• Wed, Aug 3 2011

Working Lunch: How To Survive A Spill At A Business Meal

Working Lunch is a weekly column that will focus on helping you figure out your best meal options whether you are eating at your desk or a conference in a four-star hotel.

Though I like to think that I have quite a bit of class and style (I do carry a Lilly Pulitzer lunchbox to work after all) I cannot compete with the experts over at Allure Magazine so I thought I would give you some of their tips for getting through the business meal if you have a spill.

I’m not going to lie. There are some days where I just can’t seem to drink out of a glass. I don’t know if I am having some sort of muscle spasm in my jaw, but no matter what I do something drips on to my shirt, usually when I am at a nice restaurant trying to look impressive. It is the universe’s funny little way of saying, “Who do you think you’re kidding?” Because of my clumsiness I have generally ruled out red wine and white blouses being part of my life, but I would like to get past this. Luckily Allure has some tips for how to survive business meal spillage.

  • Stay calm above all else: Whatever you do, for the love of God, don’t rub. This can create a wear mark and you never want that.
  • Absorb it quickly: Take the corner of a tissue, place it GENTLY on the spill and let the fluid seep into the tissue. For red wine or coffee put a little salt on the stain. For grease and oil, use talcum powder.
  • Be Underhanded: “Unless the garment is lined, you can try to tackle the stain from the back. Put a napkin on top of the stain, turn the fabric over, and add a few drops of seltzer water at a time while moving the napkin so the spill doesn’t come back into the fabric.
  • Consult a professional: Take that item to a dry cleaner as soon as possible.

And now a few tips from someone who attracts stains easily (AKA me):

  • Quietly acknowledge it happened and move on: I remember I was at a lunch meeting with a man who dropped a giant piece of tomato-sauce covered chicken parmesan down his white shirt. It was awkward that it happened but it would have been more awkward if he had not acknowledged it and I would have to pretend not to notice this big huge splattering stain. Instead we had a good laugh about his clumsiness and that I stay away from foods like that, mostly because the spill impact can be so great.
  • If you can’t fix it at the table, excuse yourself and go to the bathroom: For a small stain you can probably just damp some water on it at the table but for a big, dark stain, especially if it requires disrobing, go to the ladies room. You do not want to turn your business lunch into a striptease platform.
  • It never hurts to bring a back-up set of clothes: It is a pain to lug all that stuff to work but you will be happy that you can change into something fresh once you get back to your office.

Photo: Thinkstock

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  • Stephanie

    Definitely keeping these handy. I’m like a walking campaign for “How to Get Drinks on Yourself”

  • Rachel

    Tide Sticks were invented by angels. They are angel magic and get nearly everything out of clothing … especially work clothing.

    • Meredith Lepore

      You are so right! I can’t believe I forgot to include the Tide Sticks!! Thank you!