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How to Handle a Co-worker's Hard Candy Habit

You're trying to work, but all you can hear is a co-worker working on a jawbreaker. Sweet mercy. Let's talk about the co-worker with the raging hard-candy habit!
Sorry the hard candy I gave you broke your tooth.

Maybe your co-worker has a thing for Jolly Ranchers or Tootsie Rolls, when he's not reaching for another peppermint starlight mint or the root beer barrels he bought at the candy kiosk. Sometimes, he likes to kick it old school by throwing a bag of Pop Rocks into his workplace productivity routine. You know, just to shake things up.

Talk about ten pounds of Life Savers stuffed into a five pound bag! No matter how you try, your co-worker's hard candy habit has you vaguely shaken up. The constant crunching, gnawing and scraping of candy against the teeth during the work day is something you can't un-hear, unfortunately.

At some point, each piece of candy submits to mandibular manipulation. At its breaking point, each piece of hard candy disintigrates into a dozen pieces inside your co-worker's mouth. Then the real chewing begins. Wash, rinse and repeat over and over and over again, all day long, until an entire bag of hard candy is history.

I Want Candy!
To make matters worse, Halloween is right around the corner. The big box stores are already stocking the big, economy-sized bags of hard candy. If your co-worker can hold out until November 1, however, the candy will be 50% to 75% off per bag, so she can stock up for 2018. Sigh. How will you keep your work attitude from turning sour?

You have a few choices here. You can try your best to tune it out. You can wear earphones, if your workplace will allow them.

You might introduce this co-worker to a friend or relative who is a dental hygienist. Dental hygienists seem to have no problem telling us what we're doing wrong with our teeth.

You can buy this co-worker a bag of soft and chewy gummy bears (hint, hint) in hopes she will switch up her candy. But no; she likes the hard candy. Fewer calories, better breath, bigger sounds. Next idea.

Okay, you can tell this co-worker to stop the incessant hard candy consumption before you go absolutely bonkers! Oh, did somebody say Bonkers? I always preferred the watermelon flavor.

Whatever you do, please try to work it out one-on-one with your co-worker instead of salt water taffying it over to management. Most of us appreciate the opportunity to be made aware of a workplace problem quietly instead of involving the boss in our sticky situation. Look for compromise.

This is a very minor workplace issue in the larger scheme of things. Unless you've spent the last week listening to a co-worker work on Werther's Original Hard Candies, one after the other, that is. Then it's like Tic Tacs dragged across sandpaper. By the way, would you like a piece of gum?


  1. This had me laughing. For me, it's the pen-clicker, toe-tapper and leg bouncer that drive me insane. But you learn to adjust. Thanks for sharing some humor!

    1. Thanks for the nice feedback! PS: I have those bases covered in this past post entitled, "Burp! Slurp! Seven Tips for Dealing with Noisemakers at Work"


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