Lunch with sources: who pays?

Question: If you have regular sources with whom you meet for lunch, who pays? What about eating off the sandwich tray at press conferences? How much of a stickler should I be?

Answer by Petti Fong

The lunch dilemma is a tougher one to address than the sandwich one. If I invite a source out for lunch, I pay for both of us. If s/he asks me out, then I pay for my own, especially if it’s a public official. When they insist, I tell them it’s taxpayer money and it would be much better for both of us if we pay our own. As for sandwiches, that’s easy. Never. Even if you’re starving. The only exception I can think of is during budget lock-ups.

Be a stickler and don’t eat off the sandwich tray, even if there’s focaccia bread and fancy Dijon mustard.

Carry granola bars.

Petti Fong is the Western Canada bureau chief for The Toronto Star.

(Receipt photo by Manny Hernandez, used under Creative Commons license.)

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