It always sucks to have a coworker steal your lunch, but it's even worse when the lunch thief just. Won't. Stop. Doing. It! Sick and tired of their coworker's thieving ways, these clever workers devised the perfect trap to not only out the thief but also to make them sorry they ever laid eyes on that lunch in the first place.
"A lady loved her homemade brownies and brought one in her lunch every day. Someone noticed, and her brownie started going missing --- just occasionally at first, but eventually escalated to the brownie being stolen every work day. Not her entire lunch, just the brownie.
Her workplace was a small factory that required employees to submit to pee testing on demand. So, she started baking a small amount of a certain substance into the brownies, but not enough to be noticed when eating. After three weeks or so, she tipped off HR about rumors of dealing happening on factory property, prompting HR to order a company-wide pee test for all employees.
Only one guy got fired for a positive test, and her brownies were never stolen again."
"When this has happened to me in the past, I've EMBRACED the event!
I would write MY NAME on my can soda and open the top JUST ENOUGH so I could squirt about a tablespoon of castor oil into MY COKE, and put it into my lunch bag, along with my 'cracker spread' in a throwaway plastic container and crackers. HEY! DON'T KNOCK IT! Some people may like cat food for a cracker spread! I would also use the 'cracker spread' to makes a sandwich. I also liked 'beef stew' (canned dog food) in a throwaway plastic container. With crackers on the side, of course. I also had whatever I was going to eat in the same bag. It was amazing how quick people stopped eating my lunch."
"I had a Gunnery Sergeant in the Marines that was having his lunch violated every couple of days. Someone would go to the office refrigerator and take one bite of his sandwich and put it back. When gunny would open his lunch, he would get furious. Since it didn't happen every day, and the refrigerator was in a back room all the way on the other side of the office, it was difficult to determine who it might be.
He suspected a few people but never told his suspicions or his plan to anyone. Instead after a few times, Gunny put what appeared to be his regular lunch in the refrigerator but carried his real lunch in a small cooler and kept it under his desk. About a week later, he was laughing at his desk and let us all in on the joke. He had made his normal sandwich, but instead of mustard, he used yellow spray paint on the bread. He planted the 'lunch' and checked it daily until someone finally got a mouthful of yellow spray paint. There was the sandwich with a single bite taken out. No one ever admitted to the crime.
His lunch was never messed with again."
"I worked at a law firm with a lunch thief. Everyone suspected various attorneys (I was a paralegal at the time). Since we had such a busy floor (litigation department), it was difficult to ascertain who it might be. We asked someone in IT to set up a webcam in the break-room (really just a fridge, coffee station, and a copier). Within two days, we had the thief on camera,
All the victims, basically everyone on the floor who had brought lunch, filled out an order from a place that catered and sent it via interoffice mail to the culprit (a senior associate) with stills from the webcam. The note with the photos said, 'Pay up or we send the entire footage of the 45-second webcam theft to the management committee.'
He ordered the lunches and the thefts ended right then and there."
"I can't claim ownership of this, but I can relay a story my cousin told me, he has a hugely inventive and twisted sense of humor so from him, I believe it.
He was the store manager of a branch of large consumer electronics chain (think the UK version of Best Buy).
In October, he took in a large batch of new hires to be trained up for the madness of December and January and, shortly after that, his lunch would go missing. It wasn't just a sandwich, it was a meal he could heat up in the microwave. Each day his empty food container would be washed and left on the drainer in the staff canteen.
He knew it was a full-timer as the food disappeared every day. After a week of this and being righteously ticked off, he took action.
He started putting an anti-diarrhea medication in the food and leaving it out, increasing the dose over the course of a working week. Whoever was taking the food wasn't going to be taking a poop anytime soon. On the final day of the working week (Saturday- the busiest day) he again left his food out, but this time there was a huge dose of laxative in the food.
I'm sure you can all imagine the devastation wreaked when a week's worth of excreta is evacuated in one go.
Having embarrassed himself and ruined both his clothes and his car upholstery, the culprit then had to face the task of finding another job."
