The Refrigerator Bandit

5 12 2009

A few years ago, I worked in an office where we had a community refrigerator.  This was where any food brought from home would be stored until lunchtime, snacktime, whenever.  For several years before that, we had the refrigerator and had never had a problem with anyone eating someone else’s food.  Of course, that could be because there were only 3 of us in the office.  So, it would be pretty easy to find out who took something that didn’t belong to them.  However, when we merged companies, we grew into a bigger office, bigger warehouse and more people bringing their food and keeping it in the fridge.  It was only a matter of time before the refrigerator bandit would rear his ugly head.

Within weeks of moving into the new office with our new workmates, stuff started mysteriously disappearing from the fridge.  A soda here, a power drink there.  As time went on, the refrigerator bandit (“RB” as we affectionately started calling him) got more and more daring.  Since he wasn’t getting called out on it, he started taking leftovers in the afternoons from the takeover someone would put in the fridge, eating parts of the food in the container and actually putting it back in the fridge.  One of the girls had Chinese takeout that she couldn’t finish and had put in the fridge to take home for dinner later.  She had to throw it out when she realized that someone had eaten part of her food and left the used plastic fork right on top of the food in the container.  Yeah, gross!  During inventory, we always worked late into the evening to finish.  I had brought a Diet Coke (my only source of caffeine since I don’t drink coffee) as a treat for later in the evening and to give me that much needed caffeine rush to finish the day.  “RB” had taken it, opened it, drank it, apparently realized it was “diet” and didn’t like it and put the rest of the opened up, backwashed laden Diet Coke back in the fridge.  Did he think I would think I had opened the soda myself and stuck it back in there?  Really?

We knew who “RB” was.  He was never officially caught red-handed.  But, some of the warehouse staff had seen him lurking around the fridge and actually taking stuff out of it.  He never brought anything with him to put in the fridge so there was no reason for him to go into the fridge.  And the fact that he made more money than ANY of us who worked there was a real rub.  So, the other office girl and I hatched an evil plan to get back at good ol’ “RB” and teach him a lesson.

“RB” had a real affinity for iced tea, it seemed.  That and the power drinks (like Monster and Rock Star) seemed to disappear with an alarming frequency from our company refrigerator.  So, my friend brought a good size bottle of Snapple Ice Tea and I brought a huge jar of the hottest chili peppers I could find.  She opened the bottle, drank more than half of the ice tea and we filled the rest with the juice from the entire jar of chilis to the very top of the bottle.  She then put the lid back on so tight, that it appeared to not have been opened at all and we stuck it back in the fridge.  A little while later, “RB” came storming into the office and headed straight for the bottled water, tears streaming down his eyes.  We immediately went to the refrigerator to check out the bottle of ice tea.  There was a nice big gulp of it gone.  We laughed so hard.  The only way I can figure that he didn’t realize there was chili juice in the jar was because he was in such a hurry so he wouldn’t get caught, that he just guzzled the ice tea without stopping long enough to smell it as it came close to his nose to drink. 

Needless to say, “RB” didn’t strike again for the rest of the time I worked there.  That’s what you get when you start pilfering what is not yours from the company fridge.  Beware!

B.W.