Free lunches provided by building product vendors are one of the meager perks of working in architecture. If you are willing to give up the relative freedom of your lunch hour in order to listen to a presentation, you get free food, and sometimes an hour of Continuing Education credit, in return.
I have a flowchart-esque set of standards by which I determine the lunch presentations I will attend.
First, will I receive Continuing Education credit for attending?
If so, then the next consideration is where the food is from. If the food is from J@son’s Deli, none of the other criteria apply- I will not attend. I’ve had my fill of their giant glob of meat on crappy, thin sandwich bread, with a sad looking baggie of iceberg lettuce shreds and greenish tomato slice (which usually has the core in it, because of my curse*).
If the food is decent, subject matter is the next concern. Copper cladding? Okay, but only if the food’s good. Mold prevention in exterior walls? Forget it; I’ve been to no less than four of those already. Wallcovering? Schneh; doesn’t meet my first requirement.
Sometimes, even when I don’t attend, I’ll get lucky and they’ll move the leftovers to the kitchen.
The lunches require some strategy. Timing is everything. My usual tactic is to mill around the conference room, first to get a glimpse of what is being served, then to pounce at precisely the right time so as to be near the front of the line for optimal selection- and a seat at the table.
However, a seat in the rear of the room sometimes comes in handy for a case of the post-lunch sleepies. I still get Continuing Ed credit thanks to the All-Powerful Sign-In Sheet, conscious or not.
*I always get the core of the tomato in anything that is prepared for me in a restaurant. Always. Usually, I get three or four in the same dish. I once even got a core in a can of stewed tomatoes.