Update to “Mad Guest And The Tea Party”

by admin on May 8, 2013

My apologies for this update being as late as it was.   (Read original post.) A day or so after the tea party, I discovered I was going to have to move!

Long story short, H turned out to be a non-issue. The problem ended up being a roommate who wanted to run the show.

Basically almost all of my original group from the parties has moved away. I have also moved to a far nicer location, but instead of having my own place as I had before I now had four roommates to consider. Considering we all love dressing up, convincing them to help host the party was pretty simple. They all giggled girlishly and got very, very excited. We agreed upon three people to invite per roommate so that we could keep the party to about 20 or so people (three people each times five of us equals 15 guests plus us). I printed up the invitations and they went out.

Because none of my original friends would be able to even consider attending (the one friend still within a reasonable distance would be in New York attending a job interview), I invited two relatively new friends and my sister. H would never even hear of the details because no one she had contact with would know them. Perfect! (It did not stop her from sending an additional twelve emails. Thanks to your advice, E-Hell folks, the only email that was answered was the one that contained a relatively harmless virus – one that appears to try and skim addresses and such from browser histories – and that was done by the authorities. H will not be bothering me again anytime soon. You’d think she’d be smart enough to avoid sending the computer science grad a virus.)

So when my roommate C decided that she didn’t like the idea of a tea party, I was a little thrown.

There are a few things you should probably know about C. C is That Roommate. You know, that one roommate everyone is cursed to wind up with at least once in their lives. Guess it was finally my turn!

C is about 30-ish. She works retail, and is hugely in debt because she always seems to get what she wants. She wanted a new car, she got it. She wants new clothing, she goes and gets it. She’s remarkably entitled, but she’d managed to keep this little trait under wraps for quite awhile.

Right before I moved, I discovered that she was the one stealing my food (I did deal with this little issue – and it didn’t involve laxative. It may or may not, however, have involved fermented cabbage juice in a batch of butter cookies. I really couldn’t say ::goes off to practice whistling::).

As a roommate, she is a royal pain in the tushie. We started to realize that she was nowhere near as nice as she made herself out to be during the party planning.

“I’d rather it be a salsa dancing party. We could invite boys,” she said. The other roommates and I vetoed her suggestion. This was a ladies-only tea party. If she wanted a salsa dancing party, she could throw one herself. This was not it.

Later, C said that she wanted to invite four more friends because “I don’t get to have the party I want.” We all told her no.

Eventually, after C attempted to figure out who we’d all invited and contact them to say the party was cancelled (total lie), we, as a group, asked C to bow out of the party and not come the day of. C huffed and said she couldn’t be there anyway because she had to work. Fine. Whatever, C.

Fortunately, C did stay away for the party. The entire affair was a success, with the guests (and remaining hosts) the epitome of etiquette. The food was delicious, the iced peach tea was wonderful, and the gift of homemade blueberry jam from a family friend made the scones perfection.

All in all, C drama aside, it was a wonderful day. And now, we know exactly what C is, and how to deal with her. 0502-13

{ 94 comments… read them below or add one }

Anonymous May 9, 2013 at 10:44 am

My goodness, the drama of both situations…I never realized that a tea party of all things could cause so much fuss! Sounds exhausting to me…

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The Elf May 9, 2013 at 10:50 am

Oh please. Cabbage juice is not ex-lax, it is not inherently dangerous, and was OP’s own food she “tainted”. This is not in any way a form of assault. I’d love to see the police report on that one.

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Kendra May 9, 2013 at 11:36 am

@ Rap
I think you need to check your sources. What the OP did does not reach the level of assault. All the OP did was put an unusual food ingredient into a batch of cookies that she then clearly marked as ‘off limits’. She did not add medicinal, toxic or biological waste to the cookies. Nor did she specifically offer the cookies to the roommate for her consumption. Since the cookies were non-toxic, she did not commit assault, regardless of her intent.

As an aside, I make a fudge laxative for a legitimate medical purpose. Sometimes, if I’m having a bad day, I’ll include a piece in my lunch. If someone were to steal my lunch, which has never happened, and they got a nasty surprise, it would still not be assault since the fudge is intended for my personal consumption and I am not responsible for someone else’s bad choices.

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Serenity May 9, 2013 at 12:21 pm

Rap~ if making food that tastes bad was a criminal offense, there would be a LOT of wanna be cooks in jail. I don’t think I’d want to spend time with anyone involved in this story, including the OP. There seems to be a lot of drama constantly surrounding her, and it’s been my experience that those that are always surrounded by drama, despite their protests, usually have a hand in causing it.

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Margaret May 9, 2013 at 12:36 pm

Well, it’s been more than a few years since I did my law degree, and of course statutes and case law varies, but I just can’t see this as an assault. Maybe a tort, but voluntary assumption of the risk.

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Corvid May 9, 2013 at 12:49 pm

Unless you’re a starving Dickensian urchin, repetitive food thievery is a hostile and/or dominating behavior.

