I read an article many years ago in which a psychiatrist wrote that the reason children steal from their parents (e.g., money from wallets/handbags, expensive cosmetics) is that they're not getting the love they need and want, and the object they steal is a surrogate for the missing love. That article came to mind the other day in the context of free lunch in the office.
The proposal center has more "war rooms" (i.e., meeting rooms for proposal development teams) than we actually need, given the small number of proposals in the works at any given time. So folks from all parts of the company frequently use those rooms for meetings. And they usually ask our AA to order lunch for them. So there's often lots of good food in the office. This is why most of us are dieting!
Since we're not getting the "love" (read: respect, management, leadership, bonuses/good raises, and truth) we need from our manager, we're "stealing" it. Like long-lost desert wanderers spotting an oasis, we rush to the kitchen as soon as the catered lunch arrives, stealing some of the food before the meeting folk get to it.
This prompted our manager to fire off this missive:
"If you are not a participant of the meeting being conducted, please do not take from the catering before checking with me first. We have received several complaints that the food has been picked over before the attendees have had a chance to eat. Others can eat only AFTER ALL of the participants from the meeting have taken their food."
My response to my coworkers reflects the group's sentiment:
"I guess WE THE UNWASHED probably shouldn’t even COME OUT OF OUR CAVES AND POLLUTE THE AIR until the Lords and Ladies of the Manor are safely ensconced in the Castle Towers.
"I remain Budrick, the unworthy and filthy servant of My Beneficent Lady of Fairfaxshire"