Some 30 years ago I survived a road trip from Boston to Fort Lauderdale with my dad’s mom, Lillian “Lil the thrill” Daley. One memory that lingers, perhaps because the event itself did, is sitting in an orange roofed restaurant having breakfast for 3 freakin’ hours! I was waiting tables at the time (no, not at that moment), so I empathized with the poor waitress who wouldn’t be able to serve another 3-4 parties that morning because Lil wanted to drink 12 cups of tea from the same teabag, write postcards and affix ten cent stamps. Before she pushed her sub five foot firecracker frame out of the booth, Nana dropped about sixty cents onto the table while almost simultaneously emptying the sugar boat of all the white and pink paper packets. Out the door, I pulled the “Oh, I forgot blah, blah, blah” and dropped some paper of my own on the table.

I don’t think I challenged the saccharine stealing. I may have dismissed it as depression era hoarding behavior, but I’ll never forget it.

Recently our office Keurig coffee makers were all replaced by Flavia brand brewers. Word on the street is that employees were helping themselves to the little cone shaped coffees for use in their home machines. Oh, and they also were copping condiments (now available in white, pink, blue and yellow like Monopoly money) and the quarts of half and half! Man… If we can’t police ourselves to not break bad for home coffee breaks, aren’t we headed to some ugly, caffeinated sugar high anarchy?

I’ve had little luck getting anyone in this apparently widespread criminal conglomerate “lo zucchero famiglia” to speak out. They cite some crap about a “cane code of silence.” I did get one person to speak, but only anonymously. This particular individual’s rationale is that they “don’t drink coffee at the office,” and therefore “only take my share” as if they did. I asked what they’d do if they caught someone they managed “taking their share.” “Well, how many did they take?” Hmmmm… Sounds like some serious rationalization going on to me.

So, where do you stand on sweetener swiping? Theft or workplace benefit to be enjoyed at a home coffee establishment of your choice?