I tried marking my lunch. I tried notes pleading with people to not take my lunch. I tried hiding my lunch behind cans, etc. Nothing worked. One day, after my lunch disappeared, I shut the refrigerator door and laughed maniacally. Someone asked me what was so funny.
“Today is the day I find out who has been stealing my lunch,” I replied. “I put rat poison on my sandwich! We’ll find the thief in about an hour when he or she starts dying.”
Sure enough, a coworker screamed and ran around like she was on fire. As she was about to be taken to the hospital to have her stomach pumped, I laughed and admitted it wasn’t really poisoned. Naturally, I was fired. It didn’t matter that this woman had stolen my lunch for her mid-morning snack every day. It seems my “joke” was considered “dangerous” and I was chastised for possibly “giving (her) a heart attack.”
In one office, coworkers had small refrigerators in their cubicles to keep their lunch and drinks cold and safe. The energy bills must have been too much for the company so a memo went around informing people that these appliances were against the fire code. The kitchen refrigerator then became a repository of science experiments as people forgot half sandwiches and slabs of meatloaf for weeks and months. Sometimes you couldn’t even tell what was in the Tupperware it was so furry and moldy.
Being a smoker, I often found that people would pop into my cubicle to borrow my lighter, which sat out with my pack of cigarettes. Switching to gag lighter that gave those who pushed the button to light it a severe shock, I was once again chastised for a dangerous item that could “give someone a heart attack!”
Again, it would be a telltale sign of who was stealing my lighters. Sometimes there’s just no justice in the world and certainly not an office.
When you are hired by a large company or corporation, you are shown a video on office harassment. The video looks like a 1970s porn film without the sex. Bad acting and rhythmic guitar rifts, but the common thread throughout the video is that even when you are in the right, if someone complains about you, then you are guilty and wrong. With a small cast of characters in this video, it’s always the same person being offended by the actions of coworkers. One might wonder why the old rules of society aren’t followed and the constant complainer isn’t just buried up to his or her neck and hit in turn by every other employee with a polo mallet until dead. The modern office has a strange political hierarchy and it will not bend or break to your will or common sense. Learn to deal with it safely and with a sense of good-natured flair!