An Expensive Pickle – ‘obligatory’ office lunches
I recently started working in a very close-knit office. For years, every week, once a week, someone buys lunch for everyone in the office (about 10-11 people) on a rotating basis. With how the lunch rotation is set-up, I would buy lunch about every 7-8 weeks. The support staff (3-4 people) with lower salaries don’t ever buy lunch or pitch in to pay.
Now I expect buying lunch for 10-11 people every 7-8 weeks can easily top $1000 a year. I can afford to pay for it, but would rather spend that money to pay down a $10,000 car loan or invest toward my goal of FI.
I feel trapped in this situation because the office has been doing this for many years and I suppose no one has commented on the cost or had an issue with it. I am also the new person and don’t want to ‘rock the boat’ or seem cheap.
I understand the sense of community and bonding over food, but this just seems excessive. Once a month seems much more reasonable.
Am I overthinking this? Should I not worry about it and just see it as contributing to the team environment?
Edit: Thank you for all of your responses! As I stated in a comment below, I decided that I will participate. I believe being part of the team and building a sense of community will outweigh the cost of the food.