. “I said, “well, this is the only breakroom, and I’m hungry, so…” she suggested I eat it outside (we live in a cold, snowy state). I just started eating and ignoring her, so she left.” (1)
From there, however, she complained to some other people. OP found out when someone else in his department brought it up to him later. According to this co-worker, she said OP was mean and that she should compromise. (1)
“Thing is I’m a pretty empathetic person; if someone has an allergy or something, I try to accommodate, but being a vegan is a choice, and it’s not like I went out of my way just to annoy her. I honestly didn’t even know she was in there ’til I got back, but I’m not going to eat out in the cold just to please someone.” (1)
He ended his post by saying that he was feeling bad that he made someone feel sick. He asked Reddit if he should have instead just saved his burger for later. (1)
Reddit’s Response: Not The Asshole
Commenters on his post were overwhelmingly on his side. They said that sure if there was another breakroom, he easily could have moved. However, the fact that there is only one means that the vegan co-worker is the one who should accommodate him and not the other way around. (1)
“You’re allowed to eat what you want to eat, and she doesn’t get to call dibs on the break room. If she was so bothered, she should have left.” said one commenter. (1)
Others agreed, saying that being vegan is like having a life-threatening allergy. Being a vegan is her choice, just as not being vegan is his. She doesn’t have the right to throw any meat-eaters out of the breakroom just because she doesn’t like it. (1)
“as a veggie i couldn’t agree with this more. while it’s unfortunate that it makes her nauseous, i find it hard to believe that it’s so bad she needs you to leave the room. i wonder what she does when she goes to restaurants?” said one vegetarian commenter. (1)
“Agreed. Vegetarian here and vegans like her really irritate me. The break room is for everyone to use and eat in. If the meat bothered her so much she could leave. It sounds like her entire personality is wrapped up in being a vegan so she took this opportunity to make as big of fuss as possible.” said another. (1)
The World Does Not Have To Accommodate Your Dietary Decisions or Needs
Many other users commented talking about their personal dietary restrictions. Even those with allergies were on his side. (1)
“I’m allergic to seafood. When a coworker eats seafood I go to my room to eat.” said one.
“And if its the much of an ordeal for her, she should choose an inconvenient time to have lunch (late or early) and have her lunch there and communicate that she would prefer it if others didn’t eat meat at that time.
They don’t have to listen to her, but she can communicate with them vs trying to ban people from eating food.
We had a lady with a nut allergy who used to eat lunch between 11:30 and 12:30 with a request that people eating nuts ate after her. We were all chill, and it was feasible as she was mainly in the break room when we weren’t, as no one else had lunch at 11:30.” said another. (1)
The Breakroom Is For Everyone, including non-vegan co-workers
The main consensus is that the breakroom is for everyone to enjoy and that his vegan co-worker doesn’t have authority over who gets to use it and when. Many others mentioned that she said she wants him to compromise, but in reality, all she wants is for him to accommodate her. (1)
“What compromise? She wants you to leave and eat it outside. I don’t see compromise, I see entitlement.
It will be a compromise if she said, “Can you give me 5 minutes, I am almost done eating” or “How long do you think it will take you to finish your lunch? Would 15 minutes be enough?” (1)
Even vegan posters agreed that it was rude and an outrageous request for him to eat his lunch outside in the cold or wait hours until he was finished work to eat. (1)
So, in conclusion, no, this man was not in the wrong. Though it is unfortunate that the smell of the burger made her feel nauseous, it is up to her to navigate that environment, not him.