Too Much Amalah for Just One Column
The 2004 Amalah Awards

Anatomy of a Company Picnic

Or, When Life is an Episode of The Office Just Waiting to Happen
Or, The Longest Entry Ever

Part One: The Memo


We're pleased to invite you and your immediate family or a guest to our upcoming Company Picnic on Wednesday, June 23 from 2:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m. (Employees are excused from work at 1:30 p.m. to attend the picnic. If you choose not to attend you are expected to remain at work.) The picnic goes on rain or shine. Should the weather be bad (heaven forbid!), there is covered seating available.

There will be numerous activities for all ages including: softball, volleyball, horseshoes, miniature golf, basketball, ping pong, and field games for kids and grown-ups alike! We’re also featuring some new and returning favorites this year. These include a double dump truck slide (new), a horse-drawn hay ride, a moon bounce, remote controlled NASCAR racing, and a bucking mechanical bull - (it was so much fun last year!) We will also enjoy a "fun in the sun" entertainment package from Bristol Sounds Deejays.

In addition to all the fun, you can plan on plenty of good food and beverages. Barbecued chicken and spareribs will be served along with vegetarian baked beans, green salad, corn-on-the-cob, cranberry sauce, pickle chips, applesauce, three-bean salad, rolls w/butter, potato chips and snack cake desserts. In addition to the main course, we will have Nachos available all day. And, if that's not enough, you can save room for individual ice cream treats in the late afternoon.

Beverages -- consisting of soft drinks, beer, wine and coffee -- will be served throughout the day. (Beer and wine will be served only if you have proper I.D. and will be limited to one drink per person per visit. In other words, you can't carry a drink back to your spouse or friend unless they also provide proper I.D.)

Part Two: Resist urge to copyedit memo and tape on HR's door. Grumble about "Nachos" being a proper noun for some reason. Shut up about it. Attempt to RSVP via a fancy online form on the company intranet. Give up, call HR to RSVP. Try not to laugh when asked if my spouse will be attending. Haaa, right. Hang up. Wonder if maybe I should have asked around to see if anyone else is going. Shit. Print out directions to picnic.

Part Three: Forget about picnic completely until Tuesday, June 22 at 4:30 pm. Completely revise work schedule and write many post-its reminding self to bring picnic clothes to work, as they're still making us wear suits in the morning. Print out directions to picnic.

Part Four: P-Day, Zero Hour

9:30ish a.m. Arrive at work, picnic clothes wadded up into wee Coach bag.

9:45 Print out directions to picnic.

10:02 Find out friend cannot go to the picnic after all. Neither can other friend. Other friend still on vacation. Shit.

10:15 Feel small and unpopular.

10:22 Oh right. Work.

10:27 Work work work.

10:30 Am super productive, really. Should get a raise.

10:47 Assistant asks if she can follow me to picnic. Print out directions for her. She seems shocked when I tell her I probably won’t be arriving there promptly at 2 p.m.

11:34 Seriously dude, EVERYBODY is blowing off the picnic. Dude.

11:37 Consider blowing off the picnic.

11:43 Determine that I cannot blow off picnic for the following reasons: I RSVP’d and unless someone picks up my nametag from the sign-in table, I’ll get a stern lecture about how the company paid for my share of Nachos and rolls w/butter and since I wasn’t there the money was wasted and could have gone to poor children and the rolls are all stale now. Also, I do not want to stay at work doing work stuff all day. Also, free beer and wine.

12:00 p.m. Did not bring lunch. Forgot how hard it is to wait for picnic food. Go eat miniature Snickers from office Candy Corner.

12:24 Update sites. All three of them. Lordy.

12:56 Holy crap. Hungry. Eat three Twizzlers and miniature Twix.

1:13 Huzzah! One person is going to picnic. No, two!

1:45 Assistant leaves for picnic. Adorable.

2:26 Get following email from practically last person I know going to picnic: I think I’m gonna bail out on the picnic…you?

2:28 Oh hell no.

2:32 For no real reason, guilt email-sender into coming to picnic, reminding him of that one time he bailed on the Christmas party and then the picnic once I think and shouldn’t we be a better example to poor assistant who has NOT had zeal for life and corporate spirit sucked from her yet?

2:33 Translation: I’m going to be miserable, and I’d like you to join me please, thank you.

2:40 Change into picnic clothes. Shove super-expensive work clothes into wee Coach bag. Shit.

2:42 Print out directions to picnic.

2:44 Leave. Alone. Brave face on. Leave directions on desk.

3:00 Miss turn. Drive two miles out of way before finding place for U-turn.

3:10 Arrive at picnic. It’s sort of raining. Fantastic.

nametag3:15 Dorky name tag? Check.

