What Can You Steal from Work? An Office Supplies Compendium

If you’ve ever eyed something in your company’s supply closet and wondered “Can I steal this?”, we’ve compiled this handy compendium to clarify which corporate property theft is widely acceptable, and which are Class A felonies punishable by up to 15 years in prison and $100,000 fines.

Steal From Work

Paper clips

The gold standard in office supply theft. Too numerous to track and too devoid of individual value to pursue disciplinary action, paper clips are a clever choice for entry-level office theft. In fact, if you’re not stuffing your pockets, briefcase and glove compartment with paper clips every day before leaving work, you’re maybe not “management material”. Plus it feels a little thrilling to take something from the company that takes most of your weekends, no?

Larry’s lunch

Stealing a co-worker’s lunch out of the office fridge is generally not ethically “chill” to swipe, but in this particular case in which where Larry has a nasty habit of saying the exact thing you just said in a meeting and taking credit for that idea, and tried to grope you at the office holiday party (which was at one of those make your own craft stores at 11am, with no alcohol present), Martin has forfeited his right to a secure lunch. Eat it right in the break room and dare him to say something. This leftover chicken piccata tastes like justice.

A box of calculators

I mean…I guess you could…you know you have one on your phone, right? And there are literally hundreds of free calculators on the web. And you have like six of them in your kitchen junk drawer at home. Is it just for the thrill of stealing something? Like, you just can’t feel anything anymore unless it’s the adrenaline rush of breaking the law? Hoo boy, you’re a real piece of work.

The coffee maker

Sure, your Keurig broke last week and almost no one uses this one because there’s a coffee kiosk in the building lobby, but this coffee maker is off limits. Not only are they surprisingly difficult to hide under one’s shirt (trust), all communal office coffee makers have been cursed by an ancient shaman, turning the coffee they produce–even if the company springs for the really artisan fair-trade organic stuff–to burnt volcano diesel, with subtle aromas of turtle cage.

Paper shredder

Slap some googly eyes on it, roll it behind you by the cord, and tell everyone it’s your robot executive assistant. You’ll have it loaded in the truck of your Honda Civic before anyone realizes that’s not something someone on your salary could ever afford. Peel out and never look back, baby! You don’t need this job, but you do need this partially jammed, 11-year old machine!

Letter opener

The long, dagger-like silver letter opener would look pretty baller on your desk at home, but is it worth becoming an unfortunate trending topic on Twitter when the sleepy lobby security guard catches the glint of sunlight on the metal in your sock and decides to be a hero? #seesomethingsaysomething

A case of new monitors

What? No! That’s not even a grey area! That’s just straight grand larceny. Make that aggravated grand larceny—you’ve still got that letter opener in your sock. And hey, what’s that under your shir—is that the coffee maker? Have you been listening at all?? You’re really something, you know that? You’re on your own, friend.

About the author

Brooke Preston

Brooke Preston is a comedy writer and satirist. Her work has been featured in McSweeney’s, Reductress, The Second City Network, Men’s Health, The Huffington Post, Romper and more. She is a faculty member at The Second City, where she teaches in the online satire program.

She is a co-founder and editor of The Belladonna, a comedy site by women, for everyone. The editors’ co-wrote their first satirical book, New Erotica for Feminists, available 11/2018 on Plume, a division of Penguin Random House.

Send this to a friend