Is Your Employer Stealing From You, One Soda at a Time?

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An Allentown woman is now serving 57 months in prison for stealing from her employer – to the tune of $1.6 million over the course of an entire decade. That being said, many employees feel it’s really no big deal to raid the supply cabinet and bring home the occasional box of pens, tablets, or other office supplies. Even though it’s stealing nevertheless.

Did you ever wonder why your employer often looks the other way when he knows you’re absconding with an occasional box of pens or paperclips? I think I do.

Perhaps it’s because while you’re clandestinely working your petty pilfering skills at his expense, he’s stealing enough cash from you to more than make up for all the highlighters and correction tape you’re walking out the door with.

Odds are he’s probably doing it in the open too, right in front of everybody.

I watch my employer openly steal from a co-worker of mine on a daily basis. Sometimes it’s $1.25, but most days he gets taken for $2.50.

Okay, Len, what the heck are you talking about?

I’m talking about the soda machine. Where I work they spit out 20-ounce bottles for $1.25 a pop (no pun intended). Talk about highway robbery.

Why would anybody continue to buy sodas from the company soda machine, especially when you consider it really is not too difficult to find 12-packs of 12-ounce cans for $5 or so (after taxes and recycle fees)?

Let’s say my co-worker works 48 weeks per year, five days per week, and averages one soda per day. That means he’s paying our employer $300 per year so he can get his daily root beer fix at work. Assuming my co-worker brought his own root beer to work (like I do) at a cost of $5 per 12-pack, he would save himself $200 per year.

Two hundred dollars!

So who, exactly, is stealing from whom?

Now here’s some friendly advice: Before you go complaining to the boss that he’s ripping you off, tally the numbers, just to be sure.

Of course, I trust you’ll be using your own pencil and paper.

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Comments & discussion

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  • Amy Lewis

    This might depend on whose soda machine it is. It might be the vending route person who’s “ripping you off,” not your employer. But you’re paying for convenience. It’s not theft, the way that stealing a box of pens for home use is.

  • pholden11

    Your articles on here are usually relevant, accurate and well-written. This is not the caliber of content I am used to. Quite ignorant to equate openly stealing office supplies to generating exorbitant returns on soft drink sales. Not a good article.

  • BC

    Vending machines are provided as a convenience for those bad at budget math.  It is not the same thing as stealing office supplies.

    Generally speaking, the vending machines are owned and filled by an independent vendor.  Profit from the machines is typically split between your employer and the vendor.  The extra power bill caused by the vending machines gets paid out of your employer’s split.  Management is probably not seeing a huge windfall.

  • Anonymous

    At one of my previous employers I used to bring my own Mt Dew to work, purchased on sale at $2.50 to $3.00 per 12 pack.  The alternative was the soda machine at $0.75 per can ($9/12) or $1 per 20oz bottle.  Now the same employer is charging $1/can or $1.50 per bottle.  The employer did not get the profit directly.  A 3rd party owned the machines and kept them stocked and working.  (The 3rd party did pay ‘rent’ to the employer.)

    3rd party involvement or not, it is not theft because it is a mutually voluntary transaction.  What it is, is a convenience surcharge paid by those who fail to plan.

  • montco1

    Go get packets of either Crystal Lite or even cheaper, Weylers Lemonade(about 8 or 10 packets for $1), refill that 20 ounce bottle with water (free) and save a lot more. Case closed, next? BTW, this example, same ounces, yours is only 60%, 12/20. Also, mine saves the environment, yours just adds to the waste.

  • montco1

    Furthermore, who would spend $5 for a 12 pack of soda? Did you go out of your way to find that price. Are you really looking to save. Duh. Go and do some homework.