Work fridge: NOT your grocery store

Okay, we will find you and you will be fired. If you’re hungry, I’m sorry, but you are stealing.

Our fridge at work is getting plundered at night. And I’m not talking about an inconsidereate ass who is stealing someone’s yogurt, we’re talking larger scale thefts.

For example, we were having a potluck at work. My co-worker brought in almost $50 worth of fresh fruits and vegetables. Half of which was for the potluck the following day. The rest would be for her lunch for the rest of the week (she’s pregnant and eats a LOT these days). We were the last to leave the office that night. It’s a small office, we did a quick tour before we turned the lights off.

Next morning: Gone.

Now this stuff has been happening for awhile. Entire tupperware sets would vanish. At first everyone figured that “someone” was in a snit and was overzealously “cleaning the fridge” with with ruthless attitude and throwing out dirty tupperware before stuff started growing. But it was too over-the-top. A full and overflowing bag of fresh fruits and veggies is not something you’d mistaken for “old, oozing lunch.” And having your genuine tupperware get thrown out would piss anyone off anyway. That shit’s expensive.

The company used to buy milk for the coffee and tea drinkers. This stopped after a new, unopened carton vanished overnight.

A co-worker had a box of crackers on his shelf for his soup: the kind of box that has four, wrapped towers of saltines inside. Two stacks of saltines were taken. An unopened bottle of salad dressing also disappeared.

On Friday, during my lunch hour, I went to the fancy St. Lawrence Market and bought some expensive gourmet mustards for my girlfriend. Four jars, $8 each, and a new loaf of rye bread. My co-worker and I were the last ones out of the office. I’d forgotten the bag in the fridge. My passcard was at home, so I was locked out. I went back with my passcard the following morning. The entire bag was gone.

Again, it’s not like you’re going to mistake four glass jars for “forgotten, oozing lunch”. Even if you don’t peek into the bag: they were heavy enough and made chinky-cling noises, that you’d be an idiot if you didn’t stop to wonder what the hell you were throwing out and didn’t look inside.

There’s been other stuff missing here and there. But it’s the missing groceries that are really starting to piss us all off.

Chances are very good that it’s the cleaning staff. Very few people are allowed to have passcards to our office. Only a very small handful of people have cards. Few of us work late and the cleaning staff doesn’t show up until after 9:00. My one co-worker had been working late, opened a can of Pringles and ate only a few before leaving. In the morning the can was still on his desk, but only crumbs remained.

So okay. Someone is hungry. It’s very sad that someone needs to get their milk and veggies by stealing from an office fridge. But fuck off already! This stuff is not yours to take! You’re stealing.

The $50 bag of groceries you took was paid for by my pregnant co-worker, on a tight budget, so she could eat healthily throughout the week. She is growing a whole new person inside her! And what the fuck are you going to do with $32 worth of gourmet mustard? That was a gift for my girlfriend who is trying out new recipes. If you need food and can’t pay for it, there are food banks that can help you with more balanced offerings than what “maple mustard on rye sandwiches” can provide. Our work fridge is not your source of free groceries! :mad:

That situation sounds absolutely bizarre. Good luck finding the culprit.

One word:


Yea that really is weird. Someone should set up surveillance.

Install a latch and a lock. It’ll cost you $15 which is less than you’re losing in a single theft.

Cameras at the elevator banks. Have Security review the tapes.

Well, the fridge is a work fridge, for your lunch. Why are people bringing groceries there and leaving them there to bring home after work? Is it really that complicated for them to do their shopping after work, instead of filling up the lunchroom fridge with grocery orders?

Stealing is reprehensible, obviously, but I don’t understand leaving groceries in the communal work fridge.

You said you have passcards. Your access control system will have a log of who goes in and out at all times. Register a complaint with the Security department and ask them to review the access control logs. You’ll find out who is in the office at the time of the thefts.

You mentioned that a couple of times you were the last to leave the office. I know they’re often unfairly accused, but could it be the cleaning crew?

We were having an identical problem, and this is how we solved it. Combination locks.

As in my OP, much of the stuff being stolen was also common for provided for the office staff. Such as fruits and veggies for the office potluck and all the milk for the coffee. We also used to have a salad co-operative program wherein staff members brought in all of the ingredients for salad and volunteers would put the salads together.

About 25% of the office staff took part in our salad program. This ended largely due to the fact that the ingredients would be stolen.

