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The Tufts Daily
Where you read it first | Monday, May 27, 2024

Charlotte Steinway | S0S

Dear SOS,

I was intrigued by an article that was published in the Daily a couple of days ago regarding stealing food from the dining hall. Since I'm a freshman, I get unlimited meals and go to the dining hall whenever I get hungry — I've never really thought about taking food for mid-meal snacks. Even though, as you guys point out, the act of stealing snacks raises some ethical (and legal) questions, I'm feeling rebellious and want to take advantage of all that food at my disposal. How can I get away with taking stuff without getting caught?



Stealin' Sustenance


Dear Stealin' Sustenance,

Ah, the unlimited meal plan. I miss those three semesters of eating Carms' stir fry, Dewick's Sunday sundaes, and Belgian waffles at all hours of the day. So you know what? Looking back, I say go for it. Take what you can — just don't get caught, and leave enough for the rest of us.

Basically, stealing from the dining hall is an act that varies in degrees of both creativity and skill — two qualities that should go hand in hand during your Carms kleptomania and Dewick debauchery.

At the rudimentary level, for all you goody two-shoes out there, there is the level of "stealing" that is probably not even close to being illegal: such as filling a Nalgene or taking an apple on the way out. And if you're going to partake in the former, at least fill your Nalgene with SOMETHING of substance, so as to get some bang for your buck. Filling it with water is too simple; you could do that at any water fountain without ever having to swipe your ID card. On a side note, there is one place on campus that you could actually "steal" water from. Mediterranean restaurant by day, sneak attack raging dance club by night, the Hotung Café is probably the only place on the entire Eastern seaboard that charges more than 10 cents for a cup of water — they charge $1.35. And the reason, you ask? (I did.) "It's filtered." Oh riiiiiiight, (I thought), good, because now I know I'm not drinking straight from the Mystic River.

In terms of Nalgene fillings, you have a world of options at your fingertips: a liter of caffeinated soda for late-night library sessions, or orange juice to help get you through the morning, or even that peach/mango sunrise concoction that is secretly THE BEST chaser. Just make sure you wash out your (eco-friendly) liquid container of sorts after use — I found out the hard way. Two-week old iced coffee smells surprisingly like fermented feta cheese.

If you're looking for more of an adventurous steal, look into the realm of nourishment that can be napkin-contained, i.e. a cookie, a sandwich, a quesadilla, you name it. The key to wrapping involves three or more napkins: make sure they are unfolded and spaced properly to cover all angles of the object in question. And BTDubs: Panini-ed sandwiches hold together better in transit, while non-panini-ed ones tend to be less cohesive and thus run the risk of a backpack breakdown.

The third level of theft involves a little more preparation on your part, in the form of a backpack, a fleet of Ziploc bags and myriad Tupperware containers. What you choose to put in them, however, is up to you: I have a friend who recently took an entire week's worth of lunchmeats, cheeses, breads and fillings and put them all in assorted forms of Tupperware. But a maneuver like that requires not only facility for containment, but confidence on the part of the thief, as well. Not just anyone can walk all the way to his seat with a plate piled with bologna; anyone who's anyone knows that his plate at the dining hall is a direct window to his soul.

--Charlotte Steinway is a junior majoring in sociology. She can be reached at