Also, salary not particularly good here. Most folks are not going to give their precious time to make something, and are probably only willing to spend as much in contribution for a potluck as they'd be willing to spend on themselves for lunch, so figure $5-6. By comparison, I spent about $16.
Thusly, we end up with tons of purchased salsa (few chips to dip), carloads of purchased cheap bakery items: Kroger/Publix Halloween cupcakes and cakes, breads, and such. Nothing of any real nutritional value. One person brought two small roast deli chickens, someone else brought some drumettes -- those were long gone before it was time for lunch. Nobody let folks know it was time for the potluck, so the 12 noon folks got first, best crack, not that there was much in the way of pickings to begin with. Someone did bring rice krispie treats that were dyed orange.
Usually, I make something nice: black bean and lamb chili; homemade potato salad, etc. However, having seen previous contributions, and being tired of putting out effort when nobody else puts out any effort, I bought items this year. Still, they weren't bad items -- a very nice pumpkin-pecan coffeecake, and tiramisu. As I write, the coffeecake is half gone. Folks made a bigger dent in that than other baked offerings. Tiramisu is in the fridge, because nobody got it out, and I wouldn't mind taking it home intact.
Assorted Fritos, chips, pretzels, nuts. Snack stuff. Folks, this is not a potluck. Snackluck? What happened to the old concept of potluck, where people could be depended on to bring green bean casserole, baked macaroni and cheese, mashed potatoes, meatballs, and more? People had dependable recipes they prepared with pride: others would ask them to share. It was convivial and communal.
The alternative is to assign people stuff to bring, but that creates resentment with some people getting allocated stuff that's more costly.
In impersonal cubicle land, there's no sense of community. We are on the phones all day, and never interact with our co-workers. It doesn't induce a positive sense of reciprocity: no bonds are built. There's no sense of wanting to do something nice for one another, or to please each other. We give all on the phones, to people we never see. There's a noticeable improvement when potlucks are done by team -- at least on the team, we meet from time to rare time.
And no plates for anything! No lie!
I continue to hate my job for many reasons, but the pathetic potluck is a new and different reason to add to the list.