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How To Handle Kitchen Thieves

If you’ve ever walked over to your office fridge anticipating the lunchtime meal that awaits you only to discover that someone else has nabbed your meal, foodie weblog Chow details how to avoid being left empty-handed.

Photo by Aine D.

We’re big fans of the anti-theft lunch bag, but if your sandwich is already gone, Chow’s “Table Manners” Q&A column addressed the problem that is the office kitchen thief. Reader Hungry for Justice wrote in when his chicken sandwich was eaten by a co-worker. “I wrote a mean note and taped it on the fridge, but I felt totally impotent. I’m still really angry about it. What’s the best way to keep people from stealing your stuff, and chastise them when they do?” inquired Hungry.

Chow suggested that rather than criticise someone or use devious tactics to get at them, it’s better to air your situation to whomever will listen with the aim that it will get back to the thief-in-question. If that’s too passive aggressive or time-consuming, then pen an explicit note and tape it to the fridge. How explicit? They suggest using “concrete terms” and “plaintive, rather than aggressive, language”. Need an example?

“To whomever ate my eggplant sandwich yesterday, I got up a half hour early so I could make a healthy lunch. When I discovered it missing, I had to spend half my lunch hour going to the deli for a $US7 sandwich I couldn’t afford. I don’t mean to be a jerk, but times are tough right now, and I don’t have much to spread around. Sincerely …”

As a last resort, the article says to keep your food nearby, like in your desk drawer. Have any office food nightmares and coping mechanisms to share? If so, detail yours below. And if you’re not concerned by would-be lunch thieves, then check out our guide to making your packed lunch more appealing.

Somebody Took My Lunch: How to Stop Office Kitchen Thieves [Chow]

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