6 Ways to Thwart the Office Lunch Thief

published Sep 28, 2016
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(Image credit: Samantha Grandy)

My office has witnessed The Case of the Missing Spaghetti, The Hidden Brown Rice, and most recently A Summertime Spring Roll Mystery. Clearly there’s an office lunch thief among us. And while I have my suspicions, I’ll leave cracking The Case of the Office Refrigerator to the professional sleuths.

Instead, with apologies to Nancy Drew, let’s focus on six proactive ways to make sure your lunch meets the right mouth.

1. Eat early.

When I bring lunch from home, I eat right at noon. I dine with the early birds to avoid the line at the microwave, but it’s a solid anti-theft strategy too.

2. Don’t put all your eggs in one basket.

Next time you’re packing lunch, remember: Separate is secure. A complete grab-and-go lunch could look too alluring to the office lowlife. Keeping the bread away from the chicken salad until you’re ready to dine will make your lunch taste fresher too.

3. Make smart packing choices.

The evidence is staggering, at least at the places I’ve worked. Your food is more likely to be nabbed if it is in a container that makes it look like takeout. Delivery food is somehow seen as fair game in the office fridge. I know some people recycle takeout containers to bring lunch to the office. If that’s you, label your container well — and maybe add a “no trespassing” sign, too.

4. Keep your lunch closer.

If you bring a lunch that that doesn’t require refrigeration, you can entirely avoid the questionable office fridge. Whole fruits, simple grains, unopened canned tuna — all can go fridge-free, at least from nine to noon.

5. Lock it down.

Make sure your lunch doesn’t grow legs by locking it down. Not recommended for the casual luncher, but if you seriously need hands off your food, Fridge Locker could be a solution for you. Perhaps slightly less dramatic, you could have your own mini-fridge under your desk.

6. Fake it if you make it.

Ready for the Mad Magazine-style solution to stolen sandwiches? Try plastic bags pre-printed with fake mold! I laughed when I came across these, although now I’m thinking that the office manger would be more than justified in throwing away a moldy-looking sandwich.

Your turn: How do you keep your lunch safe from sticky-fingered coworkers?