Anti-Theft Lunch Bags Make Thieves Think Your Sandwich Is Moldy

You’ve gone to the trouble of being frugal and making your brown bag sandwich at home, then you open the fridge to discover some scoundrel has snatched it. Now thieves will pass over your food if you put it inside an Anti-Theft Lunch Bag, a ziplock bag with green splotches printed on the side. The bandits will think you sandwich is moldy and move on to the next prey. The website says they’re out of stock, but they don’t look too hard to make at home.

Anti-Theft Lunch Bag [thinkofthe]

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  1. Rectilinear Propagation says:

    Yeah, they’ll just get thrown away instead.

    • AnonymousCoward says:

      Exactly. I’m the one who keeps the office fridge clean. I’d just throw it out.

    • danmac says:

      Yes, this is the first thing that came to my mind as well…and the chances of a good citizen accidentally throwing your lunch away is probably greater than that of a thief stealing it.

    • RyGuy1152 says:

      We have an office-wide fridge clean out once a month, and it would just get thrown away. These bags seem like a wasteful idea.

      • RandomHookup says:

        Well, to be honest…wouldn’t almost anything left in the fridge on that day get thrown away? Most companies would do it at the end of the work day, so it would be the person’s fault if it did.

    • MW says:

      Unless you have it in an opaque bag (everyone at my office has some sort of bag or boxy-thing, though that might not happen everywhere)

      If you have it in a bag, then the only people who should be seeing the “mold” are yourself and the would-be thief, and if you placed it right the would never come out of the bag when they snooped. Personally I wouldn’t want all and sunder to think I’d be really eating mold, so I know my “moldy” sandwich would be in some sort of covering.

    • Applekid ┬──┬ ノ( ã‚œ-゜ノ) says:

      Well, if I don’t get to enjoy it, no one else should. It’s called a Pyrrhic Victory.

  2. denros says:

    comma gets it thrown out before you can eat it

  3. Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

    What about a fake frozen meal box that looks like it’s a terrible meal?

  4. framitz says:

    The thief is likely to do you a favor by throwing out your “rotten” lunch instead of stealing it.

  5. Marlin says:

    Sounds great till someone throws your “moldy” lunch away one day.

    If someone has been takign my food I just spike some of it and leave it where the person keeps taking it.

    • spanky says:

      That’s a very popular revenge fantasy, but just in case anyone is seriously considering this, no.

      It is not OK to dose someone, even if they’re a thief, and even if it’s just laxatives or something.

      • mcnerd85 says:

        I write “doctor approved hepatitis friendly meal”

      • Rain says:

        I would never put medication or something on my food. I would just dip into my brother’s hot sauce collection. It’s not my fault if the thief doesn’t like Dave’s Inanity Sauce with his PB&J.

      • Joseph S Ragman says:

        The last time my lunch got stolen, all they got was a cat-food sammich with cheese …

      • shepd says:

        I think it’s also a fantasy to assume that you can’t add drugs to a meal. A doctor could, in fact, prescribe medication to be taken with food, or over the counter medication might even say this.

        Simply make sure a copy of your prescription (with the privacy problems ripped off) is included with your food. Or a copy of the over the counter medication. Along with, of course, how much is in there.

        Perhaps you were bunged up that day? It’s unfair to assume you wouldn’t be.

        Hot sauce is also a great option, along with dog food/cat food, if you don’t want to go with the pills.

        Lucky for me, nobody steals from our fridge. If they did, I’d just buy a toolbox + lock, and lock up my food in it, and then put the toolbox in the fridge. Yeah, it’d take up a lot of space. Yeah, there’d be a note on it explaining that it’s due to the office thief. And if it that got stolen, I expect HR would be interested in firing someone that steals things like that (it’s a little more serious than a sandwich).

        • spanky says:

          Yes, you could make up some pretext for adding drugs to your food, thereby getting away with dosing someone for the crime of stealing your lunch.

          But even if you get away with it, it’s still messed up to intentionally dose someone. Go ahead and make something gross if you really need to get revenge, but putting medication in food with the intention of dosing someone is not just illegal, it’s potentially dangerous.

