In a brief but fruitful post on the subreddit r/anitwork, one Redditor shared a strange incident that happened at work.
In the post, which has now been voted on over 23,000 times, user bunnybunbun777 wrote that upon returning from a bathroom break at work, she found her lunchbox open and half of her meal gone.
“Confused, I asked about what happened from an older lady who sits next to me. She responded that our boss came in, noticed the food on the table, took half of it on a plate, and left for a meeting.
Commenters jumped on the thread to share confusion about how the employee should handle the situation.
In 2015, Inc. published a list of workplace lunchtime dos and don’ts and while “eating someone else’s lunch” didn’t make the list, the publication says there are a few things to keep in mind.
One tip noted by Diane Gottsman, owner of the Protocol School of Texas is that rather than eating at a desk, lunchtime can be a good time to socialize with coworkers. “An isolated coworker is generally not a happy coworker,” she writes.
As CNN noted in an article from July 2020, the coronavirus pandemic also changed lunchtime customs in the workplace — for those still working from an office.
The article says that “whether it’s free lunches every day, or an occasional perk like pizza or bagels to celebrate an accomplishment, or an extra long meeting with a catered lunch, employers often use free food to reward or motivate their staff.” Though with social distancing protocols, and other safety measures to stop the spread of COVID-19, these occasions might be harder to come by nowadays.
Some commenters on the viral Reddit post noted the pandemic as one of a few reasons that no one else should be touching her food.
One commenter wrote, “In the middle of a pandemic? lol WTF.”
Others say that someone “owes” her lunch.
“Definitely report them to a higher up thats genuinely [f***ed] up,” one person said. “Id be [pi**ed] … 100% angry as [h**l].”
The Redditor continued in her post that when she got angry and said how “unacceptable” it was, her coworker told her “to just shrug it off” and that it’s “to be expected.”
Another comment, which has garnered over 4,000 upvotes, suggests another theory: “I would calmly ask the boss. It could have been the coworker covering her own [a**],” they wrote.