How She Made Her Millions: Stealing Tea

, , , , , | Working | April 1, 2020

(I work in an assisted living facility. Part of my job is taking care of a small beverage station in the front lobby that is self-serve, although I tend to make the hot drinks for the residents or anyone else who needs the help. In front of the station is a wooden box with different kinds of tea and packets to make hot chocolate. Most people — in fact, everyone I’ve seen except for this one woman — takes one packet, tea bag, or whatever they need for the one drink they’re having at that moment. But this one woman is family of one of the residents, in her 30s or 40s, looks very well-off — expensive brand-name clothing, Coach purse, drives a BMV — and looks fit and healthy. She doesn’t understand the concept of “take one.” She takes ALL of them every time she comes in. She cleans us out. My boss won’t let me directly call her out on it, either. I have finally had enough, so when I see her the next time parking her car and coming in, just after I have unlocked the door, I walk over to the beverage station while she signs in and fuss around straightening it up. I hide the tea bags and hot chocolate packets in the cabinet underneath. She comes up to do her daily “shopping” and…)

Woman: “Oh! Where are the tea packets and the hot chocolate?”

Me: “I’m sorry, we’ve gotten rid of them because someone keeps stealing them all at once and it’s costing us too much money.”

(The woman’s eyes widen and she huffs.)

Woman: “They’re for everyone, aren’t they?!”

Me: *still entirely polite* “Yes, everyone was welcome to take what they needed to make one drink at a time. But someone was taking everything at once, so now no one gets tea or hot chocolate. I’m sorry.” 

(I smiled at her. The woman stomped her foot like a child, got a single cup of black coffee, and stalked off. Petty? Maybe. But the next couple of times I saw her come in, she got her single cup of coffee and went about her visit, ignoring the tea bags and hot chocolate packets I had put back out. Feels like a victory to me.)

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