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Heroic IT Dept Less Likely to Steal... Lunches?

CmdrTaco posted more than 8 years ago | from the wow-august-is-boring dept.


An anonymous reader writes "According to an article in the Houston Chronicle concerning lunch theft, people from IT are least likely to steal lunches because they are a "hero department." The most likely? Accounting and Customer-Support... "

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muffins (5, Interesting)

legoburner (702695) | more than 8 years ago | (#15989644)

In the book 'Freakonomics' there is a study about a man who used to drop off muffin baskets with a box to put a dollar in for each muffin that was taken. He kept very precise statistics for years in different white-collar offices about where he put the basket, how much money went in and so forth. The results are basically that the lower down in the office rank someone is, the less likely they are to steal and the higher up, the more theft occurs with CEOs and other top-floor executives being by far the worst. They put it down to a sense of entitlement in the execs and the invisibility of the crime relative to stealing from a muffin shop amongst other reasons.

Also... (4, Funny)

Poromenos1 (830658) | more than 8 years ago | (#15989697)

Also because the higher-ups are used to stealing!

Thank you, I'll be here for a bit.

Re:muffins (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15989720)

I believe it was bagels rather than muffins. One of the interesting things was whether the higher-ups steal because they're high up or whether the higher-ups became high-up because they steal. It was also found that people in all departments are more likely to steal around holidays than other times of the year.

Re:muffins (5, Interesting)

arth1 (260657) | more than 8 years ago | (#15989774)

I know from running an IT department that there's a correlation between how much someone gets paid and how unlikely he is to return work items like phones, laptops and calculators upon quitting or retirement. (Note that I said correlation and not reverse correlation.)

My theory is that scruples will hinder people's career advancement, and the more unscrupulous you are, the higher you'll go. Being able to steal a hungry baby's food without any remorse would probably be considered a useful trait for a CFO.


Re:muffins (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15989806)


Mr Burns from the Simpsons likes to steal childrens' candy :)

Now we know why.

Re:muffins (4, Funny)

foniksonik (573572) | more than 8 years ago | (#15989882)

That's cause a hungry baby has lots of supporters waiting nearby to feed it with their own portion rather than see it go hungry, whereas the CFO has little or no supporters and must fend for himself or die.

Re:muffins (5, Insightful)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 8 years ago | (#15990080)

No, it's because that CFO is a sociopath who is incapable of empathy, or feeling remorse or guilt. Most organizational hierarchies (whether they be corporate, military, governmental, academic, you name it) tend to select for the most unscrupulous, because those are the people that focus on moving up the pay scale rather than doing their jobs. They are also very hard to spot, because an experienced sociopath learns the behaviors that will get it what it wants (they're exceptional actors for the most part.) The only reason that such organizations function well is if there are efficient mechanisms in place to discourage bad behavior: sociopaths can do a good job if they know that they'll get bitch-slapped for screwing up. What's been happening to corporate America over the past few decades is the removal of penalties for failure. Except in extreme cases like Worldcom and Enron, there is simply no real punishment for a CEO/CFO, C-anything that raids the company coffers for personal profit or simply runs the company into the ground.

Another part of the problem is that the laws and systems that provide corporate governance were put in place a long time ago. The country and its people had a very different view of ethics and morality in those times. I mean, where do CEO's and the like come from? Who are the people that invest money in their companies? Well, they come from us, and our own moral fiber (or lack of it) is being reflected in the nature and behavior of the corporations we invest in.

It's like the old joke about corporations being like septic tanks ... the really big chunks rise to the top.

Re:muffins (5, Insightful)

TCQuad (537187) | more than 8 years ago | (#15990007)

You might be over-extrapolating. Work items are a set cost, but to each person, the value is variable.

Let's say you give two people $2,000 in equipment (laptop, phone, accessories, whatever). Someone making $20,000 could never afford all that stuff on their own, so they're likely to view it as valuable. Someone making $200,000 could afford it and is probably less likely to consider its intrinsic value. Someone making $2,000,000 probably scoffs at anyone ever being able to use such low-end tools.

Price is fixed; value is not. As such, the appearance of scruples might vary. To account for this, it would be required to compare items of equal relative value to each person. Are the odds of someone making high six-figures not returning a laptop equal to the odds of interns making low-five figures not returning office supplies?