I don’t condone putting harmful substances in food but otherwise my attitude towards food thieves is “Caveat Emptor”. Harmful substances aside, I consider the food thief him/herself to be responsible for any consequences he/she suffers related to the consumption of the stolen food, from a gag-inducing mouthful of cabbage cookie up to anaphylactic shock. (If you’re a food thief with allergies, it’s your own responsibility to make sure the food you’re stealing complies with your food restrictions.)

I have no problems with people “trapping” food thieves by making nasty-tasting cabbage cookies or adding hot peppers to their lunches or any other way of making a dish using normal harmless foodstuffs. People can make their food however they want. If the food thief doesn’t like what he or she stole, well, that’s the risk they took and that’s on them. No sympathy from me. No one is required to make the results of food thieving pleasant for the thief.

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The Elf May 9, 2013 at 12:49 pm

“Making something that tastes bad is not a criminal offense.”

Yeah, I do it all the time completely by accident……

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Mabel May 9, 2013 at 12:51 pm

Making something taste yucky with harmless food juice is not assault.

Trying to hijack a group party is rude. If C wants to throw that party, she can do it at a later date. Hopefully, it will be in her new place, because I agree with Cat–it won’t change. Consider getting rid of her.

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Angel May 9, 2013 at 12:54 pm

OP I read your update, and you already confronted her before you used cabbage juice. If she is dumb enough to continue stealing your food then she deserves it ;)

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Mary Fran May 9, 2013 at 2:02 pm

I keep waiting for the admin to jump in here. The commenters assuming that the cabbage juice was “poison” and “made C sick” are obviously not reading all the comments before they comment. The OP clarified that it was still safe to drink, just very bad tasting. As a not-so-wonderful cook myself, making a baked good that tastes awful is not a crime or even a breach of etiquette that I know of. OP didn’t KNOW that C would eat her bad tasting concoction. She merely suspected that she might.

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Goldie May 9, 2013 at 2:46 pm

Corvid: loved your comment! Hilarious and to the point!

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Amanda H. May 9, 2013 at 2:59 pm

I will say I would like to know if OP planned to eat the cookies if by some chance C didn’t steal them. To me, that would make a huge difference in the scenario. After all, if the unusually-made foodstuff you make is for your own consumption, then the food thief *really* has no grounds for complaint when they steal it and hate it. Like the hot pepper cookies or Kendra’s fudge laxative or the super-spicy jellybeans another acquaintance of mine prefers. Just because one person may really really not like it doesn’t mean it’s assault. I know I like to find creative places to hide spinach because I really don’t like its taste all by itself, but it is healthy.

I’ve heard of people who’ve had their food stolen who start bringing in items like the aforementioned spicy foods because they’ll still eat them, but at the same time the food thief will be in for a nasty surprise. And because the food-bringer will actually eat it, I find myself more willing to condone that behavior. Am I supposed to refrain from my unusual food preferences just because the food thief may not like super-spicy or nasty-tasting-but-healthy things? Just to avoid some third party claiming I was baiting the food thief or assaulting them by making my fudge with habanero peppers or bringing Noni juice for once?

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Stella May 9, 2013 at 7:46 pm

Rap, you need to stop referring to “legal trouble” when there is absolutely no legal basis for your argument. Maybe, and this is a very thin maybe, if the OP had known C is allergic to cabbages and she’d used it knowing full well there was a possibility C would eat them, there would be a case. But even if C had had a reaction to the cabbage juice, but OP wasn’t aware of the allergy, she wouldn’t be accountable.

More likely is that OP knew full well her roommate has no relevant allergies, and was in fact being very aware of the dangers of alternative substances, and decided to use the harmless alternative.

You keep going on about potentially harmful additions, but the OP clearly states that the cabbage juice keeps for days without being a health hazard, it simply starts to taste awful.

Your arguments seem very petty and a little nitpicky-juvenile, and they don’t hold much of a footing when actual logic is applied.

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MichelleP May 9, 2013 at 8:14 pm

@Rap, I’ve never, ever, met or had or heard of any landlord that would give a squat if a tenant was stealing roommates’ food or hijacking a party. Every one I’ve ever had would laugh in my face. And “suggest she move out”? Yes, I’m sure C listens and follows the OP’s suggestions. NOT. What she did wasn’t assault either.

I have to agree that OP does seem to enjoy drama. I’m not applauding her putting the cabbage juice in the cookies, but it’s on C that she stole it and ate it.

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Rap May 9, 2013 at 10:45 pm

Amanda H – thats what I am getting at about making cookies that taste nasty with ingrediants that have gone funny in the fridge. Was the OP going to eat the cookies, or were the special blend cookies made for one reason only? If the OP had no intention of eating the cookies herself, then all the handwringing over one’s special but odd tasting snacks has no relevance – she had no intention of consuming the cookies herself. It was done entirely to teach C a lesson about stealing. If C had a bad reaction, this little revenge plot could backfire badly. I’ve been yelled at repeatedly that its perfectly legal and I will give my same response on that – if you think this is legal then feel free to do so, but if you do end up injuring someone while teaching them a lesson, I’m betting you won’t like the end result.

Michelle – it depends on the landlord, I agree. Some landlords do care, because in situations like this one, where multiple people are sharing living quarters, landlords don’t want the building/apartments to have a bad reputation and people don’t like to live in places with thieves.

