The Mooch Coworker: Why Am I Still Paying for Her Lunch Every Day?

Some coworkers are harder to gauge than others, but there are a few types like the talkative coworker, the depressed smelly cubicle mate and the mooch coworker who need to be distinguished and dealt with, the sooner the better.

Dear Jane Harper:

Every afternoon, I like to nip out to the nearest Starbucks for my daily dose of Joe. Caffeine is the only way I can work for long hours and put up with the pressure of doing a two person’s job as my team member is in rehab and we’re having trouble finding a temp.

A couple of weeks ago, Rose from the accounts department bumped into me while she was having a smoke outside Starbucks. From that day onwards, she pings me on Slack every time she’s craving for junk food so we can head out together. I wouldn’t lie – I enjoy her company and going out with her for ten minutes every day was a no big deal. This was until I realized that she has been making me pay for her lunch and coffee!

Honestly, I feel so stupid even thinking about what I pushover I am. Incident one: We were at Subway, where she ordered her lunch while I stood outside playing Clash of Clans. She came outside to ask for my card so she could pay for her lunch.

Incident two: She saw me stealthily heading out to Starbucks. (I hadn’t invited her!) So she pulled a jump-scare me by following me until the counter and tapping on my shoulder when I was giving my order. There again, I had to pay for both of us, because “Boo, I am not carrying any money.” Oh, poor you!

The last straw was yesterday when Rose said she said she’s craving for coffee. I said, “Sure, I don’t need anything but I can accompany you.” Again, she ordered her coffee and asked me to pay for it. When I told her, I didn’t have any money on me, she had the nerve to tell me that she saw a couple of tenners in my purse. What in the Sam Hill?!?!

She once bragged that she likes to go on dates for free food so she can run her Instagram account. I don’t judge her, a lot of people that I know do the same thing. My concern is that she thinks I’m her ATM. In the past few weeks, I have paid for both of us every single time, while she has only paid once!

I don’t like labeling the people I work with, but in this case, I feel entitled to call her the mooch coworker.

Broketh Jones

Jane Harper
Writer. Human resources expert and consultant. Follow @thehrdigest on Twitter

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