Holiday Potluck Luncheon Tests Employees’ Intestinal Fortitude

By Dodie Fingerton

Published December 13th, 2015

ROTTERDAM — An office Christmas party turned into a nightmare Thursday after dozens of people were rushed to area hospitals in the wake of their company's annual potluck luncheon.

Several employees of Bernard & Sons Office Supply Co. experienced violent bouts of diarrhea, vomiting and nausea after partaking in the festive mid-day smorgasbord.

“We were just about to play White Elephant when I saw Dave from Procurement clutching his stomach and wincing,” said Mitch Clementine, a germaphobe who steered clear of the soiled spread. “And then Jean from Accounting started vomiting into her hands. Next thing I know everyone's puking and shitting themselves. It was like the pie-eating contest scene in Stand By Me.

The customer service representative eventually called 911.

“It looked like a mass case of food poisoning to me,” said first responder Steven Gurgle. “Could have been the pulled pork, the baked ziti, the meatballs. Who knows?”

Debra Winger, a researcher with the Center for Disease Control in Atlanta, warns that during the holidays, potluck luncheons are a major contributor in the transmission of infectious diseases — second only to a typical Christmas Mass at a Catholic church, where parishioners are expected to shake hands with total strangers and then drink the blood of Christ from a communal chalice.

“Most people, when they're home alone, are disgusting,” said Winger. “They pick their nose and scratch their sphincters. They have ringworm, dandruff, fingernail funguses and anal fissures. They wear dirty underwear, they defecate without washing their hands and sneeze without covering their mouths. So, of course, it makes sense that something suspect would end up in their Gazpacho.”

Clementine, who gets hourly CDC health alerts on his Smart phone, agreed.

“I know at least three people at work who are constantly on the phone with Cats Eye Pest Control. What the hell is that about? I also know a woman who has a cat that likes to lick its bunghole while sitting inside her glass cookware. I've seen pictures. She thinks it's cute, but it's gross.

He went on to relate another queer anecdote about a co-worker who claimed he contracted scabies after trying on a pair of jeans at Old Navy.

“Before all the vomiting started,” said Clementine, “I heard several people raving about his black bean casserole.”

Thirty-seven employees called in sick Friday, forcing the third-generation business to close it doors for the first time in 65 years. Customers in need of pencils, tape and Post-It notes were directed to the Office Max on Campbell Road.


• Thruway Rest Stop to Host Labor Day Potluck
• Christmas Decorating Ends in Divorce for Another Area Couple
• Heart Doc Likens Capital Region Commute To Coronary Artery Disease
• Spurred by Link to 'Wonderful Life,’ Cohoes Renamed Pottersville
• Clifton Park Man Asked To Leave Christmas Party After Complaining About Commute