I want to get people out of the habit of bringing food into my office when they come to talk to me.

My initial thought is a sign "Please stop bringing potato chips into my office and eating in front of me".

It seems excessively rude, but so is the behavior I'm trying to stop.

What's the best way of wording a sign like this? Should it be polite or aggressive?

Edit: If a sign is too rude, what should I say to the person? And what should I say if this person happens to be my boss?

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    Is there a reason why you can't ask the person to not eat in front of you? – thursdaysgeek Dec 15 '17 at 18:31
  • I have asked. It has had no effect. Maybe I need to tell them not to do it? What would be the best way to word such a request/demand? – David Dec 15 '17 at 18:36
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    If you use a sign, consider a graphical one. Look for "no food or drinks" images for examples. Such a sign is more recognizable and people will not have to stop to read the message on your sign. – Brandin Dec 15 '17 at 18:43
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    You said you have asked them not to eat in your office and then you say that maybe you need to tell them not to do it. I don't understand, did you tell in any way this person not to eat chips in front of you? – tst Dec 15 '17 at 18:55
  • Is this during lunch? Is there a designated place to eat? Is there anywhere to eat? Does your office provide any advantages to food eaters that you can remove? – Will Dec 16 '17 at 2:11

The best way to word it isn't to do it at all.

There's nothing beneficial to be gained by posting a sign.

Honestly, if I saw a sign like that, I'd immediately think the person is a jerk. Additionally, you're probably going to violate some company rule by doing that. Most companies I've worked for don't want people posting signs that aren't approved.

I would suggest that instead of being passive-aggressive that you talk directly to the person who keeps doing it and ask them to please not bring food in your office.


What's the best way of wording a sign like this? Should it be polite or aggressive?

I think the easiest way to address this is to post a sign on or by your door that says "Please keep your food and drink out of my office". If your asked about this, you can say "I have had to many people leave a mess after they eat or spill their coffee in my office."

With a sign on your door, if that clown comes in again you can say "Excuse me, but didn't you see my sign? Please take your food elsewhere and come back when your finished."

This will be effective without being directly confrontational, based on my own experience. I have seen similar signs at many of the companies I have worked for. Nothing large, just a small but legible sign on or beside your door.

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