3:17 Oh my god Oh my god Oh my god I don’t know anyone here. Health publishing side of business outnumbers wealth publishing side by a bajillion to one.

3:18 Holy FUCK, there’s a clown. Named Crackers. Driving around like a crazy person in a little miniature car. Cannot breathe, shaking.

3:19 Debate which looks worse: woefully wandering around looking for familiar faces with or without a beer in hand.

wristband3:20 Beer. Green Wristband of Power. Check. Social anxiety disorder vanishes instantly.

3:22 Assistant! And other people I never talk to but sort of know!

3:30 Picnic organizers keep announcing last call for children’s “field games.” Everyone momentarily perks up upon hearing “ffff-“, but when it’s not “food is served”, everyone dies a little inside. So very hungry.

3:32 The DJ is trying very hard to get people to join in a hula hoop contest. Is honest-to-godly playing the Macarena.

3:34 Damn, there are some serious skanks on the health team.

3:35 Skanks who hula hoop, apparently.


3:51 There's white zinfandel from a TAP, for crissakes.

3:54 Try to think of a company activity that DIDN’T involve the Electric Slide. Cannot.

4:00 We’re all getting a little hammered. And a little mean and catty. Somebody Important’s Important Wife? TOTALLY has hair extensions. Please. Hair don't grow that fast, sister.

4:02 Dude, people are wearing those ugly T-shirts they gave out for the cruise last fall. Like dozens of them.

4:03 Discuss with coworkers the varied fates that befell our company T-shirts. Painting, carwash, gave to dog, etc.

MP_Chicken24:07 FOOD!

4:15 Fucking food line.

4:18 Panic. Have lost sight of coworkers. Am wandering around with a plate of chicken and baked beans with no place to sit like it’s the high school cafeteria.

4:19 Found them. Cling.

4:20 Why are there no knives?

4:23 Eat barbeque chicken in silence using fingers and cheap plastic fork. Stupid knives.

SVC_Moonbounce4:25 Decide there are no knives because of inflatable Moonbounce and mechanical bull ride.

4:27 Notice that the mechanical bull’s inflatable “pen” is decorated with inflatable palm trees. Huh?

4:30 Coworker: “This is where mechanical bulls come to die. They go from Urban Cowboy to country western bars to this. Their agent goes, think CORPORATE, and then here they are, surrounded by inflatable palm trees, terrified that one company will give their employees KNIVES.”

4:31 Me: “Do you have a blog? Because seriously. You should.”

4:34 Important VP is hovering around the exit area. Shit.

rooster4:37 Killing time until VP relocates. Notice there is a rooster graphic on Green Wristband of Power. No one at table gets my “You can’t kill the rooster” reference. Morons.

4:40 Notice graphic of rooster is also on beer cups. Rooster is chasing hen. Heh.

4:42 Funny-as-hell-coworker declares my powers of observation to be superhero-like. Seriously calls me Queen of the Mundane.

4:46 Imagine new site banner with rooster graphic. Heh.

4:48 Fucking clown. Stop it. Stopit stopit.

4:53 Decide to get “snack cake dessert” for road. Maybe two.

4:55 Leave.

4:57 Am free! Free!

5:17 Fucking picnic grounds with the one fucking entrance with the fucking traffic light that lets three fucking cars through at a fucking time.

5:20 Eat cupcakes. Both of them.

6:00 Home. Saved NO TIME by going to picnic. Diet is in ruins. Cannot find scissors to cut Green Wristband of Power off.

6:20 p.m. – 11:15 a.m. Write longest entry ever. Jeez.



I'm surprised you didn't print out the directions to the picnic again after you got home. There must be a pile of directions in the corner of your office that will make a great conversation piece some day. Maybe set the Green Wrist Band of power on top for that extra flair.


I fully support the idea of Nachos being made a proper noun.

My company picnic this year? Scheduled for a day that I wasn't working! Get out of picnic free card for Martha!


Even though I work for myself and have no employees? I'm totally going to have a company picnic:

1. Make myself an invitation, post it in prominent location. Mock it for several days, "I ain't goin' to some TWO BIT company picnic!!!"

2. Call Crackers the Cl....HELL NO!

3. Set out a can of baked beans with a can opener, a plate of tortilla chips with cheese just melted on them, and a HUGE ASS bottle of wine. Oh and about 32 cupcakes.

4. Since the picnic will be in my backyard, my Dog and I will just sit around and bitch about how awful The Boss is. Hiccup.

5. Make up some cool awards to give myself, including "Employee of the Month" - which will be a Polaroid picture of me looking all surprised.

Looks like I've got a lot of planning to do.


