What do you call cheese that doesn't belong to you? (Etiquette) [General]

2009 Aug 13
nacho (not your) cheese!!

On a more serious note, I have a hypothetical question about food-sharing.

What do you do when someone opens, and consumes, food that wasn't technically intended for them?

This could be anything from my friend who has had her roommate use the last of her milk and put the carton back empty, leaving my friend with dry cereal for dinner to more severe things, such as the occassion my parents consumed a bottle of wine we brought back from Europe, which was not intended for them.

Obviously it depends a lot of who, and what. But, how do you even begin to address this issue without coming across as being accusatory?

2009 Aug 13
One could get a new roomate or new parents, perhaps? =;0)

2009 Aug 13
Is this post an indirect way of confronting said person, on the off chance that said person reads this forum? ;)

Seriously though, in the years I had a roomie, this rarely ever happened since we got along rather famously and knew exactly what each other ate/bought from the grocery store. If there were things NOT TO BE CONSUMED by the other person, we would make special note of it via verbal notification (and sometimes using post-its). Pantry items, daily staples, etc, were so hard to keep track of that we just replaced each others stuff if we ever consumed the last of it (we lived down the street from few different convenience stores & a small grocery).

2009 Aug 13
Sheesh BrunchLady.. you've just been married, and you're already trying to fence off territory in the fridge from your husband? Technically my unbiased ( not ) opinion is that your husband is perfectly within his rights to eat or drink whatever he can find your your shared abode. ;-)

2009 Aug 13
Poison the food next time ... not arsenic, that could get you an unwanted trip to Kingston ... just something to keep them on the thrown and bent over into the bathtub for a few days.

That-al-teach-em !!

2009 Aug 13
Is this post an indirect way of confronting said person, on the off chance that said person reads this forum? ;)

Nope. Not a chance. Just had a lot of very interesting experiences with etiquette this weekend, and this was one that I felt merited some discussion, because I know a lot of people who have had food taken from them by roomies, etc.

Technically my unbiased ( not ) opinion is that your husband is perfectly within his rights to eat or drink whatever he can find your your shared abode.

Particularly because he buys the groceries, Pete.


So, in short, I had my chance to rant. But seriously now, have any of your been the subject of a food theft?

2009 Aug 13
Make some chocolates with lots of ex lax in 'em :-)

2009 Aug 13
Captain C - Funny typo... "thrown" vs "throne".

Pete-In-Ottawa - Good catch!

Lady Who Brunches - BTW, this doesn't just happen in the "roomie" world, it also is a factor in many offices that have a "community" fridge... part of the reason that the Activia ad with the gal hiding her yogurt under an empty OJ container is so funny (real-life).

2009 Aug 13
F&T - Funny you should bring up the office fridge thieves, I've had worse experiences at work than in my own home! Unreal! In a professional environment! Who the hell steals their coworkers food?! The work fridge is like a public school fridge now, with everyone's names on their lunch bags, etc. My bodum was swiped from the kitchen one day as well. Pretty sad...

2009 Aug 13
My bodum was swiped from the kitchen one day as well.

That's pretty sad.

On the other hand, there's nothing worse than someone who thinks that bottle of salad dressing you brought into work (homemade or otherwise) is fair game. Argh.

2009 Aug 14
i, for one, welcome back the Captain w/ his ever sage advice.

2009 Aug 14
LWB - if it was someone who was around alot like a roommate I would make a point of asking them not to take certain items but not make a big fuss about the last event. If it was visitors - such as parents, I'd just be sorry for the loss and forget about it.

If it was continuous - yeah some little surprises in the food can go along way :)

2009 Aug 14
This is an interesting topic...but I think there are two issues here: people accidentally consuming food they mistakenly thought was theirs to share and people flat out stealing items that do not belong to them.

It's okay with me if my husband were to eat the leftover Chinese food I had intended to consume for dinner. If it was an honest mistake / oversight, I have no problem with it. I do the groceries but my husband is free to eat anything in the house unless I have placed it off limits for a special event or recipe.

Immediate family, close friends, and extended family do not have a free pass in my kitchen / pantry and I would always expect them to ask before helping themselves. Let me be clear - I usually say "please make yourself at home" the moment they step in my door and will flag any off limit items (ie: "keep your paws off those cookies on the counter because they're for work..."). I can't imagine any family member or friend ever being so socially awkward as to just take / eat something that wasn't theirs...

Roomates and colleagues are a completely different story:

I have had lunch / beverage items stolen right out of the fridge at work (sometimes the items are even marked with my name). That's not a mistake. That's stealing and, in my opinion, not okay. If you're hungry / thirsty and unable to purchase your own food, at least have the human decency to ask permission before you swipe my stuff. Thieves.

I have also had a roomate MAKE a brownie mix I had in the cupboard, EAT said brownies and then put the EMPTY BOX back on the shelf (as if it had been untouched). Let me tell you, the day I went to make those brownies (and found an empty box) I was not a happy camper. That event triggered a landslide of mistrust that resulted in passworded computers and locks on bedroom doors. So glad my "roomate" days are done.

In a roomate situation, I preferred staples (salt / pepper / flour / tea / coffee filters) to be communal and replaced on an ad hoc basis (ie: you use the last one, you replace it). In my opinion, milk / butter / eggs and other food items are not communal unless specified as such.

I am never adverse to sharing as long as it's respectful.

2009 Aug 15
I agree with the others- if it doesn't belong to you and you say nothing about it, it's theft.

In the past, I have used things that have belonged to roommates- anything significant, I would replace it. A negligable amount, I would just tell them- I needed to use some of your.... Often, the person didn't care but I left it open to them if they wanted some sort of compensation for say, 1/2 cup of milk.

As for the office, if you are borrowing something on a regular basis, it's time to buy your own.

The missing bodum is flat out theft.

LWB- My parents did the same thing with a bottle of wine I brought back from France- I was given it as a gift. My father had the nerve to say, "it wasn't very good." He has also been known to drink any liquor that I leave around their house- clearly not purchased by him despite that there are plenty of other things available and a liquor store within 5 minute drive. I don't drink that often and when I do come to their house I have maybe 2 oz out of a bottle of vodka which is gone the next time I come. Too bad I didn't have a thing for single malt scotch, I'm sure that would put an end to drinking others liquor.

2009 Aug 17
I tend to consider normal beverages (coffee, tea, water, milk) as being free for all to consume. Additionally, I tend to lump all additives to those beverages (sugar, honey or milk) as being equally free. I don't think there is much of a problem if someone uses a teaspoon of milk for their coffee for instance, especially as the stuff does go bad.

Alcohol is quite a different matter though. That is definitely on invitation only. I tend to invite, but that is my perogative.

2009 Aug 17
Jagash, that's pretty well how our group of friends work: Non-alcoholic bevvies are without question, and alcoholic on offer (which they nearly always are).

My parents are odd when it comes to sharing of things. They don't want to feel as though they are "subsidizing" my husband and I, and have told us many a time that we should BYOB, and so forth, which is oh-so-strange because we offer them bevvies whenever they come by.

The comical thing about the situation that spurred this original topic, is that we are pretty sure they replaced the item and simply never told us about opening/eating the original item (we heard about the opening of said item from friends). So, forgive and forget, yes. But, still, comical.

2009 Aug 18
My children have trouble with roomates nicking food, etc. It never seems to be reported unless it is 1) homemade 2)meat or 3)alcohol. Daughter has resolved by becoming vegetarian and stashing food in her room, sons each have a small mini fridge in their room...at my work, we have a policy; if you need to borrow something replace immediately (not so easy when you work 25k from a grocery store)