To be upfront, I genuinely have doubts about this story if only because between this and the prior posting about the tea party, the OP has a shockingly large number of people in her life who are openly rude to her. But take it at face value – C says she has no intention of stopping the food stealing. So yes, you could then stock the pantry with spiked food you wouldn’t eat yourself to teach her. Or instead of doing something that could potentially harm the person, you could contact the landlord. You could sit down with the other roommates, compare notes, and then have a come to jesus meeting with the offender about how certain things won’t be tolerated if she wants to live there. I had a similar problem and I moved all of my food to my bedroom with a door that locked (to be fair, I had a minifridge) and only brought food out when I was preparing it. One time I bit the bullett and moved out… because it wasn’t worth the anger to deal with a hostile roommate.

So I do know what it’s like, and I know people have options other than this. Politer options certainly. But instead of arguing further, I am going to give you a completely different reason as to why this was a bad idea.

If C is really this bad of a person, to where she would brazenly be all “I stole, so what?” – now that the OP has *escalated* things by messing around with food… What do you think C is going to do, now that she’s mad, isolated, and stuck living with the OP who doesn’t like her and who played an embarrassing trick on her? No commentary please on how C deserved it – my point here is that if C is so entitled anyway… what do you think she’s going to do in retaliation?

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ItsyBitsy May 10, 2013 at 1:00 am

Rap: “- between this and the prior posting about the tea party, the OP has a shockingly large number of people in her life who are openly rude to her.”

She has two; C and the antagonist in her last submission. How is that shocking?

And the correct spelling is ‘ingredients’.

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The Elf May 10, 2013 at 7:00 am

I agree that there’s a lot of drama around OP. But she’s young (from what I can gather), and drama and youth seem to go hand in hand. Age doesn’t necessarily bring wisdom, but it does seem to bring a combination of “I’m too busy for this crap” and “It’s just not worth arguing about”.

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Abby May 10, 2013 at 8:34 am

I agree with Rap. The cookies were not about solving a problem. It was about vengenance. And that will at the very least escalate the issue.

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Rap May 10, 2013 at 9:44 am

ItsyBitsy – because in the space of a year, the party last year and the party this year, the OP has someone who showed up at the party inappropriately dressed who in the space of 10-15 minutes managed to insult various guests to their faces with deeply personal insults, got thrown out and who then appears to take nothing from the incident and begins obsessively contacting the OP for an invite complete with a computer viral attack that may or may not have had police involvement (I’m not entirely clear what “done by the authorities” means here) despite, per the OP’s comments, being told that the OP wanted nothing to do with her approximately a week after the first party. The OP also has a friend, S, who can’t be trusted to not hand out times and addresses of parties planned by the OP – the OP alludes to how S needs therepy to overcome her damaged past and all it takes is a childish threat to not be friends to get S to spill the beans to someone who apparently made a major scene at the tea party and is no longer anyone’s friend. Now the OP lives with a roommate who tells the OP to her face that she’s going to continue to steal from the OP, and who apparently in a stalkery move similar to the “H” of the first tale, tried to contact all the invited guests and tell them the party was canceled. Maybe I am just lucky in life, but this is a shocking amount of crazy rude behavior all revolving around a women only dress up party with no alcohol.

If this is a normal amount of rude, crazy behavior, then I will just count myself lucky. Is this how everyone else lives?

And thanks on the spelling correction – it’s never been my subject. :)

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chicalola May 10, 2013 at 10:43 am

I think that a good point has been made about the potential legal problems that could result from tainting food to teach a thief a lesson. If they were to have a medical reaction to it, and found that the roommates intent was to make her eat spiked food, it could be bad. If anyone close to the situation, or someone investigating found that she posted this on here, and could see that she did it on purpose….they could argue that she had intent to harm her. In our sue happy society, it’s not far out of reach to think she could be in trouble. Just saying.

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Tralala May 10, 2013 at 12:11 pm

Rap comes across, to me, as someone who is more fixated on this story than the actual people it happened to.

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NicoleK May 10, 2013 at 1:12 pm

Cabbage juice is a laxative. Just saying.

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Kendra May 10, 2013 at 2:33 pm

I am not a lawyer, nor do I play one on TV, but I have been doing some research on the internet and it look like there would be no legal trouble for the OP, regardless of her intent. The reasons being: 1) she did not use a toxic substance. She used fermented cabbage juice that had sat in the fridge for a few days longer than usual. Everything I see on the web says that the longer it sits, the stronger the taste. It doesn’t really go “bad”. So the cabbage juice was still potable, just not real palatable. 2) She did not use an ingredient that C was known to have a bad reaction to like say using peanuts if she knew C had a peanut allergy. 3) She did not set a “trap” for C. She did not bake the cookies and then offer them to C to watch her reaction to the yucky taste. She did not tell C that she just made some cookies and that C was welcome to help herself. Now, she “hoped” that C would take the bait and eat the yucky cookies and therefore, hopefully, learn a lesson about stealing. But the OP put the cookies in “her” cookie jar on “her’ shelf on the pantry, making them off limits. C and boyfriend brazenly stole cookies, jar and all, so the legal for eating the cookies rests on C and boyfriend if they had a bad reaction. It is possible that C might try to sue, but she would most likely be wasting her money. Most jurys don’t like thieves.
At worst, since she didn’t intend to eat the cookies herself, she is guilty of wasting food and I think that is more of a ticket and fine rather than jail time.

