18% Admit It: “I Steal Food from the Work Refrigerator”

In a recent Monster poll, we asked our nation’s workers to get real about a common workplace annoyance: “Have you ever ‘borrowed’ someone else’s food from the shared refrigerator at work?” And a full 18 percent copped to the crime! (So now you know what happened to your leftover spaghetti.) Here are the full results:

  • All the time! The shared refrigerator is my own private buffet: 4%
  • Frequently: I try to take meals I’m sure no one will miss. 2%
  • Sometimes: But only things like salad dressing and condiments. 12%
  • Never. 82%

That 4 percent of workers who regard the break-room fridge as their personal buffet must be getting fat off our our tuna sandwiches and yogurt, because they’re doing a lot of eating. When we asked the victims of this crime to speak up, 43 percent said that their food had been taken. We asked, “How often have you had your food stolen from the fridge at work in the past year?” Here are the full results:

  • More than five times the past year. 15%
  • Between one and five times. 28%
  • Never. 57%

Got a break-room bandit at your office? Be sure to clearly label your lunch, and make sure that everyone knows what in the fridge is communal and what isn’t. It can also be helpful to institute a weekly full cleaning of the refrigerator. (After things sit around unused for a while, people start to get ideas.) As with all workplace conflict, clear communication is key.

For more tips on dealing with trouble some coworkers, read “How to Deal with an Office Jerk.”


Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net


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  • Travis

    Somebody at my work was fired over this a couple years ago. We have a strict company policy about theft. Some must think they’re above the rules, but I think they’re morally inept, not just about this but many things. For some reason people get this idea that the workplace is home and they can do whatever they want. The workplace has rules just like governed society has laws and for good reason because for many can’t seem to understand whats right and wrong. Food is no different than any other personal property in that its worth something to the individual that brought it. I mean whats the difference if you were to leave your wallet in your jacket or purse on your desk and one of your coworkers happens by and helps themselves when nobodys around.

  • Pingback: Your Office’s Fridge-Raders Are Stealing Much More Than Food | Genius Pioneer