Juice: It’s hard to imagine a more lazy potluck contribution than juice, which no one ever drinks because it’s empty calories, except with alcohol. Unfortunately, booze is banned from the workplace ever since that awkward incident with Dave from accounting and the piñata last Cinco de Mayo. Regardless, by bringing a half gallon of Tropicana as your sole contribution to Tim’s 50th birthday breakfast, you might as well say you’d walk in front of a bus before you’d show up at this thing for more than five minutes.
Jelly: Depending on the flavor of jelly you choose—grape or raspberry—you are expressing only slightly different sentiments when you bring jelly to celebrate Sally’s promotion. Showing up with raspberry says you don’t give a fuck if Sally is making 3% more money per year, because you’d eat cyanide and die seizing and foaming at the mouth before you’d choose to acknowledge Sally’s burgeoning career. Grape, on the other hand, says you’d prefer to die by falling on top of a recently-sharpened Samurai sword.
Plastic Utensils: If there’s a lamer item to drop off at Ken’s going-away lunch, I can’t name it. You might as well tell Ken, “Hey, it was nice knowing you, but to be perfectly honest—and please don’t take this the wrong way—I would choose careening off into the Grand Canyon on a motorcycle with no helmet over making small talk with you about your future plans that IDGAF about while holding a paper plate full of cold quiche."
Teabags: Like with the jelly, your contempt for the office Christmas potluck could not be more plain by bringing teabags as your lone offer. If you arrive with the herbal variety pack, you’re saying that you’re Ebeneezer Scrooge and want to die alone after being mugged, stabbed, and left for dead in an alley behind a pub in Victorian-era London. If you show up with Lipton, the message you’re communicating is more like you’d rather jump headlong into a chipper shredder in the snow with only one leg of your rotting corpse sticking out, like what happened to Steve Buscemi in Fargo.