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Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

Lunch room thief, a way to handle it, [details]?

Asked by Hypocrisy_Central (26798points) September 26th, 2010

If you have someone at work that can’t seem to read or respect the lunch and snack of others by eating them, and the more adamant you label the items for others to please keep hands off, this person seems to think ”That really says for me to take it”, and you and others decide to teach this person a lesson. Knowing this person loves Mexican foods if a burrito was laced with Ghost Peppers that one of you came up because this person will steal it would it be unethical, brilliant, or illegal? If it won’t be a cure for lunchtime pilfering I can’t guess what will.

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10 Answers

Randy's avatar

This happened for a while at my last place of employment. I worked in a metal fabrication plant and the only two departments working at the time were CNC, (my department), and welding. I never brought my lunch so I never had anything stolen but it happened repeatedly to our forklift driver. One day, he brought in two lunches; one real one and one for the thief. The second lunch was a few tamales with some chewable ex lax tablets crushed inside, so we were told. Once the tamales came up missing, I never heard anything about people stealing lunches again on the night shit.

chocolatechip's avatar

Unethical? Illegal? No. It’s your lunch afterall.

Frenchfry's avatar

I have brought plenty of lunches and never had one stolen when I was working. I did have a co worker always eyeing my snack pack pudding. One day I gave up and gave her it. Made her day.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

The frustration and anger of having a co-worker take others’ food is understandable. It doesn’t justify retaliation with another unethical act. A couple of suggestions would be to:
* Invest in a lunch box with a lock
* Move the refrigerator to a location where people can keep an eye on it
* Ask the manager or owner to install a security camera and put a sign on the refrigerator letting people know that it exists for this purpose. If they refuse to do so, a fake one can be purchased for under $10.

john65pennington's avatar

I see it this way: a thief is a thief. if this person steals lunches, this person will steal from your company and out of your pocket, if the right opportunity presents itself. do whatever it takes to catch this person. prosecution should not be out of the question. i would not alter the food. a serveillance camera is a much better alternative. the guilty party, as a defense, might claim you attempted to poision them.

filmfann's avatar

In elementary school, and friend of mine was stealing stuff out of my lunch.
I took come chocolate flavored ex-lax, and put it in a hershey wrapper, and put it in my lunch.
He sneaked it, and missed a few days of school. I was sent to the Principal’s office, and he wanted to suspend me. I told him that I didn’t give it to him, so it’s not my fault.

diavolobella's avatar

@randy. It almost sounds like you work where my SO does. He runs a CNC machine in a fabrication plant where, on his shift (third) the only other people present are welders and they had a lunch room thief! LOL You aren’t in Tennessee, are you?

@Hypocrisy Central, it’s not technically illegal to lace your own food with whatever you want (peppers, Ex-lax, etc.) since presumably, it’s your food and why oh why (bats eyes) would anyone else eat it? Someone who steals food takes the willing risk of not knowing that it contains. However, having said that, it is highly unethical and it would be pretty easy for the food stealer’s attorney to prove you tampered with the food to injure his client, not because you have a hankering for Ex-lax in your ham and cheese sandwich. Let’s say this person did eat the food you purposely doctored and had some horrible reaction to it far worse than what you intended? What if they died or were hospitalized? It’s hardly worth it. It would be better to spring a trap to catch the person in the act (hidden video, etc.) than to take the risk of poisoning them. One thing that makes me cringe is hearing people talk about putting eye drops in someone’s food because they saw that in the movie “Wedding Crashers” and it’s supposed to give the person the runs. Eye drops can actually put someone in a coma, give them seizures and kill them.

Also, bear in mind if you tamper with food or drink that is intended for general use, such as the community coffee pot, you would most certainly be in a world of legal trouble.

chocolatechip's avatar


Simply having a lunch at all risks poisoning the thief, since you have no idea what the thief is allergic to. By that logic, you might as well not bring a lunch at all, since you know fully that the thief will steal your lunch, and may be allergic to some of the ingredients. Of course, it is ridiculous to suggest you should stop bringing lunches because a thief might be allergic to it.

lunchbandit's avatar

Ex-lax, Hot peppers etc. are just so 1990’s. Come on, I’m 3 steps ahead of all of you. Ohhh! What are these? Nilla Wafers? Don’t mind if I do

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