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9 Clever Products That Will Protect Your Lunch From Food Thieves

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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. INSULATED BAG FOR LUNCH OR ORGANS; $16

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.

Find it: Amazon

2. CRIME SCENE SANDWICH BAGS; $6

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.

Find it: Amazon

3. BUGGY SANDWICH BAGS; $9

If a police warning isn’t enough to ward off your co-workers, maybe tricking them into believing your sandwich is tainted will work. These sandwich bags—which make it look like a bug snuck in with your food—are sure to gross out would-be pilferers the first day, and will make them question the state of your kitchen as the weeks go on. There are 12 bags with a fly and 12 bags with a cockroach. Yum!

Find it: Amazon

4. MOLDY SANDWICH BAGS; $6

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.

Find it: Amazon

5. ALREADY BEEN CHEWED COOKIE CUTTERS; $8

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.

Find it: Amazon

6. A LOCKED LUNCH BAG; $20

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-long 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.

Find it: It's Not Your Lunch

7. DIRTY MUG; $16

No one wants to wash other people’s dishes, so this dirty mug will be strictly off limits to everyone but you. The design has 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.

Find it: Amazon

8. PORTABLE MINI FRIDGE; $45

If people won’t stop taking your stuff out of the fridge, it's time to get your own. This portable mini fridge is big enough to hold six cans of soda. It can be plugged into a regular outlet or even a car cigarette lighter (we did say portable). The inner shelves are removable and it has a self-locking, recessed door handle.

Find it: Amazon

9. FRIDGE LOCKER; $20

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 11-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.

Find it: Container Store

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How Urban Legends Like 'The Licked Hand' Are Born
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iStock

If you compare the scary stories you heard as a kid with those of your friends—even those who grew up across the country from you—you’ll probably hear some familiar tales. Maybe you tried to summon Bloody Mary by chanting her name in front of the mirror three times in a dark bathroom. Maybe you learned never to wonder what’s under a woman’s neck ribbon. Maybe you heard the one about the girl who feels her dog lick her hand in the middle of the night, only to wake up to find him hanging dead from the shower nozzle, the words “humans can lick too” written on the wall in the dog’s blood.

These ubiquitous, spooky folk tales exist everywhere, and a lot of them take surprisingly similar forms. How does a single story like the one often called “Humans Can Lick Too” or "The Licked Hand" make its way into every slumber party in America? Thrillist recently investigated the question with a few experts, finding that most of these stories have very deep roots.

In the case of The Licked Hand, its origins go back more than a century. In the 1990s, Snopes found that a similar motif dates back to an Englishman’s diary entry from 1871. In it, the diary keeper, Dearman Birchall, retold a story he heard at a party of a man whose wife woke him up in the middle of the night, urging him to go investigate what sounded like burglars in their home. He told his wife that it was only the dog, reaching out his hand. He felt the dog lick his hand … but in the morning, all his valuables were gone: He had clearly been robbed.

A similar theme shows up in the short story “The Diary of Mr. Poynter,” published in 1919 by M.R. James. In it, a character dozes off in an armchair, and thinks that he is petting his dog. It turns out, it’s some kind of hairy human figure that he flees from. The story seems to have evolved from there into its presently popular form, picking up steam in the 1960s. As with any folk tale, its exact form changes depending on the teller: sometimes the main character is an old lady, other times it’s a young girl.

You’ll probably hear these stories in the context of happening to a “friend of a friend,” making you more likely to believe the tale. It practically happened to someone you know! Kind of! The setting, too, is probably somewhere nearby. It might be in your neighborhood, or down by the local railroad tracks.

Thrillist spoke to Dr. Joseph Stubbersfield, a researcher in the UK who studies urban legends, who says the kind of stories that spread widely contain both social information and emotional resonance. Meaning they contain a message—you never know who’s lurking in your house—and are evocative.

If something is super scary or gross, you want to share it. Stories tend to warn against something: A study of English-language urban legends circulating online found that most warned listeners about the hazards of life (poisonous plants, dangerous animals, dangerous humans) rather than any kind of opportunities. We like to warn each other of the dangers that could be lurking around every corner, which makes sense considering our proven propensity to focus on and learn from negative information. And yes, that means telling each other to watch out for who’s licking our hands in the middle of the night.

Just something to keep in mind as you eagerly await Jezebel’s annual scary story contest.

[h/t Thrillist]

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Inside This Pop-Up Book Are a Planetarium, a Speaker, a Decoder Ring, and More
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Courtesy Chronicle Books

Designer Kelli Anderson's new book is for more than just reading. This Book Is a Planetarium is really a collection of paper gadgets. With each thick, card stock page you turn, another surprise pops out.

"This book concisely explains—and actively demonstrates with six functional pop-up paper contraptions—the science at play in our everyday world," the book's back cover explains. It turns out, there's a whole lot you can do with a few pieces of paper and a little bit of imagination.

A book is open to reveal a spiralgraph inside.
Courtesy Chronicle Books

There's the eponymous planetarium, a paper dome that you can use with your cell phone's flashlight to project constellations onto the ceiling. There's a conical speaker, which you can use to amplify a smaller music player. There's a spiralgraph you can use to make geometric designs. There's a basic cipher you can use to encode and decode secret messages, and on its reverse side, a calendar. There's a stringed musical instrument you can play on. All are miniature, functional machines that can expand your perceptions of what a simple piece of paper can become.

The cover of This Book Is a Planetarium
Courtesy Chronicle Books

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