Food frugality tips from “The Office”

8 Feb

I don’t watch a lot of TV. Well, let me rephrase. I don’t watch a lot of TV shows. But one of the ones that I do watch, with an abnormal frequency, is “The Office” (and I swear, it has nothing to do with my unnatural crush on Jim Halpert). Aside from it being absolutely hysterical, it’s actually quite realistic. Well, realistic in a manner of speaking.

One of the topics that the show discusses quite often is money. From the constant threats of corporate downsizing to Michael declaring bankruptcy to Jim and Pam planning their wedding with a budget in mind to Phyllis’s homemade Christmas gift (oven mitt), there are little details about money embedded throughout the show that give the characters a much more relatable, down to earth feel than say, the characters on “Friends” or “Grey’s Anatomy”. 

It’s nice to watch a show where you feel like the characters can be your friends or your actual co-workers (seriously, what office doesn’t have a weird old man or an uptight accountant). What’s even nicer is the fact that this show not only makes me laugh, it teaches me subtle tips about food frugality. So, here’s what I’ve learned about food frugality from “The Office”:

  1. There is nothing wrong with taking your lunch to work. If you’ve watched the show, you’ll notice how often the staffers bring their lunches. In fact, it’s how Jim got his nickname (Big Tuna) from Andy…he brought a tuna sandwich for lunch.
  2. Generics are cool. The next time you watch the show, take a look at the cereal boxes on top of the fridge; they are generic brands, most often from Wegman’s.
  3. Fancy dinners are not necessarily the best way to impress your crush. The first meal Jim ever made for Pam was a grilled cheese sandwich. How sweet is that?
  4. Homemade treats are always welcome at an office party. Angela, the dictator of the Party Planning Committee scolds Pam for bringing cookies (which were clearly homemade) because they’re in the same group as brownies (also clearly homemade). And at numerous parties, the tables are filled with homemade treats. It’s proof that baked goods are awesome. (One exception to this: if you’re invited to a party at the company CEO’s house, bringing storebought potato salad may not be the classiest move. It is safe to assume that a party like this would be catered.)
  5. Vending machines might be available but that doesn’t mean you need to use them. The staffers’ breakroom has vending machines but very rarely do you see anyone buying something from them. Sure, Jim buys the occasional grape soda and sometimes someone buys candy; however, very rarely do you see anyone buying or eating anything from the vending machines. So resistance is not futile. And it’s a terrific way to save money.

There are other tips that I’ve learned from “The Office” like 16 bottles of vodka is enough to get 20 people drunk and the ratio of Schrute bucks to Stanley nickels is the same as unicorns to leprechauns. But the ones that really resonate are the ones that make saving money on food look cool. If the employees of Dunder Mifflin can do it then so can I.

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One Response to “Food frugality tips from “The Office””

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Back to basics « The Empty Kitchen - June 15, 2010

    […] it’s fun to write about candy or what The Office can teach us about eating frugally, that information doesn’t do much for someone who doesn’t know how […]

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