Feasting Freeloader: How do I stop a co-worker from eating other co-workers’ food?

by epi on February 25, 2014

Q: How can I stop a co-worker from eating food that is not hers?  Since she has started working at our office the staff snack box is the emptiest it has ever been.  We have started putting our names on our food but that is not working.  How can I fix this situation without embarrassing this person?

 
A: You might privately and tactfully explain to your co-worker that it’s been the practice for everyone to contribute occasionally to the snack box and it’s become obvious to the whole office that she has not contributed but has also taken drinks and other food that clearly belong to someone else. You might add that you don’t want to embarrass her but, if the situation were reversed, you would appreciate her honesty. If the co-worker continues to help herself to other workers’ food and drinks, it would be appropriate to mention the situation to your supervisor.

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