Greetings and salutations,
I just submitted my expense report for a work trip (this one), and it got kicked back to me. Why? I ran through everything I spent on the trip – flight, hotel, rental car, food, and I received the following response:
Lunch is not ordinarily a business expense.
Excuse me? Yes of course lunch isn’t ordinarily a business expense. Because I don’t buy lunch when I work in town. That’s why I tried to run it through – because it was money I spent while out of town that I wouldn’t have spent otherwise.
If there is a valid business reason for this meal, please provide the reason and the attendees, in accordance with the expense policy.
Um – yes. The business reason is that I’m a human being that needs calories from time to time in order to be productive throughout the day. Sigh. Who am I kidding? I know better than to try that one.
But that’s only how the policy doesn’t work for me. What you don’t realize is the completely obvious way the policy doesn’t work for you. Hence my previous assessment of your intelligence. See – now that I know I can’t get lunch reimbursed, I’m going to go back to the policy, take a look at the allowances for all the other meals, and get more food for those meals to make up for having no lunch. Instead of a small breakfast, moderate lunch, and light dinner, I’m going to get a late breakfast and a large early dinner that I’ll eat half of in the early afternoon and the other half in the early evening.
Here’s about how my out-of-town meal expenses compare before I was aware of the no-lunch policy and afterward:
You see? I don’t want to be out the cost of lunch every day, so I changed my behavior. And now you’re spending more money on my travel because of your policy designed to spend less money.
Good job, genius.