          If it helps, ask yourself how you’d feel if a coworker were hypoglycemic and needed to get some food ASAP before they lapsed into a coma, and someone grabbed your spiked food to give them.

          • FredKlein says:

            it’s still messed up to intentionally dose someone.

            And stealing people’s lunches isn’t messed up?

            If the thief didn’t STEAL, they wouldn’t have eaten whatever was in there. Their being ‘dosed’ is completely up to them.

            Now, I do agree that ‘dosing’ food and then OFFERING it to someone is bad.

  6. sonneillon says:

    I write stool sample on the bag, and if I think it needs to pass cursory inspection I may wipe part of a melted snickers bar on the bag too.

  7. El-Brucio says:

    I always used to hide my lunch in old frozen-vegetable bags.

    They have the benefit of being opaque, so nobody wants to open one in case it really does contain vegetables. Vegetables are scary.

    • ellemdee says:

      Everyone always scoffs at my vegetarian meals and soy yogurt in the fridge at work. People really do fear the veggies, with bonus “fear” points if it also contains tofu.

  8. Hooray4Zoidberg says:

    A guy I used to work with had a brilliant plan to keep people from using his milk, he wrote “I spit in this” on the side of it. Then when he came back for it the next day it said “Me too”.

    • GrayMatter says:

      I thought that was my beer at a bar when I had to use the restroom

    • PTB315 says:

      Googling ["i spit in this" so did I] without the brackets results in at least 5 different versions of the same premise. Don’t take other peoples jokes and retell them as a personal story. It just makes you look weird to anyone who’s heard that joke before.

  9. rage says:

    I wrap my sandwiches in my security briefs.
    http://www.merch-bot.com/security-briefs.html?source=googleps

  10. pecan 3.14159265 says:

    Why would anyone want to eat someone else’s lunch? If people count on them being the only ones eating it (cause it’s their lunch), they’re more prone to be okay with bread that’s been dropped on the counter, lunchmeat that is past its expiration date, or other things that those people would not otherwise find acceptable if they were preparing foods for other people (like a potluck or office party).

    • Happy Tinfoil Cat says:

      We had one lady who ate only other people’s food. She was difficult to catch, but when they did catch her a mob formed. They demanded to know “Why?”. She responded that she was hungry. She spent all her money on cocaine and none on food.

    • RandomHookup says:

      Seems lots of people do…It’s the number one complaint about the workplace in some surveys:

      http://www.todaysworkplace.org/2010/02/01/what-is-the-biggest-complaint-at-work/

    • kosmo @ The Soap Boxers says:

      I heard about this happening at my workplace a few years before I started there. Someone wiped out another person’s stash of frozen dinners and hid the crime by leaving the boxes behind.

      The victim was one of the nicest people in the office, making the crime even more senseless.

      Sometimes, people are just trying to be a-holes, just for the sport of it.

    • CFinWV says:

      It happens where I work. We had a case where someone ate HALF of someone else’s sandwich. WTH?

  11. myCatCracksMeUp says:

    I’ve heard that there are places where some people will steal someone else’s lunch, but fortunately I’ve never worked at a place where that ever happened.

    Whether they work or not, these bags are really expensive at $8 for 25. If you have a problem with stolen lunches, I’d try some cheaper remedies first.

    • pecan 3.14159265 says:

      I’ve never had anyone steal my lunch. I have a really awesome neoprene lunchbag, too, so it’s not hard to spot.

    • cosby says:

      When I worked in retail as a notebook tech I saw it happen a few times. Didn’t happen that often though. If it happened to me more then a few times I’d spike the food somehow.

    • MaxH42 thinks RecordStoreToughGuy got a raw deal says:

      A cat food and laxative sandwich with extra habaneros is cheaper and more effective. One bite of that should permanently cure anyone of the desire to eat other peoples’ sandwiches.

      • spanky says:

        Public service announcement: Unpalatable food is OK, dosed food is not.

        So go ahead with the cat food and habaneros, but skip the laxative.

        • psm321 says:

          You sound like you’ve been on the wrong side of this before. Why is this not ok? If I have some medication I need to take and like to put it inside my food when I prepare it to make it easier, what’s wrong with that?

          • spanky says:

            Whoa, seriously? Is your moral development really so stunted that you assume that only a lunch thief would take exception to that practice?

