When office lunch thieves get downright dirty

Sep. 20, 2011 at 1:11 PM ET

John Makely / /
This is one of the fridges in 30 Rock. When will the thief strike again?

There are few things at work more infuriating than having your food stolen from the communal office fridge, and the interwebs are littered with angry victims’ rants about same. But here at 30 Rock, there is a thief (or thieves) so brazen that they prompted a big, fat, “Are you kidding me?!”

Thinking I could save myself the headache of washing out my Tupperware every day, on Monday I brought in a large container with a week’s worth of Swiss muesli, so that I could eat a portion of it each day. Imagine my shock when I opened the refrigerator on our floor’s kitchen only to find the lid ajar and only a single serving left!

I reacted in the following stages:

Disbelief: Could I possibly have eaten a lot more than I thought yesterday? There’s no way someone would eat from a container that doesn’t look fresh.

Anger: This thief should be punished, maybe even flogged for violating me this way!

Sadness: I’m so hungry! What am I going to eat?

Acceptance: Someone willing to go to these lengths clearly needs this food more than I do, and hey, at least they seemed to like it!

When I shared my experience with my colleagues, they regaled me with horror stories that rivaled or even made mine seem pale in comparison:

So, my cheese sticks disappear, my mini-cottage cheese and yogurts are often MIA, but the one food mishap I really cry foul on: someone actually chowing down on half of my leftover Chinese food. I mean, really! You have to be really delusional or suffer from amnesia if you ever go into a common area fridge and eat out of someone’s already eaten food. I often don’t even eat my own leftovers let alone someone else’s. I know I’m not alone. I see the various notes posted to the fridge door demanding the foraging to stop or asking for the items to be replaced. –Dara Brown, anchor/senior producer

I’m still recovering from the time someone stole my Thanksgiving leftovers from the fridge (they left the empty container, that one stung), but I have one gross story that sticks with me. I brought a normal, no-frills turkey sandwich to work one Saturday. I took my sandwich out at lunchtime, only to find a finger-sized hole in the tin foil wrapping. Apparently someone liked what they saw during the initial survey. This person pulled out all the meat, leaving me a bread sandwich and recurring nightmares that we have a serial sandwich poker stalking our office. –Ian Sager, editorial supervisor

I put a Tupperware container of homemade bolognese sauce in the office fridge (I made it from scratch and was planning on bringing it to friends that evening). But later that day, I checked the fridge and it was gone. It’s one thing to steal someone’s yogurt or leftover Chinese, but HOMEMADE SAUCE? That’s just a new level of evil.  –Rina Raphael, producer

Courtesy of Rina Raphael /

Such thieves aren’t deterred by passive aggressive notes, and probably wouldn’t even be stopped by clever packaging that makes your lunch look like it’s tainted with roaches. Do we really need to become the kind of office that uses Fridge Lockers? I really hope that's not the case.

So, dear readers, is this just a 30 Rock affliction? Have you experienced a seriously gross, shocking office fridge violation? We want to see your stories in the comments.

And we’d also love to know what goes on through a fridge violator’s mind – we’ll protect your identity if you’d be willing to share your story. Email us here.