"Keep your hands off my egg salad sandwich!"

It never fails. Every six months or so, HR is forced to send an e-mail that reads something like this:

"It has been brought to our attention that food is missing from the refrigerators in the Lunch Rooms. It is our hope that this is an isolated situation and will cease from occurring. Please be sure the food you take from the refrigerator is yours, and if it does not belong to you, that you not take it."

Every time I receive this e-mail, I am appalled that 1) coworkers would swipe each other's food and 2) HR has to remind a group of adults not to swipe each other's food.

What possesses someone to sneak into a lunch room, rummage through the refrigerator (looking over his or her shoulder the entire time) and then snatch another person's lunch? "Hmmmm, what am I craving today? Let's see ... an apple, a PB&J sandwich, a bag of corn chips ... ooooh, what's this, leftover lasagna? Yummy!"

I know times are tough and we're watching every penny, but c’mon. I would think most of us holding down full-time jobs can afford to pack lunches or go out for a midday meal. And if it's a case of the munchies, surely you have a few quarters laying around for a sweet or salty snack from the vending machines (which are located right next to the refrigerators reserved for food that's already spoken for!).

And while I've never been the victim of a ham-sandwich heist, I know how upset I'd be to find my lunch missing. Not only would I be irritated because I'm starving, my blood sugar is plummeting and my lunch is nowhere to be found, but I'd also seriously question the judgment of my coworkers. If someone is capable of lifting a lunch, what else is considered "fair game"? Do I have to worry about Bill or Sandra visiting my office and "borrowing" a pen, a few paper clips or the frames around my family photos? Shouldn't we be able to assume "what's mine is mine" and that someone's workspace is not an office supply closet - and a communal refrigerator is not an open buffet?

Again, I don't know what's worse: someone pilfering another’s chicken panini - or HR reminding employees to keep their hands off my brown bag!


honeypiehorse said...

Penny ante stuff, although I agree it's ludicrous to have to remind adults about this sort of thing. What I want to know is, when will we see this email from HR?

"It has been brought to our attention that employee morale is low as a result of poor management. It is our hope that this is an isolated situation and will cease from occurring. Please be sure to communicate with and express appreciation for your employees on a regular basis.

Thank you for your attention and consideration in this matter."

Diane M. Pfadenhauer said...

Herein lies the problem. HR should not be the cafeteria police, should not be involved in monitoring egg sandwiches. Anyone in the profession that thinks this is an appropriate responsibility for HR professionals is seriously misguided.

Anonymous said...

I remember being upset that the lunch I'd made my husband for work at a local radio station had been stolen by a prominent morning DJ. He knew who had done it, but due to office politics, couldn't even complain about it.


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