9 Clever Products That Will Protect Your Lunch From Food Thieves

iStock.com/ilbusca
iStock.com/ilbusca

It’s happened to all of us: You’ve been thinking about lunch all morning and when it’s finally time to eat, you realize that your meal has been stolen by one of your co-workers. Food theft is no joke and should not be taken lightly. Keep your edibles safe from your thieving colleagues with these protective products.

1. Fred E.M.T. (Emergency Meal Transport) Insulated Lunch Tote


Fred, Amazon

No one is going to want to steal an organ—after all, those can’t be properly cooked in the break room microwave. The bag is foam-insulated to keep your kidney (or sandwich) cold. Great for anyone who doesn't work at a hospital.

Buy it on Amazon for $20 or at these other retailers:

2. Accoutrements Crime Scene Sandwich Bags

Plastic baggies with yellow "crime scene tape" printed on them

Accoutrements, Amazon

This set of 10 plastic baggies comes with either police tape or quarantined banners. If they don't succeed at thwarting thieves, you may to have to close off the kitchenette with real crime scene tape while you dust for prints.

Buy it on Amazon for $5 or at these other retailers:

3. Roach Bag Clips

A roach-shaped bag clip on a bag of snacks

Orwill, Amazon

If making your lunch look like a crime scene doesn’t work, try making it look infested. These bag clips are designed to look like everyone’s least favorite mealtime companion: the cockroach. Stick them on or in your snack bags to deter even the most strong-stomached lunch thieves.

Buy it on Amazon for $8 per pack of four.

4. Forum Novelties Moldy Sandwich Bags

A novelty sandwich bag designed to look like a piece of bread is moldy and cockroach-infested

Forum Novelties, Amazon

These bags take it a step further with fake mold and a cockroach. Even if it doesn’t trick anyone, it’s certain to ruin their appetite. There are only four bags per pack, so use them wisely—and be sure to check your food for real mold before use.

Buy it on Amazon for $5 or at these other retailers:

5. Fred Already Been Chewed Cookie Cutters

Gingerbread man cookies formed to look like they've had bites taken out of them
Fred

Make your sneaky co-worker believe that someone beat them to the punch by using these cookie cutters, which make it look like these tasty treats have already been snacked on. The three gingerbread man molds each have a bite mark shape aimed at different parts of their bodies. The package even comes a gingerbread recipe.

Buy it on eBay for $10.

6. It's Not Your Lunch Locking Lunch Bag

This black bag gets straight to the point: “It’s not your lunch.” If the harsh (but valid) statement isn’t enough to rattle your co-workers, the lock will do the trick. The 8-inch-tall bag is insulated to keep your meals at the right temperature, but the main attraction is the hunk of metal standing between food thieves and your delicious pre-bitten cookies.

Buy it on It's Not Your Store for $20 and up.

7. CaseOrama Stained Mug

A mug that appears stained with coffee and lipstick

CaseOrama, Amazon

No one wants to wash other people’s dishes, so this dirty mug will be strictly off limits to everyone but you. The design features what looks like spilled coffee and lipstick on the rim, so it appears to have been heavily used. Only you will know better. It’s dishwasher safe, so you can get it really clean, despite its appearance.

Buy it on Amazon for $19.

8. Cooluli Portable Mini Fridge

A mini portable fridge open to reveal apples, vegetables, and cans of soda

Cooluli, Amazon

If people won’t stop taking your stuff out of the fridge, it's time to get your own. This portable mini fridge, complete with removable shelves, is big enough to hold up to 12 cans of soda. It can be plugged into a regular outlet or even a car cigarette lighter (we did say portable) and runs more quietly than most computer fans, according to Amazon reviewers.

Buy it on Amazon for $90 or at these other retailers (potentially in different colors):

9. Fridge Safe Box Locker

A small locked cage designed to hold lunches in a fridge

5Star Super Deals, Walmart

If none of these other tricks work, you can get even more aggressive. Nothing says “stay away from my lunch” quite like a plastic food cage with a combination lock. The 12-inch-long locker comes with a handle so you can take it to and from work, and if, in the worst case scenario, your co-worker cracks the code and steals your yogurt, at least you'll know they've earned it.

Buy it at Walmart for $16.

A version of this article first ran in 2016.

Mental Floss has affiliate relationships with certain retailers and may receive a small percentage of any sale. But we only get commission on items you buy and don’t return, so we’re only happy if you’re happy. Thanks for helping us pay the bills!

5 Painless Facts About Operation

Hasbro via Amazon
Hasbro via Amazon

For more than 50 years, players have had fun practicing medicine without a license in Operation. The popular tabletop game tasks amateur surgeons with extracting game pieces—foreign objects and body parts—using tweezers without slipping and activating a buzzer that lights up the patient’s nose. (This procedure, which looks to deprive the man of all his important innards, is seemingly performed without anesthesia.) Check out some facts on the game’s history, including its more recent ailments and how it inspired a real-life operation.

