The Ethics and Danger of Raiding the Office Fridge

This Is Just To Say  

I have eaten the enchiladas that were in the icebox

and which you were probably saving for lunch

Forgive me they were delicious so spicy and so warm

William Carlos William's poem -- his original is about about sweet, delicious plums -- popped into my head the instant an employee at the office stopped by to make a confession. It was a long weekend, and the skies had torn open and the rain fallen in sheets. The nearest source of food was a 7-Eleven, just a stone's throw away, and even that was too far, considering the weather. The employee had eaten someone's enchilada from the office fridge, and they didn't feel guilty about it.

Office refrigerators are always a hostile environment. All of them host a variety of food stuffs in varying stages of decay, but here at the Observer, our refrigerator has evolved into a full-blown science experiment. The theory we're testing is that gremlins can survive for more than 30 days in a moist 38-degree environment without external sources of food and water.

Certainly, one takes their well being into their own hands during a raid. For example, it was easy to find this half-eaten bagel topped with desiccated salmon lox. Pasta dishes in unsealed containers have ages measured in weeks, and the whole mess smells like Surströmming. Eating food like this when hungry will draw its own biologically induced punishment in 36 to 98 hours.

Still, politics surrounding the office refrigerator are absolute. A quick survey of our editorial staff determined that is is never OK to pilfer food stuffs from the fridge in times of nutritional duress -- this despite that the fact apparently no one respects the food they are storing inside.

Me? I say if you're the type of person who uses the office refrigerator like an interim hazardous waste dump then you deserve to have your food stolen. If I catch you leaving a sticky carton of orange chicken in the fridge for weeks, I'll happily pilfer your frozen enchilada. (The freezer section of office refrigerators are almost always hazard-free.) I'll take that hot pocket, too. And I wouldn't feel the least bit guilty, either.

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