Re:muffins (1, Redundant)

Stopher2475 (780930) | more than 8 years ago | (#15990109)

So are you saying the more you make, the more likely you are to steal something like a laptop or a phone because to your income it really isn't that big of a deal?
I guess in a way that makes sense b/c to someone making 30 million a year a 2000 dollar laptop is equivalent to the mints at the counter of the chinese food restuarunt.

Re:muffins (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15990078)

As someone who doesn't like to return phones or laptops or whatnot when I leave a company, I'd like to offer a better reason:

Life's too short.

It's that simple. When I was younger (and consequently less paid), I used to try to keep my home and work stuff separate. But when I'd get to a new company, I'd be given a new phone that didn't do what I wanted, a laptop that wasn't setup the way I liked, and I could spend months before I was finally using a setup that I was comfortable with and happy with.

Then somewhere along the way, I realised that this was a stupid waste of time. Noone's going to want my dirty old cellphone with my earwax and phone numbers in it. Noone's going to want the laptop that I used while working through lunch for a year or two. They're almost certainly going to get sold off at some employee auction where the funds go to united way after they sit on a shelf for a year or two waiting to finally depreciate off of the books.

Now when I get hired, I make sure that it's included in my contract that I have the right to purchase any equipment assigned to me at book value when I leave. That way I'm happy when I go that I still have the tools that I need, and the company doesn't need to hang on to some asset.

Re:muffins (3, Insightful)

perkr (626584) | more than 8 years ago | (#15989837)

How about if you are high up in the food chain you perceive the "crime" as something completely insignificant in comparison to the high-impact decisions you are paid to make. Something like people don't care if they steal a pen from the office, if you're high up, not returning a laptop kinda falls into the same category.

Re:muffins (0, Offtopic)

notoriousE (723905) | more than 8 years ago | (#15989948)

no i think it was Mel Gibson that provided the bagels: Mel Gibson Bagels []

Re:muffins (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15989760)

It was actually Bagels, but yeah. I don't think top floor executives and CEOs even eat muffins, which is why they are where they are.

Re:muffins (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15989764)

I think it's because low level people are afraid they'll get caught and fired.

Top execs know they aren't going to get fired for something stupid like that.

Makes sense - extra burden of trust (5, Interesting)

ishmalius (153450) | more than 8 years ago | (#15989810)

An IT guy is always skulking around the office (as far as non-techies are concerned), and messing with other people's desks and computers. So he has the burden of being not just scrupulous and honest, but obviously so. He can't risk all of the goodwill and trust he so badly needs, merely for a single bite of a stale and badly made sandwich. Now, corned beef on a bagel is another matter. ^^

Re:muffins (2, Insightful)

Reality Master 101 (179095) | more than 8 years ago | (#15990062)

All the envious "higher ups get there because they steal ha ha ha" comments aside, I think there's a simpler explanation. The more money you make, the smaller the theft seems. A buck to someone making a million a year is not the same as someone who has to watch every dollar and appreciates it.

Or to put it another way, a more interesting experiment would be to put a penny candy jar out. A penny is nothing to everyone, so I would expect the rates of theft to much closer to the same.

Steal? (1)

Quasar1999 (520073) | more than 8 years ago | (#15989652)

Why the hell would we steal brown bag lunches? Now if it was some sort of fast food... we'd be all over it...

Re:Steal? (2, Funny)

bensafrickingenius (828123) | more than 8 years ago | (#15989666)

We're supposed to pay $0.25 per cup for coffee at work. I only pay for maybe 1 cup in 20. Of course, I guess I can be hero, because I'm stealing from The Man and not my coworkers, right?

Re:Steal? (1)

despisethesun (880261) | more than 8 years ago | (#15989788)

At least your company provides coffee, even if you have to pay for it. The company I work for is so cheap I had to bring in my own coffee pot, grounds, and filters.

Re:Steal? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15989842)

My employer provides coffee with one of these [] machines. Well, actually, we have 12 of them spread across the floors to service about 400 people.

The machines are awesome and they have a decent selection of choices.

Re:Steal? (5, Funny)

Millenniumman (924859) | more than 8 years ago | (#15989865)

Oh yeah? I have to grow the coffee myself, then pick it. Then I grind it with a stone, put it in a bowl (hewn from stone) with water (reclaimed from the air and heated on servers) and I filter it with old AC filters. Then coworkers usually steal the coffee.

