The String Cheese Incident

Yes, I am aware that I’ve titled this post with the name of a early-90’s jam band. If you’re looking for them, go here. If not, read on, or feel free to read on even if you were looking for them…just know that I’m going to discuss an incident that involved an actual piece of string cheese.

As of late, Marc and I have taken to the Sunflower Market for our weekly grocery gathering. We were at first a little put off by the higher prices, but when I got a call from Marc one day that went something like this, I knew it was worth the extra pennies on a pound of apples.

Karen: Hello?

Marc: Hey, have you tried one of those apples yet?

Karen: Yeah…it was awesome.

Marc: I know! I started to eat it, and I was like, ‘Wait a minute…I haven’t eaten an apple that tasted like this since I was a kid.’ I mean, it actually tasted like…an apple.

From that day on, Sunflower Market became our Sunday afternoon grocery shopping ritual — although we do still go to Kroger for our milk and sugar cereals. When we started to really look at our bills, we noticed that it was really a wash between Sunflower and other chain stores like Kroger or Marsh. While some items cost more, others cost less or were at least comparable. And I felt a smidgen better knowing that our bananas weren’t fertilized with sewage sludge and didn’t undergo ionizing radiation — yes, those are two stipulations in the USDA’s “organic labeling” guidelines…so what are they doing to the “normal” produce? Anyhow, I digress.

One of my new favorite products are the Horizon Organic Mozzarella String Cheese Sticks. Now I realize that most people probably stopped eating string cheese when they were, say, eight years old. But I was looking for something to keep around as a quick snack, and these bad boys pack in 8 grams of protein per stick along with 20% of your DRA of calcium. And since I fill up so much more easily now that my baby belly is getting bigger, I often find myself digging for a snack at odd times. So on my way out the door a few weeks ago, I grabbed a couple of cheese sticks to take to work.

Let me explain that my office has one cool feature — we have an unlimited supply of bottled water and soda in our refrigerator. And as far as the free-for-all, that’s where it stops. Folks will bring in their lunches, leftovers, snacks, etc. and leave them in the fridge or the freezer. And since we’re all adults, no one bothers to put their name on their food. I mean, let’s face it, if you don’t remember opening your refrigerator door at home, grabbing a couple of organic cheese sticks, sticking them in your bag and then unloading them into the safe keeping of the butter tray at work, then you probably won’t eat them, right? Wrong. The first time I noticed the offense, I truthfully thought that they had perhaps been thrown out during the routine funk-removal from the work fridge. I would have understood that. The individual cheese packages don’t have an expiration date on them — although I can imagine that string cheese probably has the shelf life of a Twinkie — so I thought that the gals might have pitched them thinking that they were old. And I didn’t think much about it again until yesterday when I went back to the kitchen at work to grab a cheese stick snack towards the end of the day. In the thirty or so yards that comprised my stroll to the kitchen, I had really psyched myself up for this string cheese. I pulled open the door, looked into the butter tray, and nothing. Just two pieces of string cheese that were not mine…no cute little leaping cow on the label.


I was shocked, and my face must have shown it, because a co-worker was walking back that way just as I made my disturbing discovery. Dumbfounded, I glanced his way and said, “Somebody took my cheese stick.” Looking back on the situation, it was probably pretty amusing to hear a grown woman complain of such a school cafeteria-type violation, but he was very sympathetic and even offered me a Clif Bar from his desk. I graciously declined and informed him that I would just eat the banana I had at my desk.  At that point, I was still willing to believe that my first batch of cheese sticks were accidentally pitched and that my third cheese stick had just hastily been nabbed my someone who mistook their own non-leaping-cow-packaged cheese stick for mine.  On my way back, I stopped at a friend’s desk and asked if she happened to bring cheese sticks to work.  She said that she didn’t, so I explained why in the world I was asking about such a random food question.  When I finished my story, she said that my string cheese wasn’t the first item to fall prey to the phantom food snatcher.  Another friend from work had her frozen chicken fingers thieved from the freezer.  Who does that?

It turns out that there is another co-worker who brings string cheese, but when somebody mentioned the whole fiasco, she said that she knew my cheese had a little cow on it.  And I whole-heartedly believe her.  So who is the mystery food thief?  I guess only time will tell.  Maybe if we slipped a little Ex-lax into something really tempting.  Hmm… that’s a thought.


7 responses to “The String Cheese Incident

  1. Oh, that’s awful! I think Ex-lax might be the way to go (ha! no pun intended).

  2. This sort of thing happens at my work all the time also. Who steals from a work fridge? Crazy business! I would so try the ex-lax deal. It would serve the cheese theif right.

  3. Someone stole my diet Mt. Dew out of our work fridge a couple of months ago. I still don’t know who the coward who took it was, and they never replaced it.

  4. How moved Karen’s cheese? I think our boss is trying to send you a business-buzzword-metaphor professional development message.

    I do have a theory about work fridge food robberies. If they are small things that stay in the frig, I think some people think the owner won’t notice if one is missing every day or two. The answer is bigger food and fewer pieces of it. You should start bringing watermelon to work.

  5. Who moved Karen’s Cheese? I meant

  6. I had a terrible string cheese craving this morning (no kidding, just ask Sally) and then I read your blog. OMG.

  7. Lots of people talk about this subject but you wrote down really true words!

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