There’s No Such Thing As a Free Lunch. Really!

You may recall that I returned from Cactus League Spring Training earlier this week on a very delayed flight.  After only a few hours sleep, I dragged myself to the office and worked a full day, then returned home to bake two dozen cupcakes for a St. Patrick’s Day party at my office on Friday.

(Last year I was volun-told to lead the ‘engagement team’ at my workplace, because apparently it’s a proven fact that engaged employees work harder, call in sick less often and make fewer annoying demands of management than a whiny rabble of disengaged employees.  You may have something similar where you work, with a catchy name like the ‘Fun Council’. )

I placed the large aluminum food tray filled with cupcakes, covered in cling wrap, in my office’s communal refrigerator.  Later that morning, I discovered that someone had helped himself to the cupcakes, well in advance of the party, thinking he could outfox me by taking them from the BACK row of the tray.  Seriously?

Perhaps the culprit felt justified in his thievery because the food was for an office party.  Perhaps he expected to go to the party, and figured he would just take his cupcakes early.  Or maybe he works in the division that shares our floor and fridge — but doesn’t throw parties with delicious homemade cupcakes — so he needed a sugary way to fill the void that comes from lack of engagement.

Whatever.  I was sleep deprived and still coming off a sugar crash from eating leftover cupcake batter the night before… so I was outraged!  We live in a society and there are rules, people – most notably, that you should not eat food in the work fridge if you didn’t put it there.  That is stealing.  Only food left on the kitchen counter at the office is up for grabs.   Who the heck doesn’t know that?

I affixed a sternly worded admonition along these lines to the fridge, which was a topic of conversation on the floor for the rest of the day.  (Note to self:  Remove nasty note from office fridge on Monday.)

After the party there were abundant leftovers placed on the kitchen counter.  They were devoured within 30 minutes.  I can’t be sure, but once my cupcakes were gone I think someone may have licked the aluminum tray clean to get those last few shreds of fresh coconut.

What is it with free food at work?  I swear if you stood next to the elevator on a given afternoon and announced “free sandwiches and chips in the kitchen”… there are folks who would eat a second lunch simply because it was free!   In fact, I suspect that if you said there was free gruel topped with past-its-expiration-date Limburger cheese in the kitchen, you’d still get a few takers.

A note to my fellow office workers: You scan steal the spotlight, or my thunder.  But hands off my food in the fridge!

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