You had water?!? (4, Funny)

A nonymous Coward (7548) | more than 8 years ago | (#15989934)

Back in my day, we had to smash hydrogen and oxygen atoms together to make our own water. Then some high mucketity-muck would come along and steal it. We tried substituting deuterium and tritium instead of hydrogen but they never did steal enough to self-destruct.

Re:You had water?!? (4, Funny)

dvice_null (981029) | more than 8 years ago | (#15990034)

You had oxygen?!

Re:Steal? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15989951)

Your suffering is what makes it taste so sweet.

Re:Steal? (1) (899244) | more than 8 years ago | (#15989945)

Show your employer the numerous studies on the cost savings and good will generated by providing free drinks.

Re:Steal? (1)

Peyna (14792) | more than 8 years ago | (#15989856)

So you're the bastard that hasn't been paying for coffee. By the way, you ARE stealing from your co-workers, because we're the ones who buy the coffee.

Re:Steal? (1)

Takumi2501 (728347) | more than 8 years ago | (#15989976)

Every morning where I work someone makes a coffee run. Sometimes I'm not at my desk so I just leave a small box there with some cash. They know what to get me and just take the money from the box. Nobody's ever stolen from that box.

...but then again, I work for a small company where everybody knows everybody. That's probably a factor.

Re:Steal? (5, Interesting)

Erectile Dysfunction (994340) | more than 8 years ago | (#15990052)

On the side of the road is a vegetable stand. No one is there to attend to it, but there is a box and a sign with prices for the merchandise. In the box there will typically be at least thirty dollars and the stand itself is full of vegetables. No one has ever taken the box or the vegetables. All it would take is one unscrupulous person to stop and take the money and/or vegetables, yet it never happens. The stand earns a good sum and everyone has a convenient place to stop and purchase fresh local produce. An interesting question is whether this would change if instead of a local person this was conducted by Walmart. If Walmart left stands on the side of the road with produce, would people pay for what they took, or would they loot the stands?

Slow news day? (0, Redundant)

wed128 (722152) | more than 8 years ago | (#15989654)

This article... it's pretty useless.

Re:Slow news day? (1, Redundant)

Atzanteol (99067) | more than 8 years ago | (#15989708)

Just like your comment...

Re:Slow news day? (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15989719)

wed128 (722152) wrote:
This article... it's pretty useless.

And your comment isn't?

Re:Slow news day? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15989798)

Enron was in Houston, so maybe it's just another indicator of the mentality of the accounting types that live and work there.

What kind of lunch? (4, Funny)

PhrostyMcByte (589271) | more than 8 years ago | (#15989658)

If you want the IT guys to steal lunch, you've got to bait them with something caffeinated and something sugary. Try some Bawls, Mt. Dew, and Skittles.

Fishing for IT guys (1)

Chasa (998060) | more than 8 years ago | (#15989795)

Ah yes, with the right bait you can get a bite as soon as you cast your line. Just be carefull when reeling them in or else their break your line with their usb drives.

Real reason (2, Interesting)

booch (4157) | more than 8 years ago | (#15989930)

I think you're on the right track. I think the real reason IT people don't steal other people's lunches is that they are more picky about what they eat than any other group. And I don't mean healthy choices, just that they're more likely to dislike a large variety of foods.

Re:What kind of lunch? (1)

DaveM753 (844913) | more than 8 years ago | (#15989972)

> ...Try some Bawls, Mt. Dew, and Skittles.

Put all of the above into a blender....MMMmmmmmmmmm!

/.ed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15989669)

Try the cache: business/sixel/4137785.html

Re:/.ed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15989693)

The Houston Chronicle is a major newspaper. A Slashdotting is weak compared to the traffic they get every day.

The article loads almost instantaneously for me.

Unfortunately.... (2, Funny)

arth1 (260657) | more than 8 years ago | (#15989679)

Unfortunately, I'm certain that if I made a special lunch sandwich with razorblades, and some bastard stole it and hurt himself, the police would come after me.

What I really want to know is who the fucker is who deliberately pees all over the toilet seat and floor at work. I know people might hate their job and feel frustration, but is there any reason to take it out on everybody else?


Re:Unfortunately.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15989703)

Maybe they hate their job because of their co-workers?

Seriously though the fucking up your own bathroom thing is pretty lame, especially at a white collar level.

This ain't the boys bathroom in highschool. Vandalizing it just makes work suck more.

Re:Unfortunately.... (4, Insightful)

LiquidCoooled (634315) | more than 8 years ago | (#15989776)

But if you had a bad stomach and added laxatives to your lunch *for your own consumption* it wouldn't be your problem.