@Rap
As far as telling the Landlord, Really?!? I’m sorry, but Landlords are not your mommy and they don’t care. I’ve been renting all of my life and I have never met a landlord who was willing to get in the middle of roommate squabbles, even when it involved thievery. What they care about is getting the rent on time, that there is minimal damage to the rental, and that they are bothered by the residents as little as possible especially with resident’s personal problems. Roommate squabbles count as personal problems. If the roommate squabbles become a problem for the landlord or other residents, the landlord is much more likely to kick everyone out rather than try to figure out who is right and who is wrong. It’s up to the roommates to figure out how to deal with C.

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Autum May 10, 2013 at 2:53 pm

I think the OP was completely within her rights to “spike” the cookies with cabbage juice. It makes no difference if the OP herself intended on eating the cookies or not. She had made it clear to C that her food was off limits. If C respected her wishes then she wouldn’t have a bad taste in her mouth.

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Rap May 10, 2013 at 3:39 pm

Kendra, I’ve repeatedly said that I can’t stop you or anyone reading from doing this. If you think its perfectly fine and you’d be in no legal trouble if this scenerio ended with the roommate hospitalized, feel free to try it.

Re: Telling the landlord – Again, it depends on the landlord and how concerned they are about their establishment’s reputation in the community. If you’re a good tenant, a landlord on your side can be very helpful. Is it guaranteed to help? Of course not… but it doesn’t hurt to try it before you decide to go forward with baking tainted cookies. I’ve outlined several other ways to deal with it – securing your personal food in your room, and having a serious roommate discussion about will and won’t be tolerated and what consequences , and yes, moving out. Spiking food? Can have unintended consequences. Don’t believe me that it could be considered a form of assault? Ok, don’t. (Again, I can’t stop anyone from doing this) Just consider, the OP is now open to retaliation from C, C who seems to be a tad crazy per the OP’s description.

Tralala – I’m mostly just genuinely shocked that so many people on an etiquette site think this is a perfectly acceptable way to handle the problem. Dropping the f-bomb is rude, but baking up a special batch of tainted cookies to teach the roommate a lesson is acceptable?

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j. May 10, 2013 at 3:52 pm

Since another person brought up peanuts, I’ve been wondering about this. Say C. had a deathly peanut allergy and the OP knew it. If the OP made cookies with peanuts or peanut butter in them, and then put them in her own personal cookie jar that she knows C. has a habit of stealing from, is the OP legally responsible for any consequences which arise? Because peanuts/peanut butter are a perfectly valid cookie ingredient, unlike the cabbage juice, but the cabbage juice is harmless whereas peanuts can kill an allergic person.

While C. could decide to file assault charges against the OP for the cabbage juice cookies, I can’t see a jury deciding in C.’s favor.

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Enna May 11, 2013 at 3:47 am

Stealing is wrong, in fact C could get into trouble for it if the OP and other housemates go to the Landlord about it: some landlords/ladies may not care but any professional will care about the relationship between tennants and relationship between landlord and tennant.

I do agree with Rap that what the OP did with the cabbage juice is wrong because it could so easily backfire either by C doing something worse or C getting ill. It is one thing if C eats something without checking the use by date and gets ill – that would be her fault. But knowingly useing “femented cabbage juice” how would she feel if C got ill and started being sick everywhere? That could be more of an inconviance then haveing some food taken.

The OP hasn’t used any life threatening or illegal substances but she could still get into some trouble if C got sick as she wasn’t going to eat the cookies herself. Does the OP like any “funky” food like chilli cookies or blue cheese muffins? Or how about storing food seperatly?

The way the housemates handled C over the tea party I think was fantastic. They can put their feet down with her.

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Enna May 11, 2013 at 3:49 am

P.S by going to the landlord he or she could buy a mini firdge for C to use and put a lock on the main fridge – any costs get taken out of C’s deposit. If she starts complaining that people take her food then she has her own lock on her own fridge.

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Asharah May 11, 2013 at 8:56 am

@j. First, I would say a person who has a severe food allergy and steals other people’s food is beyond STUPID! Seriously, they have a post somewhere on the BB where a woman was telling about people at work who stole food from her they were allergic to and then complained to her about it. Seriously, if you are allergic to seafood, don’t steal somebody else’s fish tacos. She had one guy complain because the food he stole from her was so spicy it aggravated his bleeding ulcers. SIGH!
Now if C was allergic to peanuts and OP made peanut butter cookies and didn’t warn her, she could be in trouble. If, on the other hand, OP clearly informed C, preferably before witnesses, that, “Since you can’t keep your hands out of my cookie jar, I will only be making cookies with peanuts and peanut butter from now on. I will also be cooking as much of my food in peanut oil as possible. Steal from me again at your own risk.” I would say she had done an adequate job of informing her that she might be stealing food that can kill her.

