The Hunger Games


Dear Dharma,

Not sure this is a big deal but there is a situation I cannot forget and it still bugs me that I did not interfere.

Friends of mine invited family and friends to their housewarming. Everyone knows they are pretty tight on money but they still managed to put together a nice spread, which was very generous of them.

While we were there, I caught one of their friends raiding the buffet and putting food in her purse! And to make things even worse… she had a Tupperware container in her purse as if this was not her first buffet raid! She saw me watch her but carried on anyway.

I am kicking myself for not blowing her cover. How can you steal food from someone like my friends who try so hard to provide a nice spread for us while they are struggling. It’s not like she stole from a big hotel buffet.

I didn’t tell my friends yet but am so tempted to rat this ‘friend’ out. Will I look petty if I do anything now?

Stealing from Peter

Dear Peter,

It really depends on why you want to tell them, assuming they don’t already know…  Are you hoping they will fly into a rage and expose this beast for what she is, or do you just want them to know… because… they should know?

There are a few variables to consider as well, as we decide if you should tell your friends or not.  Like, do we know that the thieving friend isn’t worse off than the hosts? Perhaps the food she smuggled was being taken home to her hungry kids.  You don’t know..

Some might say that wouldn’t matter, stealing is stealing – except you’ve already said it’s okay to steal from big hotels, so clearly we’re colouring within blurred lines.

Bottom line, I really don’t know what good it would do anyone to make a big deal out of this.  If there was a way to bring it up nonchalantly, as opposed to “ratting her out” as you seem to want to do, that might be acceptable.  “Your housewarming was great, had such a good time!  And what a gas to watch Sylvie fill up that container in her purse – is that something she does all the time?”

Yeah, I don’t know… Except I do know that making it look like you want her punished won’t come off as well as you might think.  Making it light and fun might be alright.

For what it’s worth though, I agree with you.  Any time you leave the house packing Tupperware, it ain’t your first rodeo…



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  • Buffet King says:

    I just gotta say, you seem to think that there is no difference with taking food from a buffet at an event and taking food from a friends house. I have to side with the letter writer, at an event at a hotel or conference, the food is provided for a set umber of people. Once it is set out, it can’t be reused for anything else, and has been paid for. As long as you aren’t taking food off someone else’s plate, you are basically keeping it out of the landfill. I say this is totally different from taking it off your host’s leftover dinner the next evening.

    I do agree though that there is very little upside to ratting out the one friend, and lots of potential to appear as some kind of mega dick.

    • Dharma says:

      The point Dharma was going for is that really, taking food is taking food… isn’t it? Is the only point of contention that it was being taken from a friend and not an establishment?

  • Anonymous says:

    You know my reaction is “disgust” but, to play devils advocate, they did put the food out for their guests so, is there a big difference between standing at the table eating or putting it in your purse. Maybe this person is having money problems too.
    Don’t get me wrong, I would never do it but, I have hosted enough events to be happy to see the food get eaten.
    Maybe this person bought them a fantastic house warming gift….people still give gifts at house warming don’t they.
    Personally if I saw someone doing it and it bugged me, I would just walk up to them and say, “wow, where did you get the container, I didn’t realize that we could take the food home while people are still eating…..” No response from the culprit will be necessary as they got the point….

    • Dharma says:

      It feels different to offer my guests leftovers as opposed to them sneakily stashing away food in a container in their purse…

      I definitely agree that we don’t know both sides to the story, and that the Tupperware lady could be taking it for a variety of reasons…

      Thanks for the comment!

Whether you agree with Dharma or think she missed the mark on this one, leave a Comment!

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