Re:Unfortunately.... (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15989982)

His name is Jerry. He's a sales guy.

(I'm serious, we have, sadly enough, witnesses.)

Re:Unfortunately.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15990006)

I used to work for a certain large insurance agency (Hint: Good Hands) and we had some guy that would literally fill the toilet in the handicap stall (the big one that everyone wanted to use) with a mound of toilet paper. It was a least a whole roll of TP wadded into a mini mountain. We started taking notice of who went to the bathroom and if they used that stall so we could go back and check after they left to see who it was. We never caught him though, slick bastard.

Re:Unfortunately.... (3, Informative)

Shadow99_1 (86250) | more than 8 years ago | (#15990020)

When I worked retail customers often purposefully pissed on toilet seats, or worse spread crap on the walls... Why someone would want to I never could understand... We were one of the nicest stores within a good 50 miles with some of the best customer service... Why (literally) piss on us...?

Re:Unfortunately.... (1)

John Courtland (585609) | more than 8 years ago | (#15990091)

Somehow, we have a mystery pisser where I work that manages to pee on top of the urinal. Then someone else (or perhaps the same guy, I can't say) wipes their nose gold on the walls above that. Why?

Heard stories at work (4, Interesting)

mgkimsal2 (200677) | more than 8 years ago | (#15989689)

I've heard some stories at work of people having their lunches/food taken from the communal fridges. Personally, I find it very bizarre. I think I used someone's mustard by mistake once. Some people have their names on condiments, and I only noticed half the name left after I used some, as the name had been partially smudged off already. I felt bad enough about that. But just coming in and taking someone else's food? Really, I just can't imagine ever doing that. Perhaps there's some sort of boundary gene that certain people have which leads them in to paths like IT which can partially account for the groupings this article laid out? But maybe I'm just a picky eater! Honestly, it takes me forever to make a decision at a restaurant, usually where I can see pictures of the food ahead of time. To just somewhat randomly grab something and eat it has no appeal. To spend time rummaging around 10 different bags/boxes to find what I wanted seems even more intrusive and wrong than I could fathom...

Re:Heard stories at work (5, Interesting)

shayne321 (106803) | more than 8 years ago | (#15989838)

I was a victim of this, I find it just as bizarre as you. A couple of years back I met a friend at california pizza kitchen for lunch.. That day I only ate half my pizza, and brought the leftovers back to the office, thinking I'd stash them in the fridge and have lunch the following day. So the following day I arrive to work about 11:30am, and I walk in the break room and it smells of recently reheated pizza. I think "nah, no way" and head to my desk. About 2pm I head in for lunch, and sure enough 2 of the 3 slices that were in the CPK box are gone. I'm furious. Really mad. My name was plastered all over the box, it's not like it could have happened accidentally. So I figured the culprit would eventually return for the last slice since they enjoyed the first two so much. Time was limited, so I did the best thing I could come up with on short notice. I took the pizza to my desk, and looked in the janitor's closet for the nastiest industrial degreaser I could find. I took it back to my desk and REALLY soaked the pizza.. Sprayed it several times on the top and bottom over a period of half an hour so it'd REALLY get soaked in. My hope was the person wouldn't notice it until they took the first bite. So I stash the whole thing back in the fridge.. Sure enough, the following morning I find the CPK box in the trash, and sitting on top of it the last slice with a single bite taken out of it. Revenge never felt so sweet, and I never had anything else stolen from the kitchen. :) The bastard ruined my lunch, I felt pretty vindicated in ruining their snack.

Be careful with pranks like that (2, Interesting)

roystgnr (4015) | more than 8 years ago | (#15990085)

If you cause any serious illness, you can get your ass sued off, regardless of the fact that your "victim" shouldn't have been eating stolen pizza in the first place.

Did you ever see the movie "Home Alone"? In today's world, those burglars would end up making far more money from personal injury lawsuits than they ever could have stolen from one house.

Wait a minute... (5, Funny)

RealGrouchy (943109) | more than 8 years ago | (#15989701)

...are you saying that IT workers are allowed to eat lunches?

That changes everything...

