Every workplace I’ve been in has a communal refrigerator(s) in a break room. In 2003, Costco Travel was no different. What was different was the rampant lunch theft once a particular employee was hired.
I’m a generous person almost to a fault. That said, I won’t tolerate theft. It’s deceitful, and disrespectful. To me, it means you didn’t have the respect in simply asking for my help, and instead you stole it from me.
That angers me to the soul. So a thief, a lunch and “just desserts” added up to the following story.
Coincidentally, the suspect’s name was Charles (Carlos is Spanish for Charles) He was hired to be a cruise agent on the phone lines, just like me.
If memory serves, he was hired from #HollandAmerica – after he was fired from there for undisclosed reasons.
Since his arrival, every week a rumored report of a lunch theft would circulate amongst the work force.
That is … until it was almost daily.
This continued until it happened to me.
I remember distinctly that I brought in last night’s dinner leftovers, in Tupperware, in a sealed Safeway plastic bag. Not gonna lie, on this day I was looking forward to it. In fact, I was salivating over the thought of devouring it.
To ensure it wouldn’t be mistaken by co-workers, also wielding other plastic bags as lunch bags, I placed it in the corner of the top shelf.
Finally it was lunch time, so I sought out my lunch. After a few moments of fruitless searching, I gave up. I had determined I am a victim of the elusive lunch thief. Without anything to eat, and only allowed a 30-minute lunch period, that was simply not enough time to leave Costco Travel, find something in lunch-time Issaquah traffic, and return back in time.
I had 28 minutes to contemplate every aspect of this situation. Was the thief unable to pay for food, and desperate enough to steal? Was it some sick thrill they have?
I was younger then so revenge was what I sought out.
For lack of concrete evidence, that is what I got.
Before returning home, I stopped by Fred Meyer to pick up baking supplies, and Ex Lax, the go-to laxative medicine.
THE NEXT DAY …
I brought two lunches into work the next day. One that needed to be refrigerated (the decoy or bait lunch) and one that I stored at my desk drawer.
I made chicken with a chocolate adobe / mole type sauce, some corn, and two brownie slices for the bait lunch – both the entree and dessert had the entire box of Ex Lax in it. I wanted maximum effect so I only added it at the end so it wasn’t heated up or cooked off.
I walked by Charles’s cubicle with my tell-tale plastic bag in my hand, cruised to the break room, squirreled it away as best I could and waited.
I didn’t have to wait long to observe Charles leave his desk.
As I mentioned I broke up the pieces of the entire box into the meal. So it wasn’t long before the Ex Lax to take effect. Shortly after taking his lunch time, he departed home unexpectedly.
THE NEXT WEEK …
For the remaining time Charles was employed there, while I was, the lunch thefts were down to zero after that fateful lunch.
Now I can’t outright accuse him of lunch theft, but I can say if you do steal someone’s lunch – or continue to steal your co-workers’s lunches …
Eventually you’ll eat your “just desserts”.