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Cassie May 11, 2013 at 4:53 pm

@ Kendra – I am a lawyer (and sure wish I played one on tv :) ) and you’re right- no legal implications here. Some people with little understanding of how civil suits work just want to be litigious at the smallest provocation. Sure, C could bring frivolous suit, but it’ll get her nowhere, and may even get her sanctioned for wasting a judge’s time.

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Ultra Venia May 11, 2013 at 7:57 pm

Okay, conclusion is, OP tried to “poison” her roommate, she’s a drama queen, she causes all her own problems because no one has ever come across two entitled jerks within a space of a year. That about wrap it up?

Anyone who risks sending in a letter here better have a thick skin to put up with all the attacks.

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Ergala May 11, 2013 at 8:47 pm

We had an issue with a tenant stealing laundry soap from the laundry room. He/She would even dig through people’s baskets full of dirty clothes to find their detergent. The building manager said there was absolutely nothing she could do…but she did make a suggestion. Fill an empty detergent bottle with something nasty and smelly and VERY clearly label it with your name, apartment number and the words DO NOT USE UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES.

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Auryn Grigori May 11, 2013 at 9:17 pm

@Rap “So the fermented cabbage juice thing… I have RA, so I keep cabbage juice around and drink about a cup a day since it’s good for the joints. I accidentally missed that I already had a jar in the back of the fridge and it went sorta funny. Still good (this stuff can ferment for a week or so and still be healthy and safe for consumption), but it tastes awful.”

Think about this for a second. How would the OP know that the fermented cabbage juice is “still good” and would be “healthy and safe for consumption” but “tastes awful” unless she has consumed it herself? Doing the research, I have read that cabbage is a food that most people do not have allergies to, and that it is actually recommended to drink fermented cabbage juice. Plus, I have discussed it with someone with someone who actually has legal experience (works with lawyers and was raised by them). According to him, “as long as the ingredient does not do long term, severe damage to the person who imbibes it, they can bring the case to court, but will not get far.” And “tasting awful” does not count as damage. As I said though, not mature. As for getting the landlord involved, as long as the tenants are paying their rent, the landlord does not give a crap about settling petty disputes like “stealing food.” They will see it as a problem that needs to be worked out amongst the tenants themselves. Damage to property or disrupting the peace with loud parties? In an landlord’s interest to take care of. Some idiot swiping their roommate’s food? “Try to work it out for the remainder of the lease, on your own.” The most that you can do is write up a room mate agreement and have the room mate sign it (fat chance of that, considering she was brazen about stealing it so I doubt she would sign such an agreement), that they agree not to eat any of your food, and then track the food of yours they eat and maybe sue them in small claims court. At which point, it just might be cheaper to get your own apartment.

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Auryn Grigori May 11, 2013 at 9:22 pm

And I have had experience with crappy roommates. One would not pay her share of the rent, and assaulted my boyfriend, who was paying the largest share of the rent. The apartment complex’s answer? “Work it out yourselves, for the remainder of the lease.”

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Auryn Grigori May 11, 2013 at 11:31 pm

@Enna, fermented cabbage is sauerkraut. You know, the stuff that people put on hot dogs and such? It also has a very distinctive taste. It would not go undetected. The minute it was tasted, unless the recipe in question was made for that type of ingredient, it would be spat out (apparently there is a chocolate cookie that you can make with sauerkraut. I am curious as to the taste). Not to mention fermented cabbage/sauerkraut is perfectly safe to imbibe. C’s boyfriend mouth harbors more harmful bacteria. And as I said, the OP indicated that she did drink her ferment cabbage juice and that it was good and safe to imbibe, just not particularly nice tasting.

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Rap May 11, 2013 at 11:43 pm

Auryn – I’m sorry, was I not clear that contacting one’s landlord might not work? But that it was worth trying before you decided to go for the tainted cookie option? If not, let me be very clear. Asking your landlord for help *might* be helpful because they *might* be concerned about a tenant who openly admits to other tenants that she is stealing and has no intention of stopping. They might be concerned because it gives the over all facility a bad rep – you can, these days, complain on a variety of places on line about unresponsive help. Also, some landlords genuinely want tenants to want to stay and will assist in agregious situations like a roommate cheerfully stating how she is stealing because everyone else has stuff she wants.

I fully concede, and have not stated otherwise, that a landlord may not care and may not help. Since you’re calling me out, I ask you provide quotes to where I said contacting the landlord would absolutely work.

As for how would the OP know if the fermented cabbage juice was “ok” or not? The OP has already admitted to contemplating using laxitives and food dye to teach this lesson. My concern about the legalities here has been the hearty “yeah you go girl” attitude over the whole business. In this particular case, salting the food with a noxious substance caused no harm. The OP is lucky. You’re perfectly free to do this if you wish – but if you don’t have the optimal outcome, the way the OP did, and someone does get hurt, then what? I fully concede thati C in this particular instance doesn’t have a legal case…. its the heart endorsements to salting food with noxious substances that prompted me to post origanally. There’s better, more mature, ways to handle this kind of situation, ways that don’t involve possibly injuring someone.