            That is messed up, but no. I have never stolen anyone’s food, and I have actually even had food stolen from me at work.

            But I am a grownup, and I understand that intentionally dosing someone with medication is way out of proportion to the crime of lunch theft. I wouldn’t rig up my mailbox to explode the next time someone hits it with a baseball bat, either.

            If you’re incapable of seeing what’s wrong with it on its face, just know that it’s illegal, and you could get in really big trouble if you did it.

            • Bog says:

              What is illegal about it? It’s your food, you have a right to not be burgled. If someone steals clearly marked items as someone else’s food then they do so at their own risk. It is not out of proportion, it is totally fair. It teaches a good lesson to the thief.

              Would I fire an employee who used a creative method to find someone who was stealing lunches; no, I’d encourage it. But I would fire in an instant any thief. There’s no reason whatsoever for people making more then $50k/yr. to steal anyone’s lunches.

              An exploding mailbox‽ That is ridiculous, but making a mailbox out of solid steel and cement is totally worth it. Yes, the mailbox baseball player will have a gimpy arm for the rest of his life, but at least HE won’t play that game again.

  12. AnonymousCoward says:

    It might be more effective (and more fun) to rig up a webcam in the fridge, so everyone can watch what happens in there.

  13. thedarkerside.to says:

    Before I started working from home and brought my lunch in, I never felt the need to put it in the fridge, I just had it at my desk.

    So why are people so obsessed with putting their lunch for three or four hours into a common fridge?

    • AnonymousCoward says:

      Food poisoning maybe? A sandwich with meat or mayo will become a bacteria factory by lunchtime.

      • Im Just Saying says:

        Not true, modern day mayo has so much vinegar in it, it actually works as a preservative.

      • Applekid ┬──┬ ノ( ã‚œ-゜ノ) says:

        Poppycock. (ha ha! I actually used that word!)

        People ate food without refrigeration for many many hundreds of years. Personally, I make little bento boxes (part of an attempt to not be bigger than a house) that are meant to be consumed at room temperature. And these bento contain meats and mayo and all sorts of things that can survive a good 6 hours in my drawer without becoming a petri-dish.

      • magus_melchior says:

        As others pointed out, you need a higher temperature and hours of incubation to turn exposed food into a huge colony of bacteria. So unless your office is at a balmy 98 degrees and you arrive at work at 6 in the morning and consume lunch at 12, you’re probably safe.

        To wit, Japanese bento is rarely refrigerated, because it’s prepared hot and is meant to be eaten within a day.

        • pecan 3.14159265 says:

          It’s not 98 degrees kind of warm in my office, but it is pretty warm until the air conditionin kicks in later in the morning and some people are here by 6 and don’t eat until 12.

    • Happy Tinfoil Cat says:

      To keep it cold.

    • pecan 3.14159265 says:

      Because certain things need to be kept cold. Anything with dairy and meat needs to be kept in the fridge. I carry my lunch in a neoprene Built bag (builtny.com) and it keeps it cold when I take it out of the fridge in the morning.

      • pecan 3.14159265 says:

        I forgot to specify, though, that it doesn’t replace a fridge. I put the bag in the fridge when I get to work.

      • Kimaroo - 100% Pure Natural Kitteh says:

        Those lunch bags are super cute! Thanks, I’ve been looking for a new one… I was leaning towards LLBean but these might be better.

    • RandomHookup says:

      I’m sure some of it’s habit and not wanting to have it go bad if you forget it. Sometimes folks bring in several frozen meals and keep them in there for the week. Most of my meals at work are leftovers from meetings the day before.

      I used to work in an office right next to the break room and it’s amazing what would get thrown out. I watched the cleaning guy throw away packages of really good frozen meals…but everyone had been warned repeatedly it was cleaning day.

  14. Nigerian prince looking for business partner says:

    I can’t imagine working somewhere where somebody would steal a sandwich. I could probably understand stealing prepackaged things but a sandwich or potato chips in a zip lock?

    At my job, the issue is more along the lines of accidental issues related to an over stuffed refrigerator and freezer. If you eat frozen lunches or have a case of soda, you pretty much need to sharpie your name on them since they all look the same.

