Lucy glanced impatiently at the time displayed in the corner of her monitor. It was gone two o’clock, she was starving, and she had just got off a mammoth two hour conference call.
Her stomach grumbled. She tried to comfort herself with the thought that at least she already had her lunch in the fridge. A delicious, thickly filled sandwich, made fresh that morning with bread straight out of the breadmaker; carefully calculated to precisely fulfil the requirements of her new diet without sacrificing taste in any way. She was practically drooling.
For the sake of appearances, Lucy tapped away at her keyboard for a couple of minutes before leaping up and making her way to the office breakroom. She yanked open the refrigerator door and reached for her sandwich.
It wasn’t there.
She knelt down to check behind the assorted drinks cans and lunch boxes in case it had just been moved out of sight, but to no avail. There wasn’t even anything remotely resembling it.
She stared at the fridge for several minutes, as if that might make her sandwich reappear. It didn’t work.
She asked the people who sat nearest the breakroom if they had noticed anything, but they hadn’t. After all, who notices somebody leaving the breakroom with a sandwich?
Disappointed and hungry, she returned to her desk and rummaged through her handbag. She hadn’t brought any cash with her – why would she, when she had a packed lunch – and had left her debit card at home. She had no choice but to get on with it and try to ignore her stomach growling for the rest of the afternoon.
The following day, she took a simple precaution; when she placed her sandwich in the fridge, she stuck a neon orange post-it note with her name on to the sandwich bag. When lunchtime rolled around, she made her way confidently to the breakroom.
The post-it note was stuck on the fridge shelf and her sandwich was gone.
She returned to her desk, glowering at her colleagues. One of them had stolen her sandwich; stolen it even though it blatantly had her name on it. Worse still, she didn’t know anywhere she could get a decent lunch without breaking her diet.
She sent a short email to everyone on her floor. She paused for a moment before adding the managers to the circulation list, but decided to go ahead and include them anyway. They’d want to know there was a thief in the office, after all.
Was just wondering if anybody knew what happened to my sandwich these last two days? I left it in the fridge but it was gone by lunchtime! I even left my name on it today!! I’m on a strict diet so I would appreciate it if you could leave my sandwich for me in future!!!
Kind Regards, Lucy
It didn’t help. The following day, despite the email and the repeated application of a post-it note label, her sandwich was gone before she got to the breakroom at one o’clock.
Lucy was angry. Very angry, and very hungry.
But she had a plan.
The next day, she left a longer note on top of the sandwich, and a duplicate note inside the sandwich bag too, just to get her point home.
Dear Sandwich Thief,
I realise that I was careless on Monday. I didn’t label my sandwich at all, so you assumed it was yours, even though you didn’t make it, bring it in to the office, or place it in the fridge. I know you didn’t, because I did all that.
I realise that perhaps you might have missed the neon orange post-its with my name on, which were on the sandwich both Tuesday and Wednesday. Or perhaps, despite the fact that I am the only Lucy in the building, you believed that the name on the post-it was yours.
Perhaps you suffer from illiteracy, and couldn’t understand the email I sent on Tuesday.
Or perhaps, just perhaps, you knew that the damn sandwiches weren’t yours and you knew full well that you were stealing somebody else’s food.
But that’s okay.
Today, I added a generous amount of strong laxatives to this sandwich. I hope you enjoy the taste of karma, you sandwich-stealing low-life.
Sure enough, at lunchtime the sandwich was gone. The letter was lying screwed up in a corner beside the bin.
Whistling nonchalantly, Lucy returned to her desk just in time to see her manager running out of an important meeting clutching desperately at his rear end.
© Kari Fay