I’ve dealt with horrible roommate situations. That is why a) when I still had roommates, I stopped playing vicious one up nasty games that never made the situation better and b) as soon I could afford it, I got an apartment to myself. There’s better ways to handle these kinds of problems. I’ve suggested at least two – the four roomies confronting the fifth and outlining how its unacceptable for the fifth to be stealing and the less confrontational moving personal food to one’s personal room to prevent theft, along with asking the landlord for assistance. I notice the first two suggestions don’t get any attention, but the one I fully concede might not help but is worth trying is reviled. Is there really no choice for the OP other than the tainted cookies? Even if I am generous with the posting dates, she’s only lived with C for a few months, and she’s already gone nuclear.

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Auryn Grigori May 12, 2013 at 4:32 am

As I said, this was not the mature way to handle this. I concede to that. It is in fact very immature, however, from what I am gathering, the reason why she rejected the laxatives and dye was that she did not want to cause her physical pain or destroy property. But where have I said “you go girl?” I understand the feeling, the upset, and the anger, but I agree that putting something in a person’s food is not the best way to handle a situation. I admit that my wording was off. When I said it was not a problem, I meant not a LEGAL problem. As in, people put crap in their own food all of the time to ward people off, although it is usually something that they can eat (and the OP implied that she was able to and has imbibed fermented cabbage juice. She just did not like the taste of it, but if she can say it is healthy, if bad tasting, she probably has at least had it ferment before, and consumed it so as to not waste it). And that if there was truly going to be a court case (doubtful though), there are plenty of excuses she can use, if a case like this even sees the light of day. And what if she contemplated laxatives and food dyes? I contemplated yelling at some people, and hitting others before. I never do. You want to know why? I am not a psycho. I can contemplate all I like on stuff. Not going to actually do them. Hell, if people did everything they contemplated, there would be no place that would not be a huge mess. People contemplate things that they know they are not going to do in real life. That is what contemplating things is for. And as most people have said, she did talk to C first. She did try to be mature first.

As for the landlord thing, I did not say that you said it “absolutely works.” But you keep on insisting on it as a solution. I live in 3-4 apartment complexes. I am not sure what state or city you live in where the landlord actually tries mediating or kicking one tenant out on another tenant’s say so, because I want to move there. Not being sarcastic here, it would be a change from my experience. Keep in mind, my case was a case where the ex-roommate ACTUALLY assaulted the other roommate, the one that was paying a majority (as in 75%) of the rent.

As in my ex-roomate, R, SLAPPED my boyfriend, A. If the apartment complex did not intervene in a case where there was harm to the paying tenant, and we were told to deal with it ourselves, what do you think that an apartment complex is going to say to tenants who’s issues are “hey, she took my food?” Unless C was hawking the other tenant’s appliances (and even then, I am doubtful that anything would be actually done), the answer will always be “Deal with this yourselves.”

“They might be concerned because it gives the over all facility a bad rep – you can, these days, complain on a variety of places on line about unresponsive help. Also, some landlords genuinely want tenants to want to stay and will assist in agregious situations like a roommate cheerfully stating how she is stealing because everyone else has stuff she wants.”

Actually, that is why they probably will not do anything more than insist that the tenants work it out themselves. Just as the girls can get the apartment in trouble for not interfering with their dispute, C can claim that the apartment threw her out or “harassed” her based on the “lies” her roommate were telling about her. Now, if she were stealing from other tenants in the building besides her roommates, the apartment complex may have a case. But “stealing” food from someone who shares the same apartment as you is harder to prove, and it is unlikely that C would escalate to robbing neighbors. Not to mention that the apartment complex might even say you should have made sure that you could trust all your roommates before agreeing to sign a lease with them.

Yes, there are better solutions (telling C to get out, putting a mini fridge in her room to keep her food, keeping foods that she knows C doesn’t like and won’t steal) but you kept on saying “If it injured C, it would be an assault case.” I am pointing out that unless C is allergic to fermented cabbage juice (and from what I researched, that is unlikely. In fact, that cookie may have been the healthiest thing that C imbibed due to her thieving ways) and the OP had a way of knowing that, there would not be a case. Hell, even if it made her a bit sick (again, doubtful), it would have to have caused her long term and/or severe damage. And it seems that the OP’s intentions were not to hurt her, but just to make her disgusted. As I said, there is no way not eat that cookie and not know that there was fermented cabbage juice in it. It would taste like sauerkraut, and would be spat out immediately, as it was meant to be. It might even be smelled on the cookie, as cabbage has a very distinct odor, even more if it has fermented and put in an enclosed space, like oh, say a cookie jar.

If you want to know why people are sort of patting her on the back for it, it is because most people have spent time quietly seething at a person who has done them wrong. Most of the time, they never do or say anything for fear of getting fired, having things taken away from them, etc. And then one person pulls off the revenge that they wish they had the nerve to pull off. And they feel vindicated. It is not right, but there it is.

