Stealing the Company Coffee Cup

It’s often the little things that tempt us down the road of evil. For me, it’s nicely designed barware.

Here I am, once again, coveting someone else’s ceramic. I know it’s technically wrong to steal, but this mug is so tempting with its shiny red exterior and tiny robot graphic on the front. Beyond its attractive appearance, it’s the ideal size and shape for transporting the perfect amount of piping hot liquid from my kitchen to the living room sofa where I slowly wake myself up every morning. If this were just some restaurant, I’d have no such moral dilemma to speak of. Unfortunately, this mug belongs to my employer and I really don’t want to get caught smuggling company swag.

Together, my Dad and I have boosted pint glasses and coffee mugs from nearly every casual dining establishment in the Upper Midwest. It started as an innocent dare and has blossomed into a full-fledged addiction. Both of us are raging book worms and this is how we ‘act out’ after a few too many Fat Tires.

My greatest victory came in the form of an orange coffee cup from our favorite Dutch-themed burger joint in Wauwatosa. Stacks of them were tempting me near the entrance of the ladies room. I worked out a plan to casually saunter over to the pile, check my surroundings for onlookers and snatch one off the top while coolly gliding into the bathroom where I would cram it into my purse undetected.

However, I’m not sneaky and I look horribly guilty when I know I’m doing something wrong. Instead of completing the task in one swift movement as planned, I darted over to the mugs and hid behind them for a good two minutes before working up the nerve to reach up and grab one. I returned to the table victorious, yet unable to make eye contact with our server for the rest of the evening.

While some frown upon stealing the things you want, this story makes me chuckle every time I think about it. The shiny red mug is now speaking to me and I must make it my own. This time around, the plan will be simple and formulaic: calmly put the mug in my bag at the end of the day, casually walk out the door and aggressively avoid direct eye contact with everyone in HR for the duration of my employment.

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