When did we get too cool for grocery store birthday cake?

December 6, 2010
2 min read

Birthday Cake

Mintel’s office birthday celebration “ritual” has undergone some change in the past couple years. And I’m not sure it’s for the better…

It used to be informal and differ from team to team. Your birthday arrived, your teammates did one of the following:

  • Nothing (sorry, you just aren’t that important to us)
  • Cake/cupcakes at the office (probably the most standard birthday response)
  • Bagels/donuts in the morning (we like you, we also like free breakfast)
  • A card (hey, at least we all took the time to plan and sign it)
  • Out to lunch (we really like you and we want you to know it)

And then we institutionalized it.

No longer were teams “allowed” to have independent birthday celebrations (though many still did, of course). We decided that in place of individual recognition, we’d plop a gigantic cake in each of the office’s two kitchens once a month and send around a “happy birthday to all you born this month” email. Humph. Not sure this has the same appeal.

It didn’t end there. Somewhere in the last six months, we decided that having random, sit-out-all-day cake wasn’t quite enough. So we started shaking things up. Oh yes, we did.

  • Ice cream treats in the summer time (I’ll concede that I actually loved this one!)
  • An assortment of pies
  • Build-your-own caramel apples
  • Ice cream floats
  • Frost-your own cookie

Office birthday celebrations are notorious for getting out of hand. Are we there yet?

I will say though, today is the “frost a cookie” birthday celebration. And I’m pretty stoked about getting in there and creating a twice-as-much-frosting-as-cookie monstrosity…

Joanna Gueller
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