Okay. Seriously. I was laughing my ass off over this entry. And then, as I read the first three comments? I am now laughing harders. So I cant think of anything even remotely funny to add - so I'm like the humor killer (as opposed to the wonder killer). Either way? Funny shit.


We had a company picnic once. It was in the PARKING LOT, and it was 90 degrees in the shade. They gave away door prizes, but no one was allowed to leave until after they did the drawings... two hours after the start of the picnic. Then there was a DJ; the HR director tried to get us all up to dance. And these skanky girls with floaty gauze jackets trying to cover up their pimply back fat literally came out from behind the dumpsters and crashed the picnic. My coworker called the redhead "Carmen", and declared her "saucy." Sadly, no beer involved in that comment-making; event was DRY. DRRRRRRYYYYYYYYYY.

feisty girl

You really need to put a "Depends may be necessary when reading this post" warning on your site.


I forgot about the free beer! But even so, I'm glad I skipped the picnic. Lurking clowns and the macarena? No thanks. Oh, and there are some serious skanks on the health team. I remember them from when they did the electric slide at the Christmas party.


See see see?? There has NEVER BEEN a company event that did not involve the Electric Slide. And I'm talking about all seventeen million versions of it.

Also, Hilldery, you are a traitor who should have come to the picnic if only to mock the health team skanks with me. And start fork fights.


EWEWEWEWEW! Dude, I hate clowns. They are so not funny. They haunt me....

Can't sleep..clown'll eat me...

I'll have to tell my boyfriend about that company picnic when he gets home tonight. Will make him feel a lot better about his company picnic taht he went to yesteday... which was a gas compared to this one *shiver*


Gee, now I wonder if it was a mistake for me to quit...I didn't think about missing the picnic. But the play-by-play almost made me feel like I was there. That picture of all the chicken is very disturbing.


We don't have picnics. We have a company Golf Outing. Which involves people hitting the keg when they get to the golf course at 7:30 a.m. and me going, "How? What? Oh, Lord. Can you at least wait until 10?"


That was the longest post eva. But, as far as the quality vs. quantity issue? The quality overrules.

I think it's national law to have electric slide played at company functions. My company is a tad ghetto, so we also do the cha-cha slide. Some people get way too into that one.

your personal handmaiden now and forever

Rule #1-- never RSVP. Maintain the illusion of freedom til the very end.
Rule #2-- um, haven't a clue.

I hate company picnics (just like Coleen-- ours was in the parking lot one year which would only have been fun had there been some monster trucks rolling over my then-boss's car)-- I also loathe the annual Christmas party and the "off-site" workshops which is just an excuse for the punters I work with to golf. Maybe if they had company get-togethers at like, say, Canyon Ranch? Then, I'd RSVP for sure.


That doens't sound like fun. Mainly because there was too much structure. I mean, you'd honestly get lectured if you didn't show up? This is why working for a company with 12,000 people is occasionally a nice thing :-) My company? This year they've rented out the entire Six Flags amusement park for a day.


Cannot get over the chicken photo. That's a lot of chicken. I hope there were no birds flying overhead because your company picnic looked like Auchwitz from up there. I'm surprised you did not have pigeons swooping down trying to liberate the picnic.


I'm pretty lucky my company doesn't care if you stay. Once you show up and sign in, you can do what you want. So I sign in, then ske-daddle.


I bet if you had asked that clown, though, he would have gotten you a Buddy Genesius statue for wholesale.

type a

ha! and another ha! my company doesn't give a shit about picnics? picnics? might be fun. we don't have fun here and we won't pretend to. picnic? get your lazy ass back to work and stop your futile daydreaming.
that's where i work. i know, you're jealous.


The one company picnic I went to was when I worked for the National Transportation Safety Board. They stuck all 20 interns in a 15 passenger van, and then yelled at us when we got to the gate because we weren't all wearing our seatbelts. It went downhill from there.

And nice Sedaris reference...even if no one got it.

Mindy, your one true ever'lastin' luv

OK, I think we need to form a Picnic Escort Pool RIGHT NOW. The next time one of us has to go to one of these stupid fucking events, we can ping the pool and see who's in the general vicinity. Number one rule of the pool: if a fellow pooler calls you, you go. If you want your own Picnic Escort when your number comes up, that is.

And at least you had this going for you: it was on a weekday!! Ours is in a fucking valley on a working ranch of like two hundred thousand acres, and always on a Saturday. So not only do we have Sparkles the Pixie doing face painting and a maraca band, we have to give up a whole Saturday and get the car all dusty driving there.


Suzanna Danna

"Can't kill the m&^$#$^@f($*^@#( rooster" indeed. Love me some Sedaris, Amy and David.

I was, thankfully, out of town at our company picnic this year. They did, however, give out an "appreciation day"... I used mine Friday. Rock!

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