By Siobhan McAndrew
Assistant business editor of the Reno Gazette-Journal
When I imagined myself as a young, successful executive making deals over lunch, I didn't picture the working-world reality of crumbs on my desk, drive-thru wrappers stacked on important files and salty fingers typing diligently.
Doing lunch in corporate America is still less about wining and dining and more about scarfing down food while crunching numbers and finishing reports in the modern-day executive dining room the desk.
I spent the week testing and trying the options of cubicle dining.
I decided to start the week right by making my own salad at a to-go salad bar.
"Eating at your desk can be healthy," I thought. But when I got to the store, I was a little shocked at the $4.99 price per pound for an assortment of salad bar fixings.
Back at the office, I was a little disappointed as I walked through the newsroom. No one asked about the beautiful salad I was holding.
Now, if this were a box of Krispy Kreme doughnuts, everyone in the office would be my best friend.
I spilled some dressing on the carpet, which, luckily, looks like zesty Italian dressing anyway.
The to-go container was lopsided. I had to hold it in one hand and eat with the other which left me without a free hand to type or answer the phone. When I bit into a tomato, it squirted juice into my left eye and irritated my contact lens.
Eating ease at desk: C+
I headed to the McDonald's drive-thru.
I ordered a Quarter Pounder with cheese, medium fries and a Diet Coke.
I ate half the fries before I got back to the office. The burger was hot, and easy enough to put down and pick up again whenever my phone rang. I got some ketchup on a stack of business cards.
It wasn't possible to go right from the fries to my keyboard without wiping the salt off my fingers. I tried to focus my energy on my mounting to-do list and not the more than 900 calories I had just consumed.
Eating ease at desk: B-
"I am going to bring my lunch tomorrow," I thought Tuesday night as I stood in front of the frozen TV dinner section at the grocery store.
I decided on "Herb-roasted chicken, slowly oven roasted with a special blend of herbs and spices."
Carrying the hot plastic microwaved plate back to my desk was a challenge. I used a computer printout of a story as a pot holder.
I used a fork and a Post It! note to cut the chicken leg.
Eating ease at desk: B+
I had Chinese food delivered. I ordered Happy Family, thinking perhaps that some of it would rub off on this place. The dish is a combo of scallops, shrimp, pork and beef.
Overall, the meal was messy. Before I even started eating, the Happy Family sauce was dripping all over everything and it tasted gross. After lunch, I used the chopsticks to dial two phone numbers.
Eating ease at desk: F
Not unlike many Fridays, I headed to the vending machines.
I was really hungry, and prepared for a feast with $5 in quarters. But I spent 23 minutes pushing the vending machine button watching the burritos, ham-and-cheese sandwiches and Ramen Noodle Styrofoam cups spin 'round and 'round.
I just couldn't do it.
I got the usual a Diet Coke and a package of peanut M&M's.
Eating ease at desk: A+