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This Is Truly Next-Level Entitlement

, , , , , | Working | October 28, 2021

A few years ago, I worked the night shift in a hospital. It was a large-ish hospital but operated like the small-town place it originally started as. For example, even though it was a twenty-four-hour hospital, the coffee shop and cafeteria both closed at 6:00 pm. This was about an hour before the night shift started, so we all had to bring in our own food.

I was warned on my very first shift that one of the housekeeping staff was a notorious food thief and considered anything left in the nurse’s lounge fridge or cabinets to be fair game. It didn’t matter if it was wrapped in a bag with your name written on it and sealed in hazard stickers; she would help herself to it if she liked it. If we ordered pizza or Chinese food, she’d rush into the break room and grab a double portion of it before the people who’d paid for the food got to it. She even — apparently on more than one occasion — sliced pieces off cakes and grabbed cupcakes that had been brought in for people’s birthdays before the intended recipient ever got to see them. She had worked there for years and was friends with her supervisor, and she never stole from the other housekeepers, so nothing was ever done.

After I’d worked there for a few years, a new product came on the market. It was basically a cooler-sized plastic cage with a padlock that was meant to protect your food from thieves and was advertised to be strong enough to keep a hungry bear out. After we saw the infomercial for it, the night shift staff all ordered ourselves these wonderful food cages. Suddenly, food was safe! We could bring in cupcakes for people’s birthdays and lock them up and know they’d be there for our lunch break. Anytime delivery food was ordered, we made sure to have someone meet the driver at the door and lock up the food before carrying it to our floor. We actually got to eat every last bite of the food we’d paid for! It was glorious!

Then, we got a notice from the housekeeping supervisor that a serious disciplinary matter needed to be brought before the entire night shift staff and we were to stay after work one day so the day shift supervisors could also be present. We had no idea what this was about. When we all dutifully marched into the main meeting room to discuss this serious matter, we saw the food thief sitting with her supervisor friend, and both were scowling at us.

Housekeeping Supervisor: “[Thief] has a serious grievance against the staff for discrimination and theft.”

While we sat there gobsmacked, [Thief] stood up and proceeded to complain.

Thief: “You’ve all been locking up your food and not letting me eat it anymore!”

She seriously stood there and complained for five or six minutes straight about how she hadn’t been able to help herself to our food for weeks, and she knew we were only locking up our lunches to keep her from taking what she wanted.

Her supervisor sat there with her mouth hanging open while our supervisors were clearly trying not to laugh. The rest of us were either trying not to laugh or sitting with our mouths open in pure disbelief. Thief concluded her complaint by demanding the food cages be banned. I really wish I could have been a fly on the wall for the rest of the conversation, but we were told to go home at that point. The next shift I worked, I was informed that [Thief] had been transferred to the day shift so the day housekeeping supervisor could keep an eye on her. Also, the day shift nursing and secretarial staff had all ordered food cages.