The Case of the Stolen Lunch

The Case of the Stolen Lunch

Like a lot of people, my office has a small break room with a kitchen area – some cabinets, a microwave, coffee machine, and fridge. The line for the microwave is always endless – I am amazed at what people bring in to work to heat up for lunch. Not just a frozen meal or some leftovers in Tupperware, but elaborate things in casserole dishes requiring three or four separate components to be heated in a complex ritual. I’ve seen people spend fifteen minutes using the microwave in order to make their incredible lunches like they’re a chef in a food truck while the rest of us gnaw on our fingers out of desperate hunger.

So, I gave up on the microwave lifestyle and started brown-bagging a sandwich. I make a mean sandwich. I prepare everything the night before, and I figure you only live once, so if I’m going to eat a sandwich at my desk in lieu of living, it’s going to be an amazing sandwich. Which they are. Just ask whoever it is that stole every other one from me.

My third day brown-bagging it, I pluck my paper bag – with my name written on it clearly – from the fridge, frown at its lightness, and open it to discover just my apple and bag of crisps. Fighting the urge to do a full-on action-film NOOOOOOOoooooooo! scream to the heavens, I grit my teeth, wrote a nasty note to affix to the fridge door, and went out into the rain to procure someone else’s sandwich, which was terrible. This happened a few more times. I put notes in my bag, I complained to HR, I tried to keep my eye on the Break Room. Finally, I got serious and purchased a pink Medium Lunch Tote Bag from the Clear Bag Store. I placed my lunch in it, then sent an email to everyone in the office with a picture of the bag: IF THIS BAG IS EMPTY, CALL ME! with my extension.

My idea was that at least I’d know when my lunch was being stolen. And the plan worked, because three days later I got an email from someone at 10:45 in the morning saying they’d just opened the fridge to get some milk for their coffee and the bag had been raided. I started investigating, and it took less than ten minutes to discover that just one person – the Intern, seventeen years old and skinny as a rail – had been in there before her. He even had crumbs from my excellent brioche all over him.

Since then, I have fallen in love with my pink clear lunch bag. Mustard spill? Easy to clean. When packing up in the morning, a glance tells me if I’ve forgotten a pickle or (sometimes) the actual sandwich. And I no longer fear lunch theft, and only partially because the Intern was summarily dismissed.

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