Groceries brought on the lunch hour are usually very small items purchased at specialty shops and, to answer that aspect of your question: No, in fact a few of these specialty shops are not accessible after work. Eg/ the place I got the mustard is a shop that closes at 6 pm. I’m at work until 5:30 and can’t get there before they close.

It’s not as if office staff are regularly doing all their grocery shopping during the lunch hour and loading up the fridge. They are usually just small things like gourmet salad dressing from a tiny place in “the Path” which is in the financial district and is keeps bankers hours because all the customers are the bankers and lawyers in the buildings above, fancy condiments, or desserts that must be refrigerated, or fancy treats.

The “big” grocery thefts were mostly stuff that was destined to be consumed by office staff in the office.

Right now, it’s most likely that the culprit is someone from the cleaning staff. Unfortunately, we’re not having much luck getting property management to do anything about it.

No, that’s illegal and immmoral.

Just set up a videocam, easy to do in an office. It is either the cleaning staff or security.

Don’t get me wrong, I have no big problem with either occasionaly helping themselves to some candy bowl, or other obvious community items. They are part of the community too, even if few hardly ever see them. But what the Op describes is out and out theft, no excuses.

Rig up a box of Saltines with a dye pack!

Easy solution to a shitty problem. Won’t stop the desk thefts, but at least it will solve the fridge from being raided. Frankly, if I had people in my office that stole that blatently and frequently, I’d be afraid to have regular office equipment out where they had access.

Illegal, maybe. Immoral, not at all. Thieves deserve whatever non-lethal punishment their actions bring. If you stash a bunch of Ex-Lax in a chocolate mousse that you leave in the fridge, then the repurcussions fall on the thief, not you. Morally, that is. There may be a law broken, but thieves deserve whatever happens to them.

How is it illegal or immoral to put laxative in something that belongs to you and would not have an effect on anyone else unless they *steal * your property and eat it?

That’s what I did a few years ago when someone was stealing my ice cream from a communal fridge/freezer. The thefts stopped. Of course, after that I made sure my food was sealed when I put it in the fridge – in case of revenge – but I certainly did nothing illegal or immoral in getting the thief to stop taking and eating and shitting out what wasn’t theirs to take or eat or shit.

They’re the ones committing out and out theft – an illegal and immoral act.

Why does an unopened jar of gourmet mustard need to be refrigerated? Do they mix it fresh in the food boutique? I’d slide it into a desk drawer, myself.

I’d also picked up some fresh fruit. Since it was after the lunch hour and their was plenty of room in the now-almost-empty fridge, I put the whole bag in the empty crisper. If it had just been the mustards, I would have left the jars on my desk. Pfeh! Should have just put the strawberries in the fridge, then I would only be out the berries. (I’m not so mad about the fruit, but the bread and mustards were really expensive for what they were).

As for laxatives… No way in hell am I going to do that to an unknown person! I also don’t know what the thief is doing with the stuff. For all I know, some cleaning lady has been taking stuff home to feed her family. Or some douchebag thinks he/she is the next Robin Hood and is swiping “leftovers” and “abandoned food” to give to some homeless guy who lives near the office. Or someone is seriously desperate.

Remember, it’s not just my fancy mustard. I lost a loaf of bread and fruit. We lost milk and salad ingredients too.

Two wrongs don’t make a right.

In my gut I’m hoping that it’s some crazy mistake. Like maybe the cleaning staff was told to “clean the fridge” on Fridays (when most of the thieving happens) and they are thinking it gives them licence to empty it out.

I’m going to “seal” the fridge on Friday with tape and a sign that says “Do Not Remove Groceries from Fridge”. A true thief will disregard the tape. If it’s some gross misommunication with the cleaning staff, they should leave it alone.

They aren’t supposed to clean the inside of the fridge though, as far as I know.

I also know two wrongs don’t make a right, but after repeatedly, starting out with the food (I kept other things there as well) clearly labeled as belonging to me and writing “don’t throw out” on it, alerting supervision to the problem (this happened on non-cleaning nights), and hiding my things way at the back of the fridge, I had to do something.

I understand there may be mitigating circumstances as to why people would need to steal food but, in my case, I had to work to earn money to pay for my food too, and, if there’s a hunger issue in their home, stolen ice cream is not solving their problem.

I park my car on the street and I realize there are people who need a ride to get somewhere, but it doesn’t excuse them stealing my car, that I paid for and maintain and insure.