Food Bandits in the Global Village


Food Bandits in the Global Village
by Faramarz

An Iranian friend and colleague invited me to an all-day seminar at his company several months ago. He thought that it would be a good way for me to meet some key people and generate some business activities. The event was held in a large conference room with a few presenters and catered lunch and snacks.

After we met me at the lobby and he got me a temporary badge, we proceeded to a large conference room. The Seminar Administrator gave me a stack of handouts and a red plastic wristband! Before I could ask her what the wristband was for, my friend quietly whispered,” Just take the wristband. I’ll tell you later!”  

“The company has a problem with food bandits!” My friend quietly told me as we took our seats. “There are a bunch of newly-arrived employees, mostly from India and China that go from one conference room to another around the lunch time looking for free meals! It is the company policy to provide free food, beverages and snacks for all-day events to promote attendance in training and seminars. However, these food bandits have figured out the system so they roam around the campus and check the conference rooms for all-day events. Then they just walk in as the caterer brings in the lunch! They just eat the food and then leave. It got so bad that one time before the caterer could set up the table, one guy grabbed a couple of pizza boxes and left!”

“Are the Iranians a part of this too?” I asked.

“No Iranians are involved. The bandits think that we are a bunch of snobs for not doing it! But don’t get me wrong. We enjoy the free food as much as the Chinese or the Indians. But this is just too much. So several months ago, after much complaining from the employees who did not get their free lunches, the Human Resources implemented a new procedure. Now the corporate security escorts the caterer to the conference rooms and stays there until the tables are set. Also, the event administrator passes out color wristbands in the morning to those in attendance. The first ten get the red ones; the next ten get the green, and then blue and so on. After the lunch tables are set, employees come in the order of their color wristbands.”

“That’s how they feed the lions at the zoo!” I thought. “One cage at a time!”

At the mid-morning break they brought in some coffee, juices, bagels and muffins. Although the blueberry muffins looked really good, I decided to only have some coffee. And I made sure that the Administrator saw me! “I may look like that I am from the Third World like those food bandits, but I am not like them!” was my hidden message to her.

At around 11:30 AM, the door opened and the corporate security and a couple of caterers came in with their rolling carts. I could not wait to see the color-code scheme in action. Under the watchful eyes of the security guard, the caterers set up the tables. It looked kind of like when the Brinks security guys put cash in the ATM machines; one stands guard, the other one does the work!

The lunch was thin crust pizza, Caesar salad and a few other things. I got in the line with my friend and made sure that the guard clearly saw my red wristband. I took some salad only and again walked slowly by the guard. “Have some pizza. It will all be gone in a few minutes.” My friend said. “Oh, I am fine with salad. I had pizza last night.” I lied.

For the rest of the afternoon, all I could think about was driving straight to my favorite pizzeria and have a large thin crust pizza for an early dinner; one half with one topping and the other half with another.

Welcome to the global village!


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more from Faramarz

you missed out on that pizza to elicit a message?!

by Monda on

Faramarz you're way too civi and conscientious for an iranian! Very entertaining and educational though, as usual.

Also divaneh jan's story brightened my day as well. You two should definitely meet, if anyone asked me! 


غذا رو بزن به بد ن


Thank you MM. Looks like that you have enjoyed your share of corporate food piracy! Nothing wrong with that. My friend was telling me that one time, 5 Indian guys took all the vegetarian sandwiches before one Iranian guy could get one, and the only thing left on the tray was a ham sandwich which the guy did not like. He got so angry that he told my friend
اين غذا رو از حلقوم ِ اين هندى ها ميكشم بيرون
I would have paid to watch that scene

Dear Red Wine,
You honor me with your presence here. Thank you

Divaneh Jaan,
You are a man of many talents! Your funny food story definitely qualifies for an episode of Man vs. Food on the Travel Channel


Free food is best food

by divaneh on

How could Iranians loose to Chinese and Indians? You guys are giving us a bad name. What’s wrong with you turning your back to free Pizza? I do have my own story about corporate hospitality and that was when I met a client in France.

Years ago when I did not finish my meal in a French party, I was told off by a French guest who thought that despite my ignored pleas for less couscous in my plate, the right etiquette was to finish all the food that I was served. I did fell out with my self-appointed etiquette tutor but did not forget the lesson. When years later I met the French client management team, I knew I had to finish everything in my plate. At lunch time food arrived and I was presented with a tray full of all sorts of meat, sausages, cheese, eggs, bread, vegetable, fruits, yoghurt and sweets, all in abundant quantities. In horror I looked at my hosts pleading with my eyes if they would forgive my sins for not being able to consume that much. I could not even eat quarter of that but I didn’t want to make them angry. Their kind smiles, and face and hand gestures that were asking me to start enjoying their world famous food convinced me that I had no choice but to answer their kind hospitality with a clear tray. I dropped my head down, closed my eyes and started gobbling up the content. I thought it was best to start with the meat and sausages to get the difficult ones out of the way first. Sweating and breathless I pushed the items down my throat one after another, cursing the difficulties of professional life and what I had to go through to build rapport with clients. When I put the last grape in my mouth, that did not go further than my throat, I looked up to show my gratitude for the delicious meal, just to encounter the wide eyes of everyone round the table who had all finished before me. The serviettes with which they had cleaned their mouths were in the mostly full trays and they were all watching me in disbelief. I was embarrassed for a moment and then helped myself out of the situation and proclaimed: I enjoyed the starter, when are we having the main.

Red Wine


by Red Wine on

نغز می‌نویسید و شیرین مثل عسل ! به سلامتی شما حتما باده امشب خواهیم نوشید.

خدا شما را برای ما حفظ کند ...



food bandits exist in every company

by MM on



Thank you Souri

by Faramarz on

Thank you Souri for taking the time to read my blog and your kind remarks.

The Indian and the Chinese high tech workers are the latest wave of the immigrants to the US and like the rest of us, they have to go through their adjustment experience and challenges which at times are really funny. So I did not mean to belittle them at all. They are here and a part of this big melting pot.


That’s how they feed the lions at the zoo!

by Souri on

LOL, Faramarz jon, lovely post again!

I didn't understand though, why you mentioned the natiionality of the "foods bandits" ? It looked a little bit odd, although I understand your main point very well.

Thank you for the fun.