How can I share office birthday treats without seeming like a pompous six year-old?
March 5, 2010 8:11 AM   Subscribe

How do I let people know there are birthday treats for me, from me, in the office kitchens without sounding like OMG ITS MY BIRFDAY PAY ME SOME ATTENTIONS?

I work at a company which has about 50 employees but three office sites. I know almost every employee by name and have worked with many for a long time. I would like to buy birthday treats for each office just to share some fun. My HR person said this was totally OK. I often bake and share stuff which people seem to love. This time I think I will buy ice cream bars from a local café for people to take (or not) at their leisure.

I do mental health work and I swear this is not an attention-getting ploy as we have already had my departmental "March Birthday" celebration, plus more with my friends. I just like excuses for cake/candy/ice cream for everyone. Thanks MeFi.
posted by ShadePlant to Human Relations (27 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Why not just say, "Ice cream available in the kitchen! Enjoy!" without bringing your birthday into it? If people ask you why, you can say that it's because of your birthday, but you don't have to lead with that.
posted by cider at 8:14 AM on March 5, 2010 [6 favorites]

i worked in a similar situation, and because i liked to mess with people, would occasionally sneak treats into the breakroom ... and then later go in and listen to everyone trying to figure out who's birthday it was.

be prepared with a story if you're caught. 'so and so asked me to put these here' or something.
posted by lester at 8:14 AM on March 5, 2010

"Hey there's treats in the kitchen. Come over and get one some."

The source and reason will filter through of it's own accord. Just don't put it in the email.
posted by Babblesort at 8:15 AM on March 5, 2010

Send an email with something like, "Hey colleagues, I like any excuse for ice cream, so I've brought in ice cream bars from a local cafe for everyone to enjoy on my birthday." If you really don't care about drawing attention to the fact that it's for your birthday, just tell them you've brought treats for them to enjoy.
posted by runningwithscissors at 8:15 AM on March 5, 2010 [1 favorite]

The general tone of responses is spot on, but any funny or witty email ideas? Bonus for ones in Spanish! And limericks. Or limericks in Spanish.
posted by ShadePlant at 8:19 AM on March 5, 2010

I scream!
You scream!
We all scream for helado!
posted by iconomy at 8:22 AM on March 5, 2010 [5 favorites]

'As a shameless ploy to gain popularity and enhance my prospects for promotion, please help yourselves to some ice cream bars.'

That way the joke's been made and everyone knows it's all about fun.
posted by le morte de bea arthur at 8:24 AM on March 5, 2010 [11 favorites]

No one is going to think you're saying, "Me me me. Pay Attention to me!" Just send a group email. Your coworkers will love you.

You're bean-plating this. I get it though. I do it too.
posted by dchrssyr at 8:24 AM on March 5, 2010

Oh, I see. You want a witty way to do it.

How about getting Klondike bars and asking people, "What would you do for a Klondike Bar?" That could get you an entire day worth of silly entertainment via group email.
posted by dchrssyr at 8:30 AM on March 5, 2010 [1 favorite]

"Dear Coworkers,
There is ice cream in the kitchen.
Rest assured, I most certainly did not poison it.
Best regards,
posted by davidjmcgee at 8:32 AM on March 5, 2010 [4 favorites]

If it were me, I would be like, "MY BIRTHDAY IS AWESOME SO I BROUGHT AWESOME ICE-CREAM FOR EVERYONE, WOOOOOOOOOOOO!" I think calling attention to it in a shameless but tongue-in-cheek way is best.
posted by Nattie at 8:46 AM on March 5, 2010 [1 favorite]

Hay dulces en la cocina que quiero dar.
Nacio hoy y necesitemos celebrar.
Hay helado y postres,
pero nunca me llores,
si despues el peso aumentar...
posted by greekphilosophy at 8:51 AM on March 5, 2010 [7 favorites]

hahaha +1 for MeFites. Thanks all!
posted by ShadePlant at 8:53 AM on March 5, 2010

I work with a lot of people from Holland and apparently this is a custom for them. Everybody brings their own cake to the office on their birthday. Tell them you are doing it as a diversity token sharing Dutch culture for the day.

