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I’m vegan and I work at a small office where it is common for people to bring in food to share. Sometimes I get lucky and receive consideration from the food-bringer, but in at least as many cases, I find myself neglected and left out. I don't expect to receive consideration from every person every time, but there is one case that feels particularly egregious to me and I'm not sure how to react to it.

There is a donut shop a few blocks from our office that offers most of their flavours in both vegan and non-vegan varieties. When I bring back donuts from the shop, I always make sure the whole order is vegan (of course) and there are no problems because the food is suitable for everyone. But when other people pick up donuts from the same shop, they frequently either forget to get vegan donuts, or just get everything in one box without labels so it's impossible to tell which ones are vegan.

It's not just me, either; there's at least one other vegan in this office. After eight months of working here I'm fairly sure that all of my coworkers are now aware that I am vegan, either through direct conversation or other indirect cues. I know that people aren't overwhelmed by trying to accomodate many dietary needs because there are no people in our office with severe allergies.

Edit: I live a vegan lifestyle because I believe we should avoid doing harm to animals. When I purchase or make food to share in the office, I would never bring in something non-vegan because I believe that would be unethical.

What can I do to increase my chances of being included? Would it be unreasonable to ask that only vegan donuts are included in future orders?

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So first of, like other people said here : no, you can't demand only vegan donuts be bought from now on. That being said, you can ask gently to not forget to bring vegan options.

You could do that for example next time someone brings some :

Are there any vegan donuts ? Oh shoot, I can't eat any then. Would it be OK to buy some vegan ones next time ? I would really appreciate it.

In this script, you're not accusing anyone of anything and you're not making any demands. This way, if people are just forgetful or not very thoughtful, they're not feeling attacked. And if some are more malicious (they do exist), gently highlighting the fact that they're being jerks will get you more results than outward demanding stuff.

Same if they bought some but don't know which ones are vegan anymore, you can ask them to be more careful next time. But for this one I'd even go to the bakery and mention the issue, and ask them if they can implement a system to easily recognize vegan and non-vegan items (I'm even surprised this isn't the case already, this could be dangerous for people with allergies).

If one or two people are the main offenders, you could also have a talk in private. Again, don't be accusatory or sound annoyed, talk about this as if you're both having a problem or a miscommunication and you wish to solve this together.

Beware, some people might ask you in turn to bring non-vegan donuts when it's your turn (you say they're suitable, nothing about the taste; if they taste less good it could be people aren't happy when you buy them and decide to get only non-vegan / good ones when it's their turn because of this). So before asking anything, know how to handle this possibility if it comes up.

Honestly, I could become petty on an issue like this and start only buying donuts for myself. When asked why I don't buy for the rest of the office anymore, I'd calmly explain that I'm tired buying donuts for everyone while I never get to eat donuts when it's someone else's turn. I don't recommend this, but maybe you have a petty streak like me (and you think it won't start a cold war in your office).

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What can I do to increase my chances of being included?

Keep buying vegan when it's your turn to buy the donuts.

It is not realistic to expect to be always included if most of your colleagues are not vegan. Be patient, stay positive.

Would it be unreasonable to ask that only vegan donuts are included in future orders?

Demanding is unreasonable, yes. If your colleagues take a coffee break when the donuts arrive, participate. You will likely be asked why aren't you taking any donut. Mention that you'd like to but can't eat those. Hopefully, some of your colleagues will be empathetic towards you and take you into consideration next time.

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Yes, it would be unreasonable. Do they ask that you bring in only non-vegan donuts? No. You shouldn't expect people to alter the way they do things to appease a small group. There may be people that simply do not like the vegan donuts. So if you are expected to be catered to, should they not expect you to get non vegan donuts for them?

When you get some, get 2 separate boxes. Vegan, and non-vegan. Hopefully, that will then become normal, and more will start doing the same, that way, no-one is left out.

One of the main reasons people get annoyed with us vegans is the expectation that we should be catered to (and please don't get offended, it is only a minority, but it seems they are the loudest ones, hence this is the thing people associate with it). Most restaurants now cater to vegan diets, but vegan restaurants refuse to cater to anything else.

Parties thrown by vegans will have only vegan foods, but will expect vegan food to be provided for them at any parties they attend.

So, start buying both yourself, show that you are also making an effort to be accommodating, and hopefully others will do too. If you know some of the people that regularly get them, maybe mention the idea and hope it catches on with the rest of the office. Expressing displeasure at not being catered to is not often a good way to be included.

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