Breakroom Vigilance

I’ve heard people say that Decatur is a strange place filled with strange people. I can concur with that for the most part as I’m not all together sane from one day to the next. Perhaps it has something to do with the sign I’m born under but I can’t confirm because I know absolutely nothing about what sign’s attributes are compared to another. Anyway, in “grey” Decatur where I grew up I was always amazed at the near bi-polar nature of those in my neighborhood, where smiles and jokes in amongst my neighborhood crew could, within minutes, transform into an argument or a fight over the simplest of things. Remember that scene in Goodfellas where Joe Pesci turned a simple comment about him being “funny” into a near murder? Yeah, something like that except with taller Black people. Anyway, it’s a term that I’ve fondly termed “going Decatur”; when something happens to one of us and, at the drop of a hat, we go from mild mannered to nuclear meltdown in 3 seconds or less. And that’s what happened to me yesterday.

I was brought up in a home that stressed doing the right thing, more than anything though I was taught to respect other people’s property. I was placed on punishment only twice in my life and one of those was for taking something that didn’t belong to me. My mother and father had a way of teaching me a lesson in that they only had to teach said lesson once or else my right to life could very well be removed; shame on me then for thinking that everyone had someone in their lives to teach them similar lessons. Yesterday, I went to lunch with a co-worker, initially I wasn’t going to go because I brought lunch from home but then they said that they were going to get Italian and I immediately caved because I LOVE Italian food. I went to lunch and ordered this MONSTER of a calzone that was filled with pepperoni and cheesy goodness, it was beautiful, as if the concoction were hand tossed, stuffed, baked, and served by some Italian angel in Heaven’s best Italian restaurant. I made it about halfway through the calzone before realizing that if I took another bite I was going to need to be carried out of the restaurant due to food coma.

I left the restaurant with what equated to a full sized Calzone by any other restaurant’s standards; it was going to be a great item for dinner later once I got home from work last night.

You know where I’m going with this right?

I’m in sales. I’m relatively new in sales. I’m not incredibly good at sales. So when I actually have a success I’m in a pretty decent mood as I was last night when I left the office, albeit late, last night. I was bundled up in my coat and scarf and put my hat on (it’s actually very cold here in Atlanta lately, must be all the transplants from up north) and went to the fridge in the breakroom to get calzone that I was planning to finish as soon as I got home. Then I opened the refrigerator and noticed that there was a gaping hole in the spot in the fridge where my calzone used to be. I’m not quite sure what I thought staring into the refrigerator for 5 minutes would fix, perhaps I thought if I stood in front of the open refrigerator my calzone in the little brown takeout box would magically reappear, or maybe the little elf that lives in every refrigerator would prance out and give me an explanation of what happened or at the VERY least, give me my $7 that it took to buy it in the first place. I work in an office full of adults, in size anyway, it was unfathomable to me that someone would simply say “hey that looks good, I’ll take that” and then do it which brings me to this.

There is no way that anyone would know that there was a cheesy, deliciously gooey calzone in that box unless they opened it and looked as it was a plain brown box that couldn’t be mistaken for anything else in the fridge at the time, this isn’t a case of taking home the wrong Tupperware, someone was in the refrigerator shopping. Some trifling S.O.B took the time to move the items on top of the box, open it, consider it potentially yummy and remove it.

Here I was in a good mood because on my last dreaded call of the day I finally got someone to say “yes” to me and then in the space of 10 minutes I’m standing in front of an open refrigerator about to totally go Mount Vesuvius over a $7 calzone that someone in the office felt like they deserved more than the man who paid for it. I stood there in the refrigerator for about 2 minutes easily, looked in the freezer, in the crisper, everywhere that you can look in a refrigerator but nothing…nothing but that sick, sick feeling of knowing that what was yours ain’t yours no mo’. I’m grateful to God that I was the last person in the office because I was completely ready to “Go Decatur” and not in the regular sense of the term; I was going full scale, no holds barred, hide your kids, hide your wife, Decatur. Having a new job and being the new guy in the office was to be damned; I was ready to blame any and everybody, interrogate co-workers and even the company President if I had to in order to find the culprit. “What did you see? Who do you know? And daggonit , why are there no cameras back here?!” By the time I finally closed the refrigerator door I was so mad I was shaking and had to take a deep breath and compose myself in order not to snap at the first person that I might see after leaving the office.

My saving grace was that I hung out with some friends last night to start my birthday celebration week so that totally prevented me from sitting down at my computer last night and tapping out a scathing letter to post on the refrigerator door when I got to work today and trust me, from what I had mentally drafted in my head I probably wouldn’t have lasted here through the end of the week so thank God for that small miracle.

I guess there’s no real moral to this story and certainly no happy ending (for me at least). But this can’t be isolated, there are likely fridge thieves amongst us all in our respective workplaces out to steal the hopes and dreams of leftover happiness for a segment of the American workforce. To you I say, be vigilant, protect your lunch and the lunch of others, secure your sodas from stray sips and from those looking two subtract one from your six pack, and by all means, if you catch one of these low lives doing their dirt do your due diligence and kick that bastard in the back of the head. This former Calzone owner thanks you in advance for doing your part!

     ~thanks for reading


  1. I really can’t understand why people do this! I am such a germaphobe, there is no way in holy hell that I would eat someone’s (HALF EATEN) food. You don’t know what kind of cooties people have. Yuck!

    I remember the security guard at my old job got fired because a co-worker walked in the break room and caught him eating her homemade food out of her tupperware. Who does that???

  2. I’m with you Kya – YUCK! It happens a lot at all the law firms where I’ve worked. Most times it’s some attorney that believes the food fairies just come to bring them food when they’re worked through lunch. Jerks.

  3. I had this problem years ago… food repeatedly walked away, and I got fed up and did something real mean…..

    Added a couple tablespoons of liquid laxative to the spaghetti sauce, and lots of extra seasonings to mask the flavor. I was gonna find out who my culprit was, just wait and see who got sick after lunch…. Just to be safe I told my boss what I did and why…..he had no problem cuz if they hadn’t been stealing in the first place it wouldn’t be an issue. Sure enuf the guy two cubes over got sick as a dog, had to go home due to diarrhea. Next morning Boss wrote him up for employee theft. Word got around and no more missing lunches…..Mean I know, but definitely effective!

  4. I hate that they took your calzone because I know exactly the type of calzone you speak of. There’s a place here called Pasquini’s that I’ve had the pleasure of enjoying a behemoth of a calzone only to still have a portion of calzone left big enough to last me two more meals.

    However, I must admit, I have been one of those Office Fridge Food Bandits. Yes, yes, I know … just shameful. I have no excuse that makes it excusable. All I can say is … I’m a single mother who can barely keep food in the house so I have taken a frozen taquito or two from the pack or borrowed a Jimmy Dean breakfast sandwich from the pack. I have used butter marked ‘Jen’ of whom I have the slightest knowledge of that person. I haven’t taken anyone’s leftovers (that’s gross) but I am not completely innocent. Luckily, I have an office spouse who brings enough stuff for the entire time and encourages us to help ourselves so my days of cleaning out the fridge just to see who has an extra item I can consume is over with. I also would like to mention that I do attempt to replace the items I have consumed without permission, without the knowledge of the original foodee, if the package is still in the fridge when I get paid.

    Yes, you may spank me.

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