"So I'm a bit of a chili head. Love my hot sauces. I also love to cook and I cook my wife a delicious lunch each day. She kept complaining that someone was stealing her lunch every couple of days out of the fridge at work. So I made her some buffalo wings for lunch to put in the fridge, they are really popular with her colleagues, but I spiced them up, just a little, with some Blair's 4am Reserve. I should note that you are meant to dilute it with 1 drop per 5 liters of liquid. So I added a couple of drops of Blair's 4am Reserve per wing with nice dusting of Ghost chili powder for good measure. I did eat a couple to make sure it didn't kill anybody, they were really hot. Even cream doesn't cut the heat and Ghost chillies keep getting hotter for about 5 minutes. Needless to say, just before lunch, there was a shrill from the kitchen. A young, male colleague decided to help himself to my wife's lunch, which was clearly marked with her name. He ran to the toilet and vomited over and over. Apparently, the moans sounded like he was dying. My wife just sat there, innocently pretending nothing was wrong. Needless to say, she has not lost a single lunch since."
"Many years ago, someone started stealing the candy bars out of my lunch bag at work. So I took a Snickers bar, opened it from one side and then carefully cut a hole in the bottom, saving the chocolate to cover up the hole. INSIDE the hole, which was about the size of a pencil eraser, I packed it with finely ground black pepper, then put the chocolate 'lid' back over the hole. Sealed it back in the bag so it looked fine. I was laughing during the entire 'operation.' Put it in my lunch bag and put it in the fridge for someone to steal. I'd like to tell you I found out who the thief was, but I never got the pleasure [directly anyway]. But I can tell you that they got a serious surprise and a valuable life lesson. After that, no one touched my lunch. Still makes me chuckle and this happened back in 1996."
AS Food studio/Shutterstock
"My friend is known for making the most delicious adobo, a meat-based Filipino dish; unfortunately when he took his lunch from the fridge and nuked it in the microwave, he noticed that someone had been stealing half of it. After a couple of incidents like this, he decided to take action.
Instead of chicken, he made adobo out of frog's legs. He made sure that he got relatively large legs and made them appear to look like small chicken drumsticks and cooked them the usual way.
He put them in the fridge and waited.
Sure enough, someone stole a few pieces, and during lunch, he mentioned, in passing, that he cooked frog's legs for his adobo. One of his co-workers suddenly rose from a nearby table and dashed out of the lunchroom.
Needless to say, nobody stole from my friend's lunch again."
"I used to work on cruise ships as a photo lab technician. This is the guy who developed the negatives and printed all the photos.
On the gala night, I used to work all night long, sometimes until 0400 (that's 4 AM for 'Murica folks) having to deal with two huge Noritsu minilabs beeping all the time, asking for paper, water, new chemical or to dump some waste.
As you may (or may not) be aware, crew eating and drinking facilities (AKA 'messrooms') were closed during night hours, as well as the crew bar, where we could buy not only cold ones, but also some refreshments (including water). So, if you are desperately thirsty during your watch, like I was regularly, working on a dry environment at 32º Celsius for six hours, either you suck it up or you drink from the faucet which I STRONGLY discourage. To make things worse, not all ships offer fresh water fountains for passengers, let alone crew members.
For the above reasons, I've got a concealed fridge installed on my photo lab by an honorable gentleman in exchange for a couple hundred photos. Later on, my manager discovered the fridge and took the situation up the command chain til the staff captain who, since then, stopped by regularly to borrow some brewskis. A very fine guy, but I'm getting off the point here.
It turns out that, since the last photo team rotation (as a flippin' Brazilian, I had to serve about 8-10 months onboard, while European folks did something like 6-7 months, so I've seen many full team rotations in five years), my water bottles started to disappear from my fridge. Later, I discovered that the manager told the team the location of said implement, causing everybody to zero on it to quench their thirst. One day, I got fed up and, using a very thin needle, injected a couple of still sealed water bottles with a very strong laxative and wrote down on them, 'PLEASE DO NOT DRINK. LAB TECHNICIAN WATER.'
The next day I was summoned to staff captain's office, charged with 'battery' and 'reckless conduct' by my manager. It turns out, I managed to put all the team down to sickbay due to severe diarrhea, manager included.
After I explained my situation to that fine officer, he threw away the warning I was about to sign and said: 'Let them bleed their butts out. Can I knock tonight for a cold one?'"
