Example: Company orders lunch. They allow you take pickup anything else you may want to stock the office with or that you may want as well for lunch, for yourself.

Is it a good idea to shop on the companies dime, within reason, of course, as to not insult the offer or is it best practice to not accept when the company allows you to shop on their dime?

I work for a smaller business, under 10 people, and this is new to me coming from a bigger company that would employee over 10,000 employees. I feel more welcomed and believe that they want me to splurge as a way to say thank you for all that you do.

  • 2
    1. Shopping "within reason" and "splurge" seem to be two opposing strategies. 2. Did you ask anyone at your company what the accepted practice for this is? I.e. what is the budget?
    – Brandin
    Commented Jan 23, 2017 at 17:55

4 Answers 4


It's a nice perk and nobody has ever offered this perk to me.

Not knowing anything, I'd check with management or whoever is administering this perk:

  1. Do I spend every day or can say I front load the spending for a month? Yes, I am into quantity deals - most bang for the buck.

  2. Can I combine my allowance with other people's so that we get quantity deals?

  3. What can we get that everybody appreciates?


Treat the money as if it was money your mother gave you to stock up her house. In other words, even more diligently than you would your own.

When getting lunch items for yourself, go cheap. Get things that are cheaper than what most of the people order. When stocking up for the business, get things that don't spoil, or will take some time to spoil. General office supplies as well, if you can get them are always a good idea.

The point is to demonstrate that you are MORE than reasonably responsible. Use the perk, but use it wisely.


The reason they are giving you this "power" is to increase productivity at the office or for an office perk - for you and everyone.

I think the reasonable thing to do is ask people what they need and get those things. As long as the items are reasonable (people don't need crab legs, steak or lobster for lunch) and the items would be used at the office I don't think anyone would think twice.

Just know supplies will basically last until they are used so you can overbuy but food will go bad so I would start off with "average" purchases and then see if the food goes and manager's reaction. As long as you are not going from spending $150 to $400 you are fine. Just spend more in small increments. If your manager doesn't want you to spend a certain amount they will eventually tell you.

I was in an office with similar culture and habit and it was simply so people didn't meander in and out of the office looking for food. They really spent a ton on lunches but I have to tell you people worked the whole day and usually were extremely happy with the arrangement (not hourly workers).

  • "As long as you are going from spending $150 to $400 you are fine. " did you mean "not going from"?
    – Erik
    Commented Jan 23, 2017 at 18:41

I worked for a small company, had a company card, and similar direction.

I would rarely buy anything just for me, but I would buy things that I would use the majority of.

Bottled water, La Croix, coffee filters/grounds/creamer, BBQ Sauce, Salad Dressing etc. I got the things I wanted to have available at work, but would make them available to everyone (stored in a shared location/fridge and marked a "Community"), so it became a company perk as opposed to a personal one.

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