Work fridge: NOT your grocery store

Don’t count on the cleaning staff being able to read English. I’ve had a clean room befouled and been walked in on while breast-pumping, both due to making that mistake.

Slightly off topic, but FYI for those of you who do tend to stash groceries in the work fridge on occasion. I used to do that when I worked office jobs, and would forget the damn groceries about half the time. Finally, I figured out a way to make sure I remember: put your car keys in the grocery bag. You can’t get home without your groceries that way.

Of course, if you have a stealing problem, you probably shouldn’t do that. The thief could get your groceries AND your car. But I never worked anywhere with that kind of problem.

Eh, if they’ve been told to clean out the fridge, they may view being able to take the good stuff home as a legitimate bonus.

Frankly, though, I understand your frustration, I’m having a hard time mustering sympathy for someone who buys $32 worth of gourmet mustard and then cavalierly suggests a food bank for their underpaid cleaning staff. Perhaps they should just eat cake, instead.

You’re kidding, right? The OP attended school, got appropriate training in order to get a good job and elects to get an expensive (although it’s not like $32 is a fortune) gift for his girlfriend and you’re on the side of the person who stole it? Thats…absurd.

If you have a job cleaning and you don’t make enough money to feed your family then, yes, you absolutly should use the food bank. Or get a second job. Or a different job. Or do you think the thief was justified in stealing from someone else? What exactly is their starving family going to do with all the mustard anyway? It’s not like you can eat it straight up.

That was why it was such a big deal to me. Those mustards were exhorbitant to me! They were for a gift my girlfriend was preparing. Hell, I’d never spend that kind of money on condiments. It was for a special occasion and having them stolen meant my girlfriend had to scramble to put together an alternative.

And it’s not a cavalier suggestion. I was underemployed for a few years during my mid-20s. The job market sucked ass and I had to resort to rationing spaghetti noodles (ate them with a bit or margarine and parmesan cheese sprinkled on top). When I started looking emaciated, my roommate suggested the food bank so I could at least plan more well-rounded meals. As 5-4 said above, stolen ice cream isn’t going to solve a real hunger issue. You can’t plan dinner around what may or may not be worth stealing from someone else’s fridge. And I never resorted to stealing other people’s leftovers.

I work in the financial district. The cleaning crews have to be bondable. They are by no means underpaid here. Before our office moved, we were on pretty good terms with Anthony, the crew leader of the old cleaning crew. He totally made a decent, living wage. (And he really loved working at night.) He was a great, zany guy, and 100% rock solid dependable.

ETA: Though I lived off of spaghetti noodles for 6 months, I never ate Ramen! Yuck!

EATA: And I don’t think they are supposed to empty the fridge or clean the inside of it. They are efinitely not supposed to empty the dish washer, or clean the coffee gizmo. Those are our responsibility. The fridge is too, I think.

Oh, please. I think it’s doubtful the thief is stealing this food to survive, but if that was the case the food bank is the perfect solution. This isn’t Les Miserables, where you have to steal a loaf of bread or starve; food banks exist so people don’t have to make that kind of moral decision. There is no excuse for stealing, not even hunger, because in this country we provide a way to get food without resorting to theft.

I think this is a really good point. People who would steal things that are obviously not theirs (I don’t care in the slightest for any excuse that might be given for people taking things they know aren’t theirs) are thieves, and thieves steal things. I don’t think a sign would help - people know that a carton of pringles aren’t for them or for throwing out.

I don’t know why building management isn’t taking this more seriously. This is a bad situation (not life-threatening or anything, but still bad).

For the same reason it’s illegal to set up boobytraps in your house to injure or kill burglars. It’s assault, and it’s against the law. And the reason it’s against the law (and the reason it’s immoral) are because the effects of your tampering could have long term health consequences for the person stealing the food. I’ve never bought any laxatives myself, but I’m guessing that, like most medications, they come with a long list of mediactions and medical conditions which won’t play well with the laxative. Some of these interactions can be serious. Plus, you can’t control where that laxative ends up. What if you put a laxative in your ice cream, and someone steals it, takes it home, and shares it with their kid? You’ve just poisoned an innocent kid with an adult laxative. That could very easily be fatal.