"There used to be a guy who would steal my energy drinks from the walk-in cooler. When called on it, he would insist he was drinking his own, and unfortunately, there was no way to prove otherwise because he did indeed frequently bring energy drinks to work.
No way to prove it, that is, until I started taking a Sharpie and writing the words 'STOLEN FROM RIK' on the bottoms of my cans. So now, if he was drinking mine, everybody could see it every time he lifted the can to his lips.
Heh heh heh..."
"Well, this was actually accidental, but it did solve my lunch theft. It was kind of a serious problem, the theft, because I worked 3 to 11 pm in a hospital that closed the cafeteria at 5, and we were on the far end of campus in any case. There were no vending machines, and ordering in was beyond my means.
So, I brought some leftover salmon, made into a sandwich, and stored it not in the fridge, but in my work area (forbidden). When I took my break, my coworker begged me not to eat that fish, she was certain it was spoilt. So I made do with the rest. When I got back to my area, roars of protest met me about the smell of the fish. The plastic wrap, once opened, wasn't doing its job. Someone snatched the bag from me and said she was putting it in the freezer so it didn't stink us out.
When I got ready to go, EVERYONE reminded me to take that fish out of the unit. But it was gone. Next day, the highest paid person who worked there was out with violent food poisoning. I was questioned, but all my coworkers backed me up, thankfully, and it was a union position. Never lost so much as a grape again.
You have to think just how entitled you have to be to have a nurse questioned because 'I stole her lunch and it made me sick.'"
"I had lunch theft issues in two former jobs.
Job 1: Working in the bundling room of the local newspaper, I was one of many who lost lunches. After brainstorming, two of the line leads (both Vietnam combat vets) determined that the common denominator was Subway sandwiches. Money was pooled, a deluxe sandwich purchased, and a full, largest size box of laxatives was mixed into the mayo. Lo and behold, about two hours after lunch, one of the temps bolted off the line and made a beeline for the latrine, doing the Georgia high-step while simultaneously trying to stem the tide by holding his butt shut! When he emerged from the latrine, the line leads were there to take him off the property!
Job 2: Working in a plastics factory, we had lunch thieves and soda thieves. The lunch thief was caught, got beaten up and fired. The soda thief was bold enough to steal the shift supervisor's half empty, 2-liter of Mountain Dew. This happened several times, and when the supervisor had had it with the theft, he took action. He took that night's half empty 2-liter, peed in it to fill it back up, then capped it and stuck it in the fridge. Nobody called in sick or quit the job suddenly, but the thefts sure stopped!"
"I didn't get to see the shenanigans, but I was told by a supervisor that watched the entire thing happen.
There was a guy in our building that was a notorious food thief. We will call him 'Jim' for simplicity sake. Jim did not care. He would eat any food that was in the fridge regardless of name, comment, or warning that was on the food. It was bad. It happened for a couple years with Jim and despite warnings and letters in his file, he would not stop. We work somewhere hard to get fired from unless you break the law most of the time.
One day, a coworker of his snapped. This co-worker, we will call 'Bill,' decided he was going to fix the problem. Bill went to McDonald's and bought a couple cheeseburgers. He promptly left those burgers in his car for a week or so. Bill made all efforts to put every warning on the bag, saying that no one was to touch it, it was his and put it in the fridge.
The day after he put the bag with the burgers in the fridge, Jim decided it was his and he was free to eat it. Jim ate the two burgers and didn't say a thing. About an hour later, Jim mentioned he didn't feel great. A few minutes after that, he was in the bathroom. They took him to the hospital after a couple minutes in the bathroom.
Three or four days later, Jim came back to work after taking a few days off. Jim got very upset with Bill and confronted him in the break room. Come to find out they had to pump Jim's stomach. Jim was furious and so was Bill. The supervisor over both of their boss came in and Jim tried to pull him into the argument. The head supervisor just told him calmly that he should probably stop eating things he didn't bring."
"This happened several years back at one of the first jobs I had after college. What was really strange is it was supposed to be a pretty professional workplace, but the lunch stealing was kind of the first sign that the company wasn't that professionally run after all. Not looking to malign anyone, but understanding it was an office where there are sketchy things going on makes the story make more sense.
