- ABOUT US
Megan Rossman, Photography Editor
Photo by JOHN JERNIGAN
By Megan Rossman
July 17, 2014
Aside from microwave activity and coffee making, not much happens in the Tourism break room. It's a placid space within a hive of government activity. However, the peace was shattered earlier this month when a recent rash of refrigerator thefts left several employees reeling. Associate editor Karlie Tipton became one of the most recent victims, when her LaCroix sparkling coconut water vanished one afternoon.
“I felt very disappointed because I was looking forward to drinking it when I ate my chocolate-covered almonds,” she says.
One day later, editor Steffie Corcoran opened her Hideaway leftovers box—with her name on it—to discover two slices of pizza missing.
“I was outraged because it was a piece of Hideaway pepperoni pizza. If it was Papa John’s, that would be different,” says Corcoran.
I have yet to be victimized by the fridge prowler. I credit my penchant for veggie burgers and yogurt, and my recent decision to decorate to-go boxes with Sharpie-scrawled threats and menacing symbols.
As a member of the Rossman family, I’ve become adept at defending my food from perceived threats, the biggest one being a man named Jim. For as long as I can remember, my father would hide candy all over the house, in various drawers, hidden under dress socks, or behind stacks of wrenches and screwdrivers that no one but him would ever use. Eventually we children became wise to his hiding spots. M&Ms were in the underwear drawer, Coke was behind the stereo in the garage, bulk candy wrappers could sometimes be found scattered beside the VHS tapes in the entertainment center, alerting us to the presence of candy nearby. It was just a matter of time before we found it. It’s been nearly a year since he died, and my mom is still discovering treats stowed around the house.
It’s never been clear what prompted him to conceal his candy from the rest of us, since he was the looming shadow in our house that laid to waste all things high in fat and/or sugar. I set a box of chicken nuggets in the fridge once, left for ten minutes, and came back to discover that he and my sister had gobbled them up. They didn’t even feign ignorance of my ownership. It may have been his revenge for the time McDonald’s didn’t include his fries in our order, and when I refused to share mine, he stared at me from across the table and said, “I’ll remember this.”
Technically, we were a human family, but when it came to food, we frequently reverted to the primal behaviors of a less-evolved species.
The recent events in our break room at work have stirred childhood memories. Within your own home, food is generally among the things that are community property. If someone eats all the pizza, a few harsh words and a glare are usually a sufficient response to such thoughtless gluttony. In the workplace, though, taking someone’s pizza is an indisputable violation of the implicit social contract by which most of us abide. If it’s not yours, don’t eat it. It’s simple.
One frustrated colleague has hung signs in the break room—helpfully illustrated with pictures of El Charrito and Boston Market frozen dinners—that advise against stealing lunches. Will they be effective? Only time will tell.