Anyone ever assigned or sentenced to spending her or his work life in a 6’ x 8’ cube has probably experienced the challenges of unhealthy in such a transparent and publically open environment. Unlike their traditional closed office cousins, work cubes have no doors to restrict the flow of unwanted visitors, no windows to welcome sunlight or circulate fresh air and no walls that extend above 5 feet and block the prying eyes of curious passers-by. These unique and irritating features of work cubes make it virtually impossible to engage in unhealthy eating practices during the work day with any degree of privacy and confidentiality. The mere opening of a bag of chips can easily be detected across a six cube radius and munching on said chips will likely be heard by neighbors in adjacent cubes. If only Frito Lay would employ cloth packaging and introduce a softer textured product, chip loving cube dwellers would be able to enjoy a salty, fatty snack in relative anonymity. While biting into certain fruits and veggies also present sound challenges in Cubeland, the trained ear of a nosey “cuber” will know the difference between chip chomping and mastication of a fresh apple or raw carrot stick.
Speaking of nosey, it is also impossible to hide or disguise the aroma of an unhealthy food choice when stuck in a cube. As soon as the Tupperware lid is lifted on the left over barbecued ribs or the Quarter Pounder with fries bag is opened, the olfactory senses of multiple cube residents will kick into overdrive and the offender immediately identified. The guilt and ridicule as well as the smell of saturated fat and honey barbecue sauces will linger in the Cubeland atmosphere for hours, if not days. Even drinking a less than ideally healthy beverage in a work cube environment is challenging. The act of popping a can top or twisting a bottle top followed by the distinctive fizz of released carbonation alerts surrounding “cubers” that a near-by laborer is possibly on the verge of consuming a sugar sweetened beverage. Seldom is it assumed that such CO2 inspired sounds are related to opening a sugar-free soft drink or sparkling water. In Cubeland, resident workers are expected to carry at all times water bottles, refilled at the community water dispenser, fountain or, in extreme cases, the breakroom or bathroom sink. The drinking habits of cube workers is also readily observable via the most casual and routine “walk-by” as the typical work cube lacks a fourth wall and is open for public viewing at all times.
In summary, cube workers who entertain the thought of enjoying an unhealthy snack or meal in the limited confines of their work space should be aware of the risks and consequences of such actions. Such workers should commit themselves to eating healthy, sedate and quiet foods like bananas, peaches, brown rice, and kale in the work cube. Cube dwellers should substitute a turkey sandwich with apple slices for a Big Mac with fries to lessen the aromatic impact on neighboring cubists. Finally, employees relegated cube work status should always choose water over sugar sweetened beverages and, preferably, water drawn from a tap and contained in a reusable, environmentally and FDA approved drinking vessel.