- RG>

please, less science, more fluff (3, Funny)

MolecularBear (469572) | more than 8 years ago | (#15989706)

I am getting sick of all these incomprehensibly esoteric articles. I like science, but sometimes the posts on slashdot are just too technical for me. This article on stealing lunches is a case in point. The pages and pages of analyses, the incredibly detailed social models that they used to arrive at their conclusions, the dogs eating lunches... it's a bit much for the layperson to grasp in one sitting. Editors: could we please get something a little lighter next time?

Re:please, less science, more fluff (5, Funny)

AsmCoder8088 (745645) | more than 8 years ago | (#15989758)

Try digg if you want a watered-down version.

Re:please, less science, more fluff (1)

lee1026 (876806) | more than 8 years ago | (#15989800)

I was under the impression that we are supposed to be nerds around here. We pride ourselves on our abilitys to do this sort of stuff, remember?

Re:please, less science, more fluff (1)

MyLongNickName (822545) | more than 8 years ago | (#15989906)

We also pride ourselves on detecting sarcasm. Please cease logging on.

Re:please, less science, more fluff (1)

Lord_Dweomer (648696) | more than 8 years ago | (#15989814)

Relax, its the weekend, I know you were sarcastically hinting how um...fluffy this article was but its scientific articles should be reserved for the work week, when I can pursue them and their related materials/research and waste copious amounts of work time.

Re:please, less science, more fluff (1)

vga_init (589198) | more than 8 years ago | (#15990009)

Insightful? I think not. This is a well written humor article (and not very long, I might add). If this article is too "technical" for you, why don't you mosey on over to the BBC instead of sit here and complain?

Re:please, less science, more fluff (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15990039)

Insightful? I think not. This is a well written humor article (and not very long, I might add). If this article is too "technical" for you, why don't you mosey on over to the BBC instead of sit here and complain?


Your head.

Steal my lunch (5, Interesting)

MajorDick (735308) | more than 8 years ago | (#15989745)

I had someone stealing my lunch for quite some time, SO I took the advice of my boss, he was ex military his suggesion was cook a pack of exlax in brownies and put the brownie in my lunch.

I did

It was stolen

All I can do is assume it was eaten since my lunch was never stolen again.

NOW Before all the goddam whiners start barking about liablity, and poisioning and the like remmeber theis was MY lunch meant to be eaten or discarded my ME, and it was STOLEN.

Its sad I have to add that but it seems the kind of world we are in where all the know it alls have to bark up and say something they fell makes them look like they know something

THE ONLY THING thats important to know is that if you STEAL MY LUNCH YOU WILL SUFFER.

Re:Steal my lunch (1)

c0d3m4n (680120) | more than 8 years ago | (#15989813)

That makes you a hero in my book!

Re:Steal my lunch (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15989843)

Damn that makes you a MajorDick.

Re:Steal my lunch (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15989964)

Hah! You're one of the brown bag lifters, aren't you?

Re:Steal my lunch (1)

mikemcc (4795) | more than 8 years ago | (#15989849)

Kudos to you! To turn the shit who's stealing your food into an incontinent shit is excellent behavior modification.

Re:Steal my lunch (1)

Xugumad (39311) | more than 8 years ago | (#15989859)

> NOW Before all the goddam whiners start barking about liablity, and poisioning and the like remmeber theis was MY lunch meant to be eaten or discarded my ME, and it was STOLEN.

The answer, of course, is to make everyone (except lunch stealer) happy by sticking a label on it that says:

's lunch, DO NOT EAT

Re:Steal my lunch (1)

Xugumad (39311) | more than 8 years ago | (#15989871)

That should be <name>'s lunch, DO NOT EAT

Re:Steal my lunch (4, Interesting)

malkavian (9512) | more than 8 years ago | (#15989869)

Had the same thing as a student. So I set up a pack of chocolate digestives (replaced the choccie ones with standard digestives coated with ex lax). Morning after, I came down to find the biscuits gone.
On the walk in to Uni, I discovered who it was that had been stealing the biscuits. And no, he didn't make it to a lavatory in time.
My food was pretty much left alone after that.
The bit I found perplexing was that this chap was a hard core Christian (born again, I think). He was the last one I expected it to be..

Re:Steal my lunch (0, Flamebait)

Cadallin (863437) | more than 8 years ago | (#15989924)

Um, you find that suprising? Christians are generally the most self important fuckers on the planet. Much more likely to steal than anybody else.

Re:Steal my lunch (0, Troll)

giorgiofr (887762) | more than 8 years ago | (#15990017)

Ayup. They also beat children, the ones they do not eat that is, and also they like to FLAME LIKE MORONS. Oh no wait, that would be you.

