[Question] How much does neatly eating matter? What about other food manners?

I just read this post about the im­por­tance of sand­which eat­ing skill. The au­thor de­scribes how his in­vest­ment firm served very hard to eat food to po­ten­tial clients.

Dur­ing my in­tern­ship, a Pres­ti­gious Pri­vate Equity Firm was look­ing to im­prove its stock price/​share­holder base. So a del­e­ga­tion of higher-ups (the COO/​CFO/​Head of IR/​Head of Le­gal) went around pitch­ing their stock to in­sti­tu­tions that they thought might be in­ter­ested in buy­ing and hold­ing it for a long time. Th­ese sorts of meet­ings were a fairly com­mon oc­cur­rence at my old firm—we’d have per­haps an av­er­age of three or four a week—and would some­times be catered.
The meet­ing with PPEF was catered. The meal seemed like an al­most-in­ten­tional[ii]se­lec­tion of food items that are difficult to con­sume in a pro­fes­sional set­ting—sand­wiches with way too much mayo, ket­tle-cooked potato chips (the ex­tra crunchy kind), and choco­late chip cook­ies that crum­bled if you bit them. There were nap­kins, but there were not enough nap­kins.
The peo­ple from my firm al­most uniformly avoided the food. A few nib­bled care­fully on the cook­ies; only one—a port­fo­lio man­ager with a fierce in­tel­lect and a lack of re­gard for what oth­ers might think of his pre­sen­ta­tion—dared eat a sand­wich. Much like any nor­mal hu­man would[iii], he went through sev­eral nap­kins and looked rather undig­nified at times. (Though this was unim­por­tant, be­cause he was the one who would de­cide if PPEF would get the in­vest­ment it wanted.) I of course ate noth­ing, be­cause I was an in­tern fo­cused on tak­ing good notes and not ap­pear­ing overly in­timi­dated.
All four PPEF del­e­gates ate ev­ery food item we pro­vided—to do oth­er­wise might have been rude. What’s more, they did it with a shock­ing amount of grace. Chips seemed not to crunch; any filling that threat­ened to es­cape a sand­wich was care­fully cor­ralled. Nap­kins were al­most un­nec­es­sary and were fas­tidiously re­folded if used. In their man­ners and man­ner­isms, the PPEF del­e­gates were pre­cise and uniform. None of this ap­peared to take any at­ten­tion. It all looked as nat­u­ral as breath­ing. In fact, though food was surely be­ing eaten, it al­most seemed that they were not eat­ing at all. When they later typed on their iPads—while mak­ing fre­quent eye con­tact with ev­ery­one across the table—their fingers did not so much as smudge the glass.

The au­thor cor­rectly points out that the ex­ec­u­tives must have been se­lected for sand­which eat­ing skill. Ob­vi­ously it is bad to leave food on your face/​teeth or have bad breath. I don’t do those things but I tend to eat in a pretty messy way. How much is that go­ing to hurt me if I stay in soft­ware? What if I move to other fields?

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