How to Deal with the Office Fridge Thief

Let’s face it, eating out for lunch five a days can be expensive. Assuming you spend just $8 per meal, that’s $40 per week or $160 per month! The good news is that you can cut these costs by bringing your own lunch and snacks to work. But if you’re going to bring your own food from home, you’ll need to be wary of the fridge thief.

Every office has one (or several): a worker who thinks he or she is entitled to any food and beverages left in the communal refrigerator. Maybe your significant other cooked a delicious home-cooked meal last night, so you decide to bring some leftovers to the office for lunch. When lunch time rolls around though, you open the communal refrigerator to discover your prized leftovers are missing. Instead of enjoying your partner’s home-cooked leftovers, you’re forced to once again settle for fast food. Sound like a familiar scenario? Well, here’s how to deal with the office fridge thief.

First and foremost, make sure your food is clearly marked with YOUR name. Fridge thieves will often come up with excuses such as they “didn’t know whose food it was” or “they thought it was it communal food.” You can eliminate these alibis by marking your food with your name. Don’t just write your name across the top, but rather write it several times on your food and food containers. You don’t want anyone to question who’s the rightful owner of that food, so leave your John Hancock several times.

Of course, you should try catching the fridge thief in the act. Perhaps you can recruit some coworkers to serve as your eyes and ears when you are unable to watch the refrigerator. Once you’ve identified the culprit, confront him or her and demand they stop stealing your food. Most fridge thieves know what they are doing is wrong, so this should be an easy-to-win argument on your behalf.

You could also scare the fridge thief away by placing a fake rubber snake or spider on top of your food. When he or she reaches inside the refrigerator to steal your food, they’ll get an unwelcome surprise. Hopefully, that will be enough to deter the fridge thief in the future.

There’s nothing wrong with a good-hearted prank to keep the office fridge thief away, but you should refrain from going too far. Adding hot sauce or other ingredients to your food, for instance, isn’t exactly smart, as it could trigger an allergic reaction when consumed. Stick with safe, good-hearted pranks like the fake spider or snake.