    • Happy Tinfoil Cat says:

      Much of the time, the spouse packs the lunch and you have no idea which bag is yours.
      “Honey, the sandwich you made for my lunch today was deeeelish!”
      “Sandwich?”

      • pecan 3.14159265 says:

        What’s hilarious is that when I get to work, I’ll open the fridge to put in my brightly colored lunchbag and the shelves are covered with lunches, all wrapped in white or tan grocery bags. I guess you recognize yours by where you put it (heaven forbid anyone move your lunch to fit their bag into the fridge) or by some special knot. Or maybe radar.

    • jessjj347 says:

      same.

  15. richcreamerybutter says:

    As a product, this is amazing! I love that someone was inspired to see this through to production. I’ve actually used this deception technique when bringing homemade leftovers (such as saag paneer) in a stained plastic container. When you’re surrounded by people who prefer frozen Lean Cuisine or Jenny Craig cardboard lunches, it works nicely.

  16. Robofish says:

    Or you could just put an ice pack in your lunch box and not worry about using the fridge

  17. womynist says:

    It’s so sad that as adults, we have to worry about other adults stealing our food. How low is that? I’ve had it happen in the past, and it sucks! Luckily, I now work in an office with only 5 other people, and we all have lunch together.

    • pecan 3.14159265 says:

      Do you ever trade food, 4th grade cafeteria table style?

    • ShadowFalls says:

      You know, I actually find it kind of sad. To take someone else’s lunch you know that is not yours and eat it is disgusting. You have to think about the low morals of a person who would do such a thing.

      Fortunately I never encountered the problem as there is a zero tolerance for theft, company or personal property.

  18. Warren - aka The Piddler on the Roof says:

    I think I’ve seen these in stores.

    They’re right next to the shit stain stickers to keep people from stealing your underwear.

  19. Pax says:

    (A) old news, this product has been around for over a year now.

    (B) How is this a Consumerist news item, anyway? It looks more like an advertisement to me.

    • pecan 3.14159265 says:

      Because people buy food and when other people eat the food you buy, it sucks, and we get angry?

      It’s not an advertisement so much as it’s highlighting a (kinda) solution to a common problem in the workplace.

      • Pax says:

        I thought the Consumerist was about consumer-corporate interactions (the Good and the Really Bad alike), not about anything that makes us unhappy.

        *shrug*

        • RandomHookup says:

          The mission isn’t limited to consumer-corporate interactions. Some of them are consumer-government interactions and sometimes it’s neat things that pop up in the market. It’s like a smorgasbord!

  20. Happy Tinfoil Cat says:

    I have a little fridge under my desk. Neeener neeener ;^P

  21. MTFaye says:

    I remember when I used to work in an office setting, and got my lunch stolen multiple times. The last stray was when I made some dumplings. I worked extra early that day, and didn’t get to take my lunch break until late. I opened the fridge to find some a-hole tore open the paper bag with my name on it, and ate the entire contents of my lunch. So, the next day, I made more. This time, I filled them with ROCKS instead of pork, and left them. The same thing happened; bag was torn open and food was gone. I only hope they got what was coming to them, in the form of a chipped tooth.

  22. psm321 says:

    Is workplace lunch theft really that big of a problem that everyone seems to have come up with different strategies? I’ve never seen it myself…

  23. Charmander says:

    Love it!

  24. Bkhuna says:

    Brilliant.

  25. Alessar says:

    One of my co-workers had her lunch opened, several bites taken, and the rest put back. I think she needs this.

  26. CFinWV says:

    They need one of those lunch-locker gizmos. =p

  27. Eli the Ice Man says:

    This is enough of an issue that this is necessary?

  28. consumerd says:

    This is why I keep a fridge in my cube at work. if it’s my personal fridge no one should be accessing it for my lunch!

  29. HogwartsProfessor says:

    In Beverly Cleary’s children’s book Dear Mr. Henshaw, the kid rigged up an old lunch box of his father’s, the kind with a domed top, with an alarm system. He set the alarm and when the thief opened the box, BRRRRRRRRRIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIINNNNNNNNNNGGGGG!!!!! BUSTED!

    I don’t recall if the thief was ID’d, but no one messed with his lunch after that!