However, what most people do come up with in the way of comeuppance is illegal, and/or harmful. This one just happens to be that perfect storm of neither (and trust me, I looked. Still no cases of fermented cabbage water killing or even severely harming someone).

Why are they arguing with you? Because you have kept saying that it is assault for most of your posts, and it still is not assault. It is ESPECIALLY not assault if it is C stealing the cookies. If the OP was actually offering them, then there may be (as weak as it is) a case. Moreso if what was in the cookies was undetectable to all but a blood hound, AND if the cookies had something KNOWN to cause harm. Cabbage smells like feet. I am guessing fermented cabbage smells like fermented feet. You would smell a cookie like that a mile away before you ever ate it. Even if it is immature, it is legal.

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badkitty May 12, 2013 at 6:22 pm

The problem with contacting the landlord about a roommate dispute – in my experience – is that it will likely do no good at all and will probably result in the landlord deciding not to renew ANYONE’S lease. He or she might even decide that these complain-y tenants are too much hassle and start looking for an excuse (such as noise complaints) to evict the whole group.

Regarding the cookies: I really doubt your thieving roommate learned a lesson from that, but if it relieved the tension for you and your other roomies then I suppose you accomplished something.

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LadyPhoenix May 14, 2013 at 2:07 pm

In the restuarant business, it’s bad to put ANYTHING in people’s food. It can even be considered a firable offense. But it’s not the restuarant, it’s someone’s home, so we can ignore that first sentence above.

Considering she DID warn C the first time, she has full rights to put cabbage juice in the cookies. It’s not drugs, so she can’t be charged with poisoning. It’s a basic punishment to keep them from doing it again.

Is it childish? A little bit, but how ELSE would you make a person stop stealing yoru food besides having a locked fridge in your home, or buying carry out EVERY night — both of which are expensive. This method is simple and gets the point across.

So In short, Rap, Rosie, you both can knock it off.

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Rap May 15, 2013 at 7:56 pm

You know, I’m going to ask.

Have I said something so offensive that I need to be told to be silent and “knock it off”?

I’m asking that seriously, because frankly, I genuinely think I’m taking a moderate view here. Its a bad idea to salt food with an unpleasant substance when your sole intention is to teach someone else a lesson. It worked out ok in this particular situation, but can badly and seriously backfire to the point that it doesn’t seem wise to endorse it. When people have disagreed, I haven’t said anything rude, I’ve reiterated why I think its a bad idea (I have lawyer friends too, and the two I asked said similar things along the lines of “its a bad idea, if they can prove you did it intentionally, you’d be in trouble”) and been very clear that while I don’t endorse it, I certainly can’t stop anyone from doing it, I can only warn that its a bad idea. I’ve offered valid suggestions on how to deal with the situation without doing something that can potentially cause harm (and been mocked for it, imo) and now I’m being told to “knock it off” because you don’t agree with me.

Rosie hasn’t said anything offense either, and neither of us has told anyone else to “knock it off” and be silent. You’re welcome to your viewpoint. Why do I have to be silent and “knock it off” if I don’t agree with you, but you’re free to tell me to be silent? I’d be less irritated if I was actually being offensive but I haven’t namecalled anyone, or told anyone their viewpoint is riduculous, or that a viewpoint is so offensive to me, the poster has to “knock it off” – am I not due the same amount of courtesy I am extending?

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Auryn Grigori May 17, 2013 at 3:00 am

@Rap I don’t think that it is so much offensive, just not going over any new ground. You certainly do not have to be silent if you don’t want to, and you don’t have to “knock it off.” I think the question of “substances” gets a bit murky if the “substance” is still food and is still edible. From what I have looked up, fermented cabbage juice is considered healthy. As I said though, it is not terribly mature.

As for valid suggestions, you only really gave one; get the landlord involved. The problem is that most landlords do not involve themselves in this kind of dispute. They just don’t. Not where I live. Maybe your area is different. But where I live, it is easier just to buy my own fridge to keep my stuff in and change the lock on my bedroom door, than it would be to actually get the landlord to do anything. All they would say is “solve it yourselves.” That is why for most people, that suggestion has been dismissed. I wasn’t trying to mock you, if your landlords actually got involved in a roommate dispute, hey, I am glad to see at least one landlord that actually cares. It just has not been MY experience.

Now this being the internet, tone is hard to determine, but yours is coming off as preachy and a bit snotty. And I think that is what is being objected to. No one likes to be preached/talked down to. As I said, it could be a case though that because it is a written format, your written “tone” is not being best portrayed here?

Look, let’s agree to disagree and bury the hatchet, okay? No harm, no foul?

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Rap May 17, 2013 at 8:21 am

But you understand, I am being told to “knock it off”, and in exactly that tone? Not by you – but it’s happening here in this thread and thats what I am responding to, This is an etiquette site. Trust me when I say I could definetely take my tone down to the “knock it off” level, You’re agreeing that what the OP did was immature. A lot of people *aren’t*. A lot of people are on the “this is a completely acceptable way to respond” side and I’m not telling them to shut up or knock it off. Frankly from a tone standpoint, I can point to several I feel were snotty and condescending in tone that were directed at me. I took the high road and didn’t get personal and in return…. what am I getting? Oh right, I’m riduculous, and should knock it off.