It’s a fun revenge fantasy, but trying something like this out in reality is stupid and dangerous. Please don’t do it again.

I should say, I have been a cleaning woman, and I cleaned under the loose change left lying around and put it back where it was; I would not take a penny from someone’s house, because it’s STEALING. It just isn’t mine to take. The cleaners know damned well what they’re doing is wrong. Somebody needs to get fired, and if I was managing your building, I’d fire the whole cleaning company if they weren’t willing to look after the actions of their employees.

At my last employment, the fridges were explicitly emptied over the weekend. And there was a notice on the doors to say so.

The property management here takes fuck all seriously. When the air conditioning broke for several floors of the building a few summers ago, several tenants had to withhold rent before they actually fixed it. And don’t even get my boss started on the fact that we have a disabled employee and the elevators are totally out at least two days a month because they can just never seem to get the right part. (We’re out of here when the lease is up.)

That’s why they should look after this - they can lose tenants over things like this. I know that I take theft very seriously. What kind of building management doesn’t care about losing tenants? Don’t answer - I know what kind. The kind you want to move away from.

Make up some food in the refrigerator with a whole bunch of blue dye in it. Wait for it to be stolen. See who shows up with a blue mouth.

Lemme reiterate too, that the culprit seems to most likely be on the cleaning crew, but only because when my one co-worker and I have been the last to leave it was so late that the only people still in the building were the cleaners.

There used to be a security crew that did regular walk-throughs (day and night). I haven’t seen them since the new property managers took over. Not once. Maybe they turn up really late at night or early morning.

We’re supposed to take home left over lunches. We have volunteers amoungst our own employees who volunteer to empty the fridge of “all things furry or slimey” every two weeks.

Condiments, and common snacks (like the now-defunct salad materials), and the milk for coffee, stays put. Unless your stuff is obviously rotten, you could reasonably expect to find it in the fridge Monday morning.

I see you’re all “law and order” when it comes to what might happen when someone eats something that never belonged to them with something in it they don’t know about, but excuse it when it’s thievery in the first place.


I understand everything you wrote but do you understand they’re stealing from me, I’m not forcing my food down their throat.

If someone continues to steal from me after I’ve taken the measures I mentioned in post #20, I’m going to do what I can to stop them. It’s not my fault they’re stealing from me, it’s theirs.

You said the crew sheif of the cleaning crew is a great guy, could you sort of talk to him privately and say that this is happening and if his folks could keep an eye out for whoever is doing it. Don’ accuse his staff of it because it could be a member of managment of something just like the candy jar thread where some manager was coming in and emptying out the jar when everyone else was gone. It might be a misunderstanding on the part of the cleaning crew as you said too. Just talking to him could solve the whole problem. Although if you find out it is someone who is desperatly trying to feed a family, maybe everybody chip in some change each week to buy milk, bread and peanut butter to help them out. No obligation to do so however.

The OP was on good terms with the old cleaning crew boss, before they moved.

Seems like there’s little to no contact with the cleaning crew at all in the new premises.

Besides the fact that you could end up in worse legal trouble than the thief - you don’t legally get to poison/sicken someone as retaliation for theft, tempting though it may be - you also miss the point that many of these cases are communal food. What if a coworker isn’t in on the trickery, or forgets, and ends up really sick?

Exactly. Anthony was a great, goofy guy. When he was in a car accident and was laid up at home for awhile all the offices sent flowers.

The crew at this new building starts much later (or at least they don’t get up to our office until much later). I’ve seen them occasionally, and my gut instinct is that they are all good people. I have all sorts of spare change on my desk that’s never been touched. My officemate leaves his CD player out and there’s never been a problem.

If it’s somene on the cleaning crew then there is either ONE bad apple, or it’s someone on the security crew that no one ever sees. While there have been many thefts, they aren’t regular. It could be different teams, and we only get the thief on this floor once in a while.