1. Operation started as a college project.

John Spinello was an industrial design student at the University of Illinois in the early 1960s. In class one day, he was instructed by his professor to design a game or toy. Remembering an ill-advised moment when he had stuck his finger into a light socket as a child, Spinello came up with a box that had a mild electrical current created by one positive and one negative plate a quarter-inch apart. When players tried to guide a probe through the box’s grooves, they had to be careful not to touch the sides. If they did, the probe would complete the circuit and they’d activate a buzzer.

The game was a hit with Spinello’s fellow students, and Spinello decided to show it to his godfather, Sam Cottone, who worked at a toy design firm named Marvin Glass and Associates. Marvin Glass loved the game and paid Spinello $500 (the equivalent of a little more than $4000 today) for the rights, as well as a promise of a job upon his graduation in 1965. Spinello got the money but no job—not right away, anyway. He finally joined at the company in 1976.

2. Operation was originally named Death Valley.

Spinello had created an intriguing idea for a buzzer-based game, but initially, there was no clear premise. Cottone suggested the box and probe take on a desert theme, where players would extract water from holes in the ground. The working title was Death Valley. When Milton Bradley bought the game rights from Marvin Glass and Associates, one of their designers, Jim O’Connor, suggested they switch from a probe to a pair of tweezers in order to actually extract small items from the holes. The setting was changed from a desert to an operating theater, and Operation was released in 1965.

3. Cavity Sam got a new diagnosis in 2004.

For decades, the various ailments of Cavity Sam—a funny bone, a broken heart, etc.—remained unchanged. In 2004, Hasbro introduced the first addition to his laundry list of complaints with a diagnosis of Brain Freeze, represented by an ice cream cone waiting for extraction from his head. Fans of the game were able to vote online for Sam's first new ailment: Brain Freeze beat out Growling Stomach and Tennis Elbow with 54 percent of the vote. Later versions have added Burp Bubbles and flatulent sound effects for an ailment dubbed Toxic Gas. Hasbro has also offered licensed versions of the game, including boards based on the Toy Story and Shrek franchises.

4. The inventor of Operation didn’t make any money off Operation.

In 2014, word circulated that Spinello was in need of oral surgery that would cost around $25,000. Because he had sold the rights to Operation for just $500, he had not received any royalties from sales of the game. Fortunately, a round of crowdfunding allowed him to get the procedure he needed. Hasbro, which bought Milton Bradley, also donated to the effort by buying Spinello’s original prototype.

5. Operation inspired a real-life operation that has helped thousands of people.

Surgeon Andrew Goldstone was a fan of Operation as a child. When he got older, he took the game’s premise to heart. Goldstone noticed that thyroid surgeries were risky due to the thyroid’s proximity to the nerves of the vocal cords. A small slip could damage the cords, causing hoarseness or airway obstruction. Goldstone thought surgeons should have a buzzer similar to the one in the game that alerted them when they got too close. He applied an electrode to the airway tube used during general anesthesia. If a surgeon touched the nerves of the vocal cords with a probe, a signal would pass to the electrode and a buzzer would sound. Goldstone sold the technology back in 1991. It’s been used in thousands of thyroid surgeries since. Unfortunately, the patient’s nose does not light up.

You Can Pay to Cuddle Cows at This New York Farm

Михаил Руденко/iStock via Getty Images
Михаил Руденко/iStock via Getty Images

Cuddling offers proven health benefits: Snuggling up with something (or someone) warm releases "cuddle hormones" that reduce stress and boost your overall sense of wellbeing. But you don't necessarily need to find a human partner to reap these rewards. At the Mountain Horse Farm in Naples, New York, you can pay $75 to cuddle with cows for an hour, ABC News reports.

The cattle at this farm and bed and breakfast have been available for guests to hug since last spring. Originally, the farm only offered horse therapy, and then owner Suzanne Vullers realized that cows had something to contribute as well. Unlike horses, cows spend a lot of their days lying down. Their gentle, relaxed nature makes them the perfect cuddle companions.


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For $75, up to two people can hang out in the pasture for an hour and cuddle any cows that are willing. The Mountain Horse Farm emphasizes that it's not a petting zoo, and cows get to choose whether or not they want to get up close and personal with strangers. Visitors are shown how to best approach and interact with the cows before their snuggle session begins.

Offering unique experiences with livestock is an increasingly popular way for farms to make extra cash. Goat yoga has become mainstream around the U.S., and some farms have even organized alpaca dance classes.

To sign up for a cow-cuddling experience, you can book a session online.


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A post shared by Mountain Horse Farm (@mountainhorsefarm) on


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[h/t ABC News]

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