Office Offense Part 2: Who STOLE My Lunch?

This is part 2 of our multipart examination of what happens in a typical office or workplace kitchen.

Who STOLE My Lunch?

The “Hamburglar” is real, and he is out to ruin your day. Food theft has got to be one of the most heinous crimes imaginable. Why is it that perfectly civilized co-workers easily become crazed criminals when wandering through the office kitchen or break room. What magical powers does an office kitchen have that can transform people from being normal, law-abiding members of society, into lunatics who lack all respect for the powerful bond between a man and his lunch?

At our office the cupboards even have padlocks; BUT no lunch is ever really safe.

And it is not only brown-bagged sandwiches or leftovers that get pinched. One’s personal meal accompaniments seem to get “borrowed” more than anything. In our office, condiments are NOT communal; Yet my co-workers  are constantly finding their mayo or ranch dressing missing from where they placed it in the fridge. Minutes later they often discover their condiment container completely empty and tossed in the trash.

The mere thought of opening our break room’s fridge to find my carefully prepared lunch stolen, gives me nightmares.

There are some ways to deter your colleagues from becoming criminals…or at least from stealing YOUR brown bag.

1. Get a lunch box/bag that stands out and EVERYONE will notice. It does not make a difference if you are required to wear a business suit and be ultra-professional at work; if you are toting your lunch in a “Ninja Turtle” lunch box, then EVERYONE will know whose it is.

A bright girly lunch tote, like the one picture here made by HADAKI, not only keeps your lunch sealed off from the filth of the typical never-cleaned break room fridge, but a unique lunch bag/box also makes sure EVERYONE will notice if it gets into the hungry hands of your co-workers.

2. Get a small guard dog. Seriously, if you can bring your canine companion to the workplace that’s great. But if you have one TRUE friend who works with you, then they could keep an eye on your food when you are not around. Just accept that a few bites will be required as tip.

3. Label your lunch like crazy. Be “that” guy who has perfectly matching Tupperware and custom labels with their full name, address, social security number, etc on EVERY lid, bottle, and bag they bring to work.  People will make fun of your OCD, but at least you won’t go hungry.

4. GPS tracking is always a possibility. Hell, you could even leave your iPhone in the lunch box and use its built-in GPS. You can monitor its position from your computer once you log on to Apple’s “Cloud.” You will have to decide what is more important a phone or food. You should already know the correct answer here.

5. Just bring in something so nasty that people rather just steal another co-workers (although you TOO may end up becoming just another lunch thief).

In the lawless world of the office break room, NO lunch is safe. It is a no-mans-land where you can’t trust anything. Next time your buddy from the office down the hall is a little too curious about what you brought for lunch, you might want to reconsider leaving your defenseless meal completely unprotected and all alone in the desolate break room. You really do have to do everything in your power to avoid a food-less lunch and a hunger-filled afternoon.

So what is it like at your job? Do you have any tips to protect your lunch from predators? How do you outsmart the office vultures? Or are you fortunate enough to work in some storybook environment where everybody is best friends, and your boss has meals catered 24/7 for all the employees…kind of like how it is at Google’s main office in Silicon Valley…damn I should have been a computer programmer.


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Categories: Rants

Author:Mr. Fed Up

A guy looking for good grub. and YES....I have a website...and I am not going to bore you with one of those personal journal type of blogs. I promise. Check it out;


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10 Comments on “Office Offense Part 2: Who STOLE My Lunch?”

  1. May 5, 2012 at 6:45 pm #

    I hate those noisy plastic bags. So unappetizing!

    • May 5, 2012 at 8:54 pm #

      Our WHOLE office seems to use those plastic bags (including me). But I agree they are annoying and pulling anything from them never looks as tasty as when it goes in.

  2. May 5, 2012 at 6:47 pm #

    I also love the photo with the lock on the cupboards. reminds me of when our family visited grandma. She would lock the liquor cabinet. We didn’t care – and we showed her! All of us were onto it and packed our our booze to have stored in our bedrooms rooms! We went downstairs a lot for “ice”.

    • May 5, 2012 at 8:56 pm #


      If I am ever a grandparent, I will definitely lock my cereals away from the kids…I love my cereal too much and would be really frustrated if I woke up one morning any my “house guests” ate it all.

  3. May 6, 2012 at 10:38 am #

    Yeah – bring a turtle for lunch!!! Our office thief used to go through everyone’s lunches and only take the best thing. Someone would be like: “Oh, no, my chicken salad is gone” and a few seconds later, someone would call out, “He got my brownie,” while another would be like “I guess he’s got my Yahoo.”

    I hide stuff at home all the time – chocolate in my underwear drawer – booze in bottles labelled “home made” vinegar (I have a teenager) snacks and chocolate chips in my stock pot, crackers in the broom closet – yeah, he NEVER looks in there, and he can polish off a box of crackers in 23.5 seconds. He’s a fiend with the hotsauce so I have to hide some if I want any for recipes. That usually goes in the plastic pitcher in the back of the cupboard.

    I also utilize my crock pot, my electric frying pan and even my enameled cast iron pan. That does necessitate some planning while cooking if he’s around.

    Sometimes I can’t find what I’ve hidden when I need it…I’m a bit squirley – and other times items turn up years later. Even worse, is the “premature discovory” – he’ll pull a winter blanket out of a linen closet and out will spill across the hallway the Hallowe’en candy carefully stashed inside – always a bit embarrassing when that happens.

    Now he just follows me around the house when he gets a craving: “I know there’s chocolate in theis house, where is it? I KNOW there’s chocolate, Mom. Where’s the chocolate. I KNOW you have some stashed. He becomes more strident and I just humm a song and ignore him.

    • May 6, 2012 at 12:53 pm #

      Haha. You have some serious sneaky strategies. With me, I just leave the “good stuff” in the bottom drawer in our kitchen where my wife never looks. Hidden in that drawer amongst the cans of beans, I have stashes of my favorite stuff, like quality salsa or jelly beans. Its not that I am hiding them as much as they are just placed somewhere less obvious.

  4. May 8, 2012 at 10:09 pm #

    The fridge at work is starting to look like a science experiment gone very wrong and something dripped onto my container today – YUCKO!!! I keep my own napkins, silverware, extra food at my desk and out of the break room just a free for all in that room.

    • May 8, 2012 at 10:11 pm #

      Yes….EVERY morning when I leave my food in the office fridge, I say a little prayer to the lunch gods hoping that by the breaktime, my food will still be edible.

  5. whatever
    May 11, 2012 at 4:57 pm #

    thankfully i don’t have that problem as i work mostly from home, and if i need to take lunch with me occasionally some sandwiches will do and i don’t need the fridge for them, but i’ve stumbled upon some solutions for this problem on the internet before, so here goes:

    step up the creative lunch box idea a notch, and there you go, organ transplant bag:
    it is even an insulation box, so when packed with one of those cool box thingies (don’t know what they are called in english, sorry), you won’t even need to put it in the fridge at all.

    then, there are artificial mold lunch bags. i guess they would work best in a fridge that is yucky and never cleaned out and probably has some “original specimen” in it.

    and, finally, there is the least creative but probably most efficient gadget: the fridge locker. has a combination lock and fits in the fridge. problem solved.

    • May 11, 2012 at 8:42 pm #

      Hey Whatever,
      These are AWESOME ideas! I really like the mold lunch bags. I could have used these ideas when I was writing the post.

      You are very fortunate that you get to work from home often…my lunches would be so much tastier of I had all my important kitchen stuff around me:

      Plus…half the time I am late to the office is because I am busy trying to prep a solid lunch.

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