I actually suggested the fridge in one’s room and locking one’s door as well, and apparently per the person telling me to knock it off, thats less simple and more expensive than just baking tainted cookies for the roommate to eat. I’m sorry, I can’t endorse something I think could cause physical harm and possible legal issues if one is caught. I’m genuinely shocked that people think this is a valid way to handle the problem and don’t see the many ways it could backfire.

I’ll stop now. Just be aware that the tone comments go both ways, and I am not the only one sounding “preachy and snotty” – and while you, Auryn, are saying I don’t have to be silent, there are posters telling me just that. I don’t mind that you and I are disagreeing, the courtesy I am talking about is that I am not attempting to silence anyone else’s opinion by telling people I disagree with to “knock it off” after I get done mentioning how ridiculous their views are.

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NostalgicGal May 18, 2013 at 3:12 pm

From all the postings…

A) some do not agree with ‘altering food’ to (in this case, reinforce ‘stop stealing my food’)

B) some agree it was an acceptable thing to do

C) the substitution was merely an off-taste ingredient replacement, that was still edible. Just had the taste go ‘off’.

D) substitution was not a common possible allergen (i.e., peanuts) nor was it a harmful substance (i.e. exlax) nor was it a toxic or poisonous substance.

E) this was after doing the polite and asking the other involved to stop stealing food that wasn’t waved, flaunted, offered, and the other declined to do so.

F) said food was made, clearly marked as belonging to another and stored in that person’s personal storage in communal area. It would be hard to mistake who it belonged to.

G) Whether or not the person that made the cookies intended to eat them or not, they belonged to that person to do with what they wished…. they were not ancient, mouldy or otherwise unedible. Just that the flavor wasn’t a normal flavor for that particular food item. The person that made them could have shellacked them and made them into drink coasters, drilled them and made earrings, or tossed them out. Or ate them. That was up to to the one that made them.

H) Food was not offered, left out, or otherwise could be mistaken that it was for anyone to eat.

I) person took the food that didn’t belong to them, clearly marked as belonging to another. And found out the taste was not what they expected. The food was edible. Just not the flavor expected.

J) Yes it could escalate. The person that made the cookies I believe is well aware of that.

K) We can agree to disagree on all of the points.

The fact of the matter is, the person kept taking food that wasn’t theirs; when asked to stop indicated they weren’t going to stop; someone set up a reminder to that person to stop taking food that wasn’t theirs. Hopefully the one taking the food learned a lesson.

J) Calling in a ref such as the landlord is a good way to have everyone booted. Landlord wants peace, quiet, not to be disturbed, and nobody damaging the property… and their rent in full on time.

If this escalated or not we don’t know. I think that if it is your personal stock of food, you can make it any way you want. If I want to make scotch bonnet salsa, if I mark it as mine, mark it as HOT HOT HOT and warn the others I live with that this is fifteen alarm stuff that is not for the average consumer, it can cause you real damage…. and I didn’t secure it against those that don’t want to take my word for it…. I might be liable if someone did purposely go after it. Off tasting but still drinkable cabbage juice in cookies, is not in the same league.

So I think it has come down to that, not everyone agrees with this. Is it right, not totally. Is it Karma Cookies? I think it is. Would I do it? Possibly, it depends on the circumstances. I *do* admit I baked white and dark chocolate chip cookies with coarsely chopped garlic cloves in them once… and did not OFFER them or leave them obviously out. The person that got into them, that was their problem. Garlic is not a common allergen…

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Skaramouche November 18, 2013 at 11:26 pm

I’m really sorry to post *months* after the discussion has ended but I’m truly fascinated by this topic of the cookies and really can’t help myself. I’m amazed by the number of posters saying it’s wrong to spike food and that legal problems could result from it. Really? Leaving aside the moral and maturity problems with this, if any (I said a silent hurrah so I don’t think there are any), are people actually saying that had C gotten sick from eating food that was not hers (assumption is that she didn’t know what went into it), she could have sued the OP? That’s like walking onto someone’s property, pushing a button that is marked “DO NOT PUSH”, and suing the owner because a can of paint fell on your head. Whatever questions you might ask of the owner…why is such a button publicly accessible, why is there a can of paint waiting to fall on someone’s head, etc, etc, etc, the FIRST one you should ask is what was the “victim” doing on private property touching something he/she had specifically been told not to touch? In the OP’s case, the warning was a verbal one, that’s all.

It is so easy to pass blame on these days that it has become second nature for many people. In addition to this, people are so afraid of getting sued that they allow themselves to be victimized. Sure, the OP could have gotten a locked fridge (possibly at her own expense) or just started making more food so that she wouldn’t mind C stealing it or done any one of myriad things designed to dance around the issue. “Find a workaround instead of fixing the root cause.” But why? I think she handled it fabulously. Fermented cabbage juice is potable and not deadly to anyone without an allergy. People with allergies that serious shouldn’t eat things when they don’t know exactly what the ingredients are. Period. So even if C had been harmed, it would have been totally and completely her fault.

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