The mission of Sad Desk Lunch is stated simply on its website:
Sad Desk Lunch isn't about how great your lunch is. And it's not about how crappy your lunch is either. It's about the fact you eat your lunch at your desk during your lunch break where you could roam free ....Eating our sad tupperware lunches. Oh yeah, just to make it better? Eating lunch at your desk can expose you to more bacteria than a toilet seat.
OK. We've all been there. We can relate. Many a weekday we sit, hunched over a computer at our desk, trying to eat yogurt with a plastic fork. Licking our fingers to create a utensil to extract the layer of sugar at the bottom of a bag of Sour Patch Kids. Microwaving oatmeal and water, then seasoning it with soy sauce and Sriracha because it's all that was in our kitchen, it's the day before payday and because we're resourceful.
Though it bums us out to say it, the site disappoints -- and so spectacularly so it almost feels like parody.
We're calling shenanigans, Sad Desk Lunch.
At its best, the site depicts the usual, average brown-bag suspects (peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, leftover pizza, microwavable mac 'n cheese), while at its worst, perfectly good meals (burrito bowls, sushi, "Whole Foods brand canned ravioli," food from Panera) are portrayed as travesties.
To wit: A photo displaying a container of hummus and a bag of pita bread comes with the caption "Eating pita bread straight out of the plastic bag." Because, use a plate or bowl, you slack-jawed rube. Eating food straight from the packaging is so sad. Because Sad Desk Lunch believes this is what the American lunch hour has become: Highly efficient, dull-eyed worker drones tucking away pita bread straight from the bag because food isn't just fuel it should be fun. It shouldn't be sad.
Welp, ain't nobody got time for that. Here's our round-up of the ten most wince-worthy Sad Desk Lunch photos complete with original captions -- to those who submitted these, by the way, we're eager to trade you for our Sour Patch Kids bag-sugar any day!
Sad Desk Lunch Caption: "Best part about Mac keyboards: food doesn't get stuck in the cracks. Serious #saddesklunch problem."
Nevermind the obvious time and forethought that went into the prep of this salad. You have to eat it at your desk because life is hard and this dumb salad is to blame.
Sad Desk Lunch Caption: "Happy Monday! On a scale to 1 to completely depressed, how are you? Well, if you're veering towards an 11, I suggest you get a burrito bowl to be a silver lining. xoxo, Sad Desk Lunch."
Eating a burrito bowl at your desk is worse than "completely depressed" on this very scientific scale. Or wait, it's the silver lining to the worst Monday ever? Either way, quit your griping while in the presence of a burrito bowl.
Sad Desk Lunch Caption: "Glistening goos of sushi/sparkles in the light/is it delicious?. - Free verse poem by me."
Sure, to-go sushi is no match for the fresher, made-to-order stuff -- but um, what's so sad about it? There was a time when Gut Check tried to buy a 33-cent package of Top Ramen at a grocery store but left empty handed because our debit card was declined. We didn't even have 33 cents in our checking account for Top Ramen. Defeat is a sad desk lunch. Enjoy your sushi, you monster.
Sad Desk Lunch Caption: ""The only thing sadder than this Whole Foods brand canned ravioli is the fact that I couldn't actually eat it for a week because the can opener at work was missing. Bummer. A haiku for this sad lunch: Slips down your tongue/ Warm squishy ravioli/It is organic."
Organic Whole Foods' brand canned ravioli. It's important to note that this sad desk lunch wasn't just purchased at Whole Foods, but is also Whole Foods' store brand, lest you get to thinking this Whole Foods shopper is some high-rolling, moneybags Amy's Organic Foods brand elitist.
Sad Desk Lunch Caption: "Panera Bread, the cornerstore of every strip mall in America, has finally come to New York's strip mall, Union Square. S has been shamelessly indulging herself."
This is one of several Panera sad desk lunches, and of particular annoyance to Gut Check. Panera (ahem, St. Louis Bread Company) is neither sad nor cheap. And why does one have to get this lunch to-go and eat it at their desk, if it's such a soul-crushing experience? Take it from us, the time it takes to leave work, go to Panera, order lunch to-go and return to work isn't largely altered by taking a few minutes to wolf down a sandwich in public.
Sad Desk Lunch Caption: "Just another generic pan-asian meal from Midtown Manhattan to take the edge off of the Thursday before Labor Day."
Look at me, being so ho-hum about eating Pan-Asian takeout for lunch.
Sad Desk Lunch Caption: "Portrait of a sad desk lunch as a sad unmade sandwich. 'Turkey pastrami!!!' Z brightfully adds."
Seriously? What's sad about this fancy spread of sandwich fixins? Is that Grey Poupon? Or another brand of boushy Dijon mustard? What is your life?
Sad Desk Lunch Caption: "This is what happens when your company pays for your Seamless lunch everyday, and you are hungover on a Monday. You order chicken lo mein, egg droup soup and chicken and broccoli. And still have to stare at your unchecked marked multi-colored sticky notes. G-R-E-A-S-E-B-O-M-B."
I think we can all agree how much we hate free food. Maybe this person's boss will wander over to Sad Desk Lunch, see their employee's photo and make sure that employee never has to endure free "grease bomb" food ever again.
Sad Desk Lunch Caption: "SEE? Plateware really ELEVATES a lunch. Worker bees: Eat out of plates and bowls. It'll make you feel better. Another day, another set of leftovers. I'd eat this. I'd TOTALLY eat this."
If only every moment of our lives could be as pretty as a Pinterest photo, perhaps we'd live in a happier, more harmonious world. Till then, eat out of a bowl or something.
Sad Desk Lunch Caption: "Avocado toast without red pepper flakes makes for a slightly sad lunch."
We've never eaten anything this healthful or less sad for lunch at work, ever.
Support Local Journalism.
Join the Riverfront Times Press Club
Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.
Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.
Join the Riverfront Times Club for as little as $5 a month.