Larceny in the Office: The Case of the Missing Hot Sauce

by | May 22, 2015 | Featured, Office Life, Words | 3 comments

Working in an office has its upside. I have an extra space where I can dump a lot of junk from home, I get a computer, a cube and a half-decent workspace. Though I work from home some days, I really prefer to do most of my design work at the office because I have a triple-screen set up and better space than I do in our cramped Chicago “condo” (which is really an apartment rebranded with the label “condo” to alter your perception). But the office does have its downside. There are the perpetual interruptions (why must humans be so social?). There’s the Chicago commute akin to an automobile obstacle course. And there are the endless litany of meetings. I can deal with all of that. I can handle all of this. I can even handle the guy two cubes over who smells like Swiss cheese. But what I absolutely detest is the community refrigerator. I have written of this before – Taking out the trash and the office refrigerator.

Recently, I’ve noticed my items disappearing from the refrigerator in the common area. Sometimes slowly. Sometimes they seem to vanish in a short space of time. These are usually my condiments. Like any man – condiments are one of my major food groups. With the exception of a fine steak, I rarely eat anything that is not liberally doused with a condiment. And perhaps my most favored condiment is a good hot sauce.

A few weeks back, I had a fine lunch planned. Anyone who knows me and is familiar with my girth, knows I have a great love of food. I plan my lunch before breakfast right down to the fine details. And this day I had a gourmet bowl of mac and cheese planned with a healthy dousing of Louisiana Hot Sauce. I get everything heated up and then hit the fridge for my trusty bottle of sauce only to discover less than a tablespoon of hot sauce left in the bottom. Someone had obviously been slowly helping themselves to my treasured bottle. So there I was with a hot bowl of mac and cheese – dead in the water with no hot sauce.

I stewed over this for a few hours. I’d never seen anyone using my bottle in the common area and quickly concluded this as a covert operation – clandestine in all ways. Someone had been sneaking into the common area and using my bottle when no one else was present. I was sure that if we had a camera in the common area, I could have captured this scoundrel. I even pictured this person sneaking into the fridge with quick darting glances to and fro whilst they helped themselves to a liberal dose of my beloved elixir. This image alone led me to finally draft the following letter sending it to my entire office.

An Open Letter to Whomever Ate My Hot Sauce

To open, I should complement you on your fine taste in hot sauces. Having spent nearly a year of my life working out of Baton Rouge, I am convinced Louisiana Hot Sauce is one of the best mass produced hot sauces money can buy. A good hot sauce is, I believe, nectar of the gods. So whomever you are, you know a fine hot sauce when you see one…though I am a bit confounded in this compliment. Perhaps it was merely the availability that was a factor and you would have preferred Frank’s or Tabasco brand instead? If so, I can certainly accommodate you in the future, if you’ll only do me a few basic services.
First and foremost, a simple email notification concerning the low level of the sauce would be greatly appreciated and illustrate a fine sense of humanity on your part. There is little so disheartening in this world than to plan one’s lunch hour and the appropriate condiments to accompany it only to discover those condiments have gone the way of the Dodo. In addition, perhaps I could be so bold as to request you not leave less than a tablespoon in the bottle that cannot be extracted by even the most prudent amount of shaking and pounding. As I frantically worked the bottle earlier today, I wondered what sort of person leaves a quarter teaspoon of sauce in the bottle to tease a hot sauce connoisseur such as myself? What is the psychology behind this tactic? Is it so you may employ a defense stating you did not use all of the hot sauce? Oh such a clever one you are.
It is just these few basic rights I wish to claim for myself. But most of all, simply leave me the last serving. You can have all of the hot sauce you’d like. Just leave me a single serving for the emergency mac’n cheese lunch or my famous 2 pound burrito. A man deserves this much, would you not agree?
I am certain with just a minute amount of cooperation, we can right this grievous wrong together – both enjoying copious servings of “fire in a bottle” and ultimately…making the world a better place. Because good hot sauce is like cheese or a fried egg – it just makes everything better.

C.L. Kiess

I then proceeded to draft a Wanted Poster and place it on the refrigerator. I figured being a designer I could put my skills to good use here.

Hot Sauce Wanted Poster

I have since discovered from some cursory research that hot sauce does not need to be refrigerated if it is eaten within a moderate timeframe. I later confirmed this when watching a documentary on Sriracha sauce aptly titled Sriracha. (It’s quite a good documentary, by the way.) This, of course, doesn’t help with my other condiments that must be refrigerated. But, it is one way to foil my would-be hot sauce thief. One battle at a time I theorize.

Fresh Salsa Image image courtesy of Jon Sullivan