Re:Steal my lunch (4, Interesting)

Dun Malg (230075) | more than 8 years ago | (#15989967)

The bit I found perplexing was that this chap was a hard core Christian (born again, I think). He was the last one I expected it to be..
A friend of mine works as a teacher at a private college and his observation is that the worst thieves (everything from simply stealing food to swiping scanners, computers, etc) are all kinda weirdo born-agains. His theory is that the greater someone's propensity towards immoral behavior, the greater likelihood that they'll seek some sort of organized system that in theory "forces" them to act morally. Just as one finds people with a hard-core capacity for drinking at an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting (which is all about NOT drinking), it's not at all illogical to expect to find people with a tendency towards immoral behavior attracted to a very strict religious organization.

Re:Steal my lunch (2, Interesting)

badfish99 (826052) | more than 8 years ago | (#15990071)

Another explanation may be that this sort of Christianity makes people think that they are morally superior to other people who are not "born again", and therefore they begin to feel (perhaps subconsciously) that other people do not matter. This would fit in with the observation that highly-paid managers are also more likely to steal, as they also regard themselves as superior.

Re:Steal my lunch (1)

symbolic (11752) | more than 8 years ago | (#15989971)

The bit I found perplexing was that this chap was a hard core Christian

I wonder if he still is....

And no, he didn't make it to a lavatory in time.

I mean, wouldn't you be praying for a miracle in a situation like that?

Re:Steal my lunch (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15989979)

Of all the people I've shared a house with, I've found professed Christians least likely to do the washing up.

Re:Steal my lunch (1)

Ash-Fox (726320) | more than 8 years ago | (#15990100)

On the walk in to Uni, I discovered who it was that had been stealing the biscuits. And no, he didn't make it to a lavatory in time.
My food was pretty much left alone after that.
The bit I found perplexing was that this chap was a hard core Christian (born again, I think). He was the last one I expected it to be..
Those biscuits were dark-sided [] !

There is a better way... (4, Informative)

ChePibe (882378) | more than 8 years ago | (#15989961)

To avoid any possible liability issues and the trouble of having to cook up ex-lax brownies, you could've just run to the store and picked up the hottest peppers you could find and soak just about everything in Jalapeños. That gets the message across immediately, and makes the culprit much easier to identify. If he complains, just say you like really spicy food.

Not that I've ever tried that or anything...

Re:Steal my lunch (1)

Silicon_Knight (66140) | more than 8 years ago | (#15990000)

I used to have a bowl of gumballs and dutch mints on my desk at college to help with late night studying. They'd disappear much quicker than anticipated - it was my roomie's friends, so it wasn't like I could just have a nice talk with my roommate about it.

One day I decided to fix the problem by replacing the bowl of mints with paintballs, before leaving for the weekend.

Came back Sunday night to find a chewed paintball split into a kleenix in my trash can. Never had a problem with candy theft after that!

- SK

Re:Steal my lunch (1)

evilviper (135110) | more than 8 years ago | (#15990036)

NOW Before all the goddam whiners start barking about liablity, and poisioning and the like remmeber theis was MY lunch meant to be eaten or discarded my ME, and it was STOLEN.

Just recently heard the story of a guy who rigged up a shotgun to his door, so it would fire if anyone broke-in while he was sleeping inside.

Now, of course, it was HIS house, meant to be entered by HIM.

When a burglar broke in, and was shot (not seriously) the guy who rigged it up was arrested, and charged with assault.

Just because you're upset, and you think punishing someone is justified, doesn't mean it's not going to result in you spending years in jail. You should be damn happy the person thought it was accidental, and you got away with it.

BTW, your nickname is quite apt.

Re:Steal my lunch (1)

AVryhof (142320) | more than 8 years ago | (#15990069)

That is a different case.

Most states have specific laws in place for when you can defend your home with lethal force [] (shooting with a deadly weapon) whereas adding laxitive (not a poison, etc) to your food is not covered and would be a simple civil case...which probably wouldn't amount to much in the end anyway.

If it came down to it he could have simply said he'd been blocked up lately and it was for his own health reasons.

Re:Steal my lunch (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15990057)

You could just use the scarecrow technique. Just put the brownies -- no exlax, no poison, just plain brownies -- in there and attach a sticker to them: "WARNING: one of this brownies contains cianide." I guess nobody would have the guts to try and guess if the warning was true.

