Wednesday, July 15, 2009

The milk thief strikes again

Our company, one of the biggest health care providers in the country, is the only company I have heard of that doesn't provide coffee for its employees. Well, maybe in some other departments they do, but I somehow doubt that. Since they don't pay for coffee, they, of course, don't pay for the milk either. Therefore, from time to time I bring milk from home. I use it mostly to lighten and sweeten my coffee, so I don't really mind sharing. As a matter of fact, I tell a few people I am friendly with that I have brought milk and they are more than welcome to partake.

The problem is that today I have found my bottle of milk 1/3 empty. I had only used it once and knew for a fact neither I nor the people I have offered my milk, took it. (I did not conduct an investigation, they have simply been out of the office either on vacation or training.) And that's not the first time this had happened. Almost every time I bring in milk, someone takes quite a big chunk of it. And that, frankly, ticked me off today, big time.

As I was standing in the kitchen making my coffee, visibly upset, one of my co-workers came in and asked me what happened. I told him, but then the pushover in me started feeling like a cheapskate for complaining about something so small. And I started going on how it's not about the money (it really isn't), but about inconvenience (I can't just run out to Duane Reade to replace it for several reasons) and me being left without breakfast on several occasions because someone decided, for no good reason, that their bowl of cereal is more important that mine.

And now I am mad at two people. The first person is,of course, the person who has been taking my milk. Honestly, what gives? You know it's not yours and you know that the company doesn't provide it, so why the heck would you feel entitled to it? Seriously? That's stealing, pure and simple. And if you are hungry and desperate, all you have to do is ask. That bottle literally has my name on it, for goodness sake!

And the second person is myself. Why was I so apologetic about my feelings to another co-worker? After all, I am the one who has been wronged, no matter how insignificantly. I didn't do anything wrong.

And then it got me thinking. In any office, there is one or two individuals who do this kind of thing. I remember in another place I worked at, there was a candy thief. During tax season the junior staff would take turns bringing in chocolates and sweets. And those sweets would go suspiciously fast. Other people on the floor complained that their candy would disappear from their desk drawers. One night while staying in very late, one of us found this candy thief. It was one of the senior partners who waited for everyone to be gone to go on the prowl. The guy made more money than all of us, junior staff, put together, and could certainly ask the office manager to supply him with chocolates.

So really, what gives?


  1. Get yourself one of those mini fridges and keep it under your desk. If anyone asks, just say you like to keep your food at arm's reach.

  2. Truth is that was the suggestion of the co-worker to whom I spoke. That suggestion actually put me on the apologetic-defensive path. I suspected he was sarcastic. And I suspect so are you.

  3. I agree with Sophie and I'm not being sarcastic.


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