A fairly new hire in the office was allergic to many food items: nuts, wheat, etc. So, he brought a lunch every day. Many of us would eat out, but he couldn't because of the risk of an allergic reaction. After a few weeks of his starting, he starts to complain that someone was eating his lunch. He takes it to HR. They ignore him and tell him to keep his lunch at his desk. He says he can't do that because it had ingredients that spoil. For weeks, he goes hungry for lunch.
Then he finally complains to me about it. I'm just a junior level person, but I'm young, pretentious, and clever too. I tell him to start putting notes in his lunch box. Unfortunately for him, he listens to me. We end to both getting a talking to by HR, but he never had lunch touched again. Apparently, the thief had freaked out and told HR she had to go to the doctor and get checked out.
The note I told him to leave in there was:
'I'm glad you enjoyed my sandwich last time. I just wanted to let you know it had a special sauce. I'll let your imagination figure out what it is. Just kidding. I'll spare your imagination. It was junk gunk.'"
"I worked in the operating room and each day there were two dozen donuts (Krispy Kreme, for those in the US) delivered to the physician's lounge. Yes, there was a lounge only for physicians and it actually had a chef to do omelets cooked-to-order and such things.
Every day the donuts disappeared. After some sneaky observation, my colleagues figured out it was one of the anesthesiologists who was taking them all. He was a quite large older man, not so lovingly referred to by staff as Uncle Fred.
One morning, one of the surgeons replaced the donuts in each box with a brick. He and several colleagues hid in the kitchen, where they wouldn't be seen from the lounge, so they could watch.
When Uncle Fred came in to take the donuts, he didn't anticipate how heavy the box would and dropped it on the floor. The falling brick made a huge noise at which point his colleagues jumped out - surprise!
Uncle Fred behaved himself after that."
"I am a nurse in an Emergency Room. My lunch was getting stolen on the regular. I wrote a note and placed it in my bag:
'Whoever is stealing my lunch, please stop. I will catch you. This is a warning.'
The culprit continued. It wasn't every day. I noticed a pattern: if I brought a PBJ sandwich, nothing happened. If I brought ham and cheese, it was definitely getting eaten. I tried making two, hoping to sacrifice one as an offering with a note, 'I made one for you and one for me. Please leave me one.'
The thief ate both and put the note in the sandwich bag. I was furious. Swore revenge and decided to finish this once and for all.
I ordered some Carolina Reaper pepper and put it on the ham and cheese sandwiches. I mixed the seeds into the mayo.
Two hours into the shift, one of the housekeeping guys (from another floor) was screaming about being poisoned while flushing his mouth in the sink. He checked in due to severe esophageal spasms.
Did I get in trouble? The assumption by my boss was that it was a revenge prank gone wrong. They opened an 'investigation' because the culprit lied and said someone spiked his sandwich. He told them to check the 'blue lunchbox' with the name 'Keith' written on it. That is how I came to be summoned to the office.
I walked into the office with my boss and a Human Resources (HR) representative already there and my lunchbox sitting on the desk. My boss said, 'Is this yours?'
I confirmed it was.
'Did you realize Darryl was poisoned after eating a sandwich out of this lunchbox?'
'Wow. No. Thank god it was not me.' I said. 'Who poisoned the sandwich?'
'We were hoping you could explain why a sandwich is so spicy it's inedible,' my boss said. 'Sends someone to the ER with esophageal spasms.'
I explained how I loved hot pepper on my ham and cheese and, had he asked, I would have told him to be careful. I asked, 'How can I reasonably be expected to make a lunch for myself reducing ingredients that may cause a reaction on someone who steals it? I would need a list of all the allergies and intolerances of the people planning to go in our fridge and steal our lunches or---here's an idea---they can just not steal our food!'
I think Darryl had confessed to eating (stealing) my food out of my lunchbox at this point. Just an assumption, I was never told this, but he had obviously told them about the notes I left, and they thought I would admit to 'spiking the mayo' when they confronted me about the notes. I never admitted to writing the notes. Just kept saying, 'What note? Where is it?'
Fat chance I was admitting to anything. The HR representative being present was indication of their intentions if I had confessed. I stuck to my gut, pled ignorance, and asked for my lunchbox back."