Unfortunately, there is a countermeasure to it. Someone else could attach another label to your snack: "WARNING: there are now TWO brownies with cianide."

Hero department (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15989746)

What is a "Hero Department"?

Re:Hero department (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15989768)

The department most likely to eat hero sandwiches.

Re:Hero department (1)

RobertLTux (260313) | more than 8 years ago | (#15989969)

that would be the department that
1 seems to have the most wasteful buget
2 but can by quick action save the company big bucks
3 is also the most likely to be regularly "bribed" by the other departments since not doing so is a good way to get a visit by the BOFH hisself
(and at that point you might survive if you are lucky you will still have a job but....)

good practice for a company is to
Pay the "producers"
Pay your IT, security and accounting
pay the rest of the "staff"
pay the CxO types

in that order

Try working among civil-servants (4, Interesting)

kingsqueak (18917) | more than 8 years ago | (#15989748)

I worked in the public sector for a number of years.

You could bring in food in a Tupperware bowl, leftovers prepared by who knows who and handled in who knows what manner and people would actually eat it! The thought of eating anything left in a fridge by a stranger just makes me shudder.

The habits of civil-servants never ceased to amuse, a herd of animals is the best way I can describe it. Filthy, filthy people. Shameless.

They used to have to pay housekeeping extra so that the restrooms would be cleaned three or four times in an eight hour shift and they were still dirtier than the restrooms in Penn Station.

There has to be some sort of psychology that attracts people to government jobs. It would be an amazing study to do.

Re:Try working among civil-servants (1)

legojenn (462946) | more than 8 years ago | (#15989941)

That really must be a different government than the one I work in. Then again, you're probably just making stuff up. If anything, I find the communal fridges a cesspool because people put things in them and forget to take them out creating a primordial soup of half-finished lunches and leftovers from meetings. The washrooms, however, are clean.

BS JUST LOOK AT IT (-1, Troll)

Crashmarik (635988) | more than 8 years ago | (#15989766)

You know they have to be snatching up any food that isnt allready in somebodys mouth.

My guess is somebody in the papers IT dept saw the article and changed it before it got to the printer

It's worse than we feared (1)

Demona (7994) | more than 8 years ago | (#15989811)

/. is stealing headlines from Lew Rockwell [] .

Accounting lunch theft... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15989812)

This reminds me of 1988 at Liberty Mutual, where we had a big problem with lunch theft. Of course, it was in an accounting department (go figure).

I was tempted to make Ex-Lax brownies and stick them in there, to make it worth their while!

I don't get the psychology of this - but then, some of those accountant types are strange.

Size matters (3, Insightful)

imaginaryelf (862886) | more than 8 years ago | (#15989850)

The size of the company matters. I've been in very small and very large companies. In the smaller companies, there's a feeling of camaraderie - like we're all in this together - so there's almost no stealing. In a large company, things disappear if you don't lock it down.

Ick. (3, Interesting)

sulli (195030) | more than 8 years ago | (#15989879)

Who steals the lunches in the office fridge? You have NO idea what's there or how long it's been there!

Re:Ick. (1)

Dun Malg (230075) | more than 8 years ago | (#15989984)

Who steals the lunches in the office fridge? You have NO idea what's there or how long it's been there!
When I worked at a university, we had to put a lock on the fridge to keep students from stealing our food. Seriously, students will steal anything that's not nailed down. This is understandable as most students live in absurd poverty. I just figure that some people come out of college and never recover from that experience, doomed forever to steal leftovers by their insane compulsion.

Re:Ick. (1)

Erectile Dysfunction (994340) | more than 8 years ago | (#15990094)

Students don't live in absurd poverty. Their meals and lodging are typically guaranteed to them as part of the meal and housing plans that they have taken loans to pre-pay for. In some hardship cases they may have a higher immediate burden to avoid the use of credit, but honestly someone supporting a family of three while working a minimum wage job lives in far more poverty and that still pales in comparison to real poverty. Students in college are adult children, and many children have developed entitlement problems stemming from having everything in their lives provided to them by their parents. People that continue to take from others simply don't care that their actions harm others, and simply take because they can. This may be due to sociopathy or it may simply be the result of a lack of negative responses to their actions in the past.

