Letter to a break room thief

Joel van der Veen
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As a matter of editorial policy, the Times-Herald does not publish open letters addressed to other parties. So I hope my editor will indulge me just once, so that I may address an issue of pressing concern.

To the person(s) who raided my lunch last Tuesday … why?

You know who you are. You and I both know what you did. But for the rest of our readership, here are the sordid details of this miserable story.

As I typically do, I packed a lunch on Tuesday morning with three oatmeal raisin cookies, carrot sticks, a Granny Smith apple and a sandwich with cheese, lettuce and pepperoni.

This has been my habit for most of my time here. I pack this alluring bill of fare into two plastic containers and deposit it in the office fridge upon my arrival at work in the morning.

Anyone familiar with my routine would know where to find my lunch, as well as what they’d find inside.

But in the eight months I’ve worked here, I’ve never had to worry about the security of my lunch. (The same was true over the 14 years I spent in elementary and secondary school.)

That all changed Tuesday.

After I arrived at work and put my lunch in its proper place, I received a text message from a certain winsome young lady, inviting me to join her over the noon hour for leftover curry and rice at her workplace, a block away from our office.

Even though I’d already packed my meal, I accepted the invitation, as would any person who’s ever tasted her fine cooking.

 “I’ll just eat my lunch tonight or save it for tomorrow,” I thought. “No problem.”

Alas, when I returned to the break room that afternoon to retrieve my food, I made a most unpleasant discovery. The sandwich and the apple remained, but the carrot sticks and the cookies had vanished.

Adding insult to injury, the culprit hadn’t even placed the lid back on the container properly, making no attempt to cover their tracks or conceal their crime. I was aghast.

Now that I’ve had some time to recover from my shock, I have a few questions for the miscreant, who still remains unidentified.

When I place my food in the fridge each day, I see an assortment of goodies, like soft drinks, yogurt cups, and frozen entrees.

On top of that, the office is still littered with leftover Halloween candy. Each time I walk through the newsroom, I must resist the siren call of marshmallow ice cream cones, mini chocolate bars and Rockets — though I’ll admit that last one is easier to resist.

With all these appealing treats, why would you have decided to pilfer a few carrot sticks and Voortman cookies?

Perhaps you were short on grocery money this week. If this was the case and you were down to crackers and ketchup, I’d certainly understand.

But you left the most satisfying items behind. If you really were starving, and you were willing to risk getting caught, why wouldn’t you go for the whole kit and caboodle?

The bottom line, though, is that I wasn’t offended or scandalized as much as I was surprised. It simply seems incredible that someone employed in an office would deign to snatch food from a co-worker’s lunch.

But have no fear, hungry one. Should your conscience compel you to apologize or make restitution, you know where to find me.

Joel van der Veen can be reached at 691-1256.

Organizations: Times-Herald

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