To Catch a Shrimp Thief

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Life in the New Times' offices is often exciting -- but nothing could have prepared us for what unfolded today.

A coworker who shall remain unnamed brought in a spiral party platter of cocktail shrimp for lunch; the kind where all the little buggers are arranged around the tray in perfect fashion, with a container of cocktail sauce in the center. He went to the fridge around 11:30 to fetch his snack, when he discovered someone had tampered with his lunch. The thief pilfered two shrimp, even going so far as to rip open the plastic seal on the provided cocktail sauce and dunk away. We can't be sure, but the bastard probably double dipped too. The culprit must've also been in a hurry, because the cocktail sauce was quickly ditched elsewhere in the fridge, and tray was haphazardly shut.

Needless to say, I was on the case.

I immediately sent out a chain of e-mails letting everyone know that, yes, we're aware there was a briny theft in the office today, and yes, we're going to find that person and make sure he/she is brought to justice. Here's an excerpt:

We will find you, and when we do, we will out you. We snuffed out the popcorn-burning bandit - that was easy. [editor's note: popcorn burning is another serious office crime] You are next. Go pop some mints now, because your fishy odor is going to attract us like dogs. Dogs who bite. Dogs who bite hard.

You might say I overreacted a bit. You'd be wrong. Inner-office food theft is a serious issue. Not only is it insulting to the person whose food gets stolen, it creates an environment where people don't want to bring their own food into the office. The good news is I received an outpour of e-mails from other concerned coworkers, saying they would back any attempt to capture and punish the shrimp thief 100%.

This begs the question: Do any of you work in an office with a food theft problem? What have you done to combat shellfish larceny?

-- John Linn

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