I confess to using the cat food trick too... (3, Funny)

Ritz_Just_Ritz (883997) | more than 8 years ago | (#15989891)

Some jackass kept stealing my tuna sandwich...I mean once in a while would still be annoying, but EVERY damn time was just an open declaration of war. So I made a big fat tuna sandwich with a healthy amount of "FancyFeast". I used chicken and liver flavor to make sure the point got across. So in the fridge it goes and I came back an hour or two later and it was gone. The next morning, I found an anonymous post-it note on the door of the fridge asking people to please discard "old and potentially rancid" food from the refigerator since it was a "health hazard."

Since then, my sandwich has been safe. Nobody ever owned up to the thefts or the note. :)

Re:I confess to using the cat food trick too... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15989932)

You should have stuck a reply note on the door asking the thief if they enjoyed the shit and dried semen you'd been adding into their sandwiches. Win!

Re:I confess to using the cat food trick too... (1)

digitalhermit (113459) | more than 8 years ago | (#15990063)

I dunno... I like the idea of doing something really disgusting involving 6-legged critters to the food and not saying a word when it gets stolen. I'd walk around the office smiling that day... I could see it: people would ask me why I sit in front of the computer and every once in a while let out a loud chuckle or snicker. I'd go to random people and ask, "Did you enjoy your lunch?" then laugh softly and evilly to myself. "How was the macaroni?" "That salad looks good. What's in it?" "Interesting - crunchy cottage cheese."

WTF? (-1, Troll)

evilviper (135110) | more than 8 years ago | (#15989920)

So which department is most likely to steal a lunch?

Accounting, Buffini said, drawing on his experience with personality traits at work.

Well, I guess if the Buffini believes it, it must be true.

Dear /. editors,

    There is a TON of crap on the web that just happens to mention IT in one way or another. That doesn't mean you have to post it all here. I want that 2 minutes of my life back.

Dye... (3, Funny)

HairyCanary (688865) | more than 8 years ago | (#15989958)

After the last time my lunch was stolen out of the break room fridge, I thought that perhaps next time I would put in a bit of bait food that was laced with blue dye. Food coloring, of course, so it would be harmless. Then for the next couple of days at work we could all easily identify the lunch thief by the blue stains around his mouth. LOL.

Haven't tried it yet, though.

IT people don't steal lunches because... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15989966)

...we wouldn't have time to eat them!

The hours most people spend eating lunch, we spend fixing the idle computers of VIP/PHBs who we can't just kick off their computers to fix them at any other time.

How lets somebody steal his lunch? (3, Insightful)

JensR (12975) | more than 8 years ago | (#15990008)

Sorry, but I don't understand it at all how somebody can have his lunch regularly stolen. I'd let this happen once, assuming it was an accident. But if my lunch disappeared regularly I'd raise a major stink: Post-Its on the fridge, memos, speak with HR, etc. And I'd find out who it was, and have a "word" with him before reporting him to HR.

I can believe it... (1)

NerveGas (168686) | more than 8 years ago | (#15990011)

Back when I worked tech support (more than a decade ago), you did *NOT* leave your lunch in the fridge. If you did, it wasn't even worth looking for at lunchtime.


Thoughts of revenge (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15990059)

I guess one passive aggressive thing someone could do is as follows.

Go to McDonald's at the middle of the night.
Order some food, like a Big Mac.
Say you're going to pay in pennies, and you need help counting them out (while ordering the food).
Save that food for the next day.

Mr Yuk the Lunch Guardian (4, Interesting)

NetFusion (86828) | more than 8 years ago | (#15990067)

I use to have this problem till I discovered Mr Yuk [] .

Now I just put the Mr Yuk on my cans and lunch bags and noone dares touch them in the staff fridge.

Egg salad sabatoge (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15990081)

At a large company where I worked, there was a brief scourge of refrigerator theft. My boss, the IT Director, even found that someone had opened her shrimp salad, ate the shrimp off of it, and placed the remaining salad back in the fridge.

Those who brought lunches regularly started making egg salad, chicken salad, and pretty much any other lunch food with egg/mayonaise in it. Only, they would "accidentally" leave it out overnight instead of keeping it refridgerated before bringing it to work.

After a week of that, I heard that the lunch theft seemed to die down quite a bit.

Who took my damn pizza!?! (1)

RingDev (879105) | more than 8 years ago | (#15990107)

I'm prepping for a major deployment, the capstone of my BSIT degree, 2 papers, 3 final projects, my grand mothers funeral, and some ass hat walked off with my left over pizza. Pop-tarts for lunch again.

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