The American's birthdays are usually celebrated as a chore that falls upon the lowest status and female team member which is clearly culturally inferior to the way they tell me it is done in Holland. I wouldn't put it past these Dutch guys to be making this up just so they do not perpetuate an onerous and disgusting practice.
posted by bukvich at 8:58 AM on March 5, 2010

You could say "There is cake in the lunchroom in honor of my birthday. All glory to me for another stupendous revolution around Ol' Sol. There is ice cream in the freezer to supplement this marvelous baked treat. Gather round and sing my praises and bask in my presence. "

and I would read: ' cream...freezer'
posted by ian1977 at 9:14 AM on March 5, 2010 [4 favorites]

. . . people from Holland and apparently this is a custom for them.

I can also attest that in India the tradition is for the birthday celebrant to plan/pay for his own celebration. I was there for a few weeks on a business trip and one of the guys rented out a ballroom at a hillside resort, complete with full buffet and dance band. So you're getting off easy with ice cream sandwiches.

My birthday was on the day that we took our flight home, so I didn't have to cough up anything for a party, but I went through 12 time zones and had a 36-hour birthday. That was fun.
posted by CathyG at 9:48 AM on March 5, 2010

at my office, there is frequently that gets sent out


that's the subject line, there is no body.
we all know it means treats of some sort in the break room.

us cube dwellers love the scavenging of free office food, so bring it on.
ice cream bars in the middle of the day would rock, fancy limerick or no.
posted by sio42 at 10:06 AM on March 5, 2010

"Dudes, goodies in the break room" *stampede*
posted by mrbill at 10:08 AM on March 5, 2010

Due to the insane list of ingredients that can trigger migraines for me, I just bake and bring my own cupcakes on my birthday. The only response I've ever received is gratitude - no one has ever hinted at it being weird that I brought something in to celebrate my own day.
posted by sickinthehead at 12:56 PM on March 5, 2010

I think I may be bean-plating this because I am pretty well-known at work (4 years at my company is, like, 10 in others) and I think generally thoughtof as funny or at least amusing. I bring stuff in a lot but am worried the EEEEEEEEEEE IT ARE MY BIRTHDAY is crossing into obnoxious. I now have many ideas. Thanks.
posted by ShadePlant at 1:13 PM on March 5, 2010

Birthday shouts are the Done Thing in New Zealand too, as in, you bring in cake or something on your birthday for everyone to share. So you could tell them you're doingit all foreign-like.

I'd be tempted to send an email along the lines of: "Who didn't die last year? Me! So come have ice cream bars to celebrate!". I have a terrible sense of humour though so YMMV.
posted by shelleycat at 1:22 PM on March 5, 2010

Shelleycat, at my office it's more like "Who didn't get randomly let go without any warning last year? Me!" but no one would find that amusing. I do, but that doesn't make it right, so they tell me.
posted by ShadePlant at 1:33 PM on March 5, 2010

I was thinking more along the lines of the alternative to getting older and having birthdays is dying, but it's probably a bit obscure. See the bit about my crap sense of humour, heh.
posted by shelleycat at 1:43 PM on March 5, 2010

Hey, bukvich - your Dutch colleagues aren't making that up. And believe me, when we foreigners figured out that we had to (as in, were fully expected to - people anticipated our birthdays for the reason of free treats being made available) buy our own birthday treats, there was much grumbling on our part. Very noble of you, ShadePlant!
posted by pammeke at 2:24 PM on March 5, 2010

Oh, and happy birthday. :)
posted by pammeke at 2:25 PM on March 5, 2010

One time, I threw myself a surprise office birthday party (complete with pretending to be surprised.) My coworkers were terribly, terribly confused.

If you're looking for humourous, it doesn't get much better.
posted by Ouisch at 12:05 AM on March 6, 2010 [2 favorites]

I've been in several, several workplaces where this has happened, and nobody so much as batted an eye.
posted by l33tpolicywonk at 8:41 PM on June 11, 2010

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