Coca-Cola Klepto

        A post from Auntie (mrschili’s sister) got me to thinking about our office, and inspired today’s entry.  Someone was stealing her salad dressing out of the refrigerator at work.  From her story, and the responses, I’d say this is a universal problem, and it reminded me of a similar problem in my office.

        Every day at 3:00, unless there is a desperate emergency at hand, Dr. Bibey proclaims, “School’s out!” and we take a break for a Coca-Cola.

        This behavior goes back to grade school.  I’d get home and my mom would let me have one Coca-Cola before I went out to play.  They were the ones in those little green bottles.  She’d pour ’em up over ice in these metal glasses that’d get real cold and condensation would form on the outside.  I’m telling you, when I was a kid, I thought a well struck golf ball, a Martin guitar, and an ice cold Co-Cola were the three best things in the whole wide world.  They still rank mighty high.

        Anyway, my co-workers know I don’t ask for much, but a sure way to get a hound dog look outta me is to say we’ve run out of Co-Colas.  They don’t let it happen often.  When Paig semi-retired, she told the new office manager, little Marcie Presto, “Dr. Bibey ain’t hard to please.  Just don’t let him run out of Co-Cola.”  She hasn’t done it yet.

        Years ago, though, we’d get down to the last one, and someone would open it up, drink about ten percent, then put it back in the refrigerator.  I had too much on my mind to play Sherlock Holmes, but I had an idea who it might be.  I suspected a single perpetrator, but never could prove it.  Without fail, they’d drink ten percent, about down to the top of the label, and then place it in the back right corner.  (Like I couldn’t find it.)  It would sit there and mock me.  It was water, water everywhere and nary a drop to drink or however that old English saying goes.  (mrschili, help me out here!)  I coulda taken it better if they’d downed the whole thing and thrown the bottle away.

        We only have a few cardinal rules at the office.  Each time someone breaks one….  well, those folks don’t work with us anymore.  The number one absolute rule is not to put one’s personal needs above the needs of the patient.  Once an employee wanted to leave early on a Friday.  This former employee told a patient he didn’t need to come in to the office that afternoon, but did not consult the clinical folks for a decision.  (A major no-no.)  I won’t tell you the details, but the patient 100% needed to see a doctor- the employee gave bad advice and it was against office policy.  She did so to convenience herself. 

        My patient was lucky, the problem that could have resulted in a serious outcome.  They healed, but it wasn’t cause of what I did for them come Monday, I assure you, but only due to the grace of God. 

        I was furious, and told her so.  The employee left work that day and didn’t return.  After that employee never came back, I noticed I never had a Co-Cola theft again.  You can’t trust someone who’d steal your Co-Colas.  She was the one I suspected all along, but I didn’t have enough evidence to fire her.  (My employees say Dr. Bibey will somehow forgive if you drink his last Co-Cola, but don’t roll no dice with his patients.)

        Over time in an office, people’s character traits emerge.  It is much like being married.  After a while you know all about your people- maybe not as well as your wife, but just shy of that.  I’ve been lucky- mine are the best.  In all these years, I’ve only had one Co-Cola thief, so I count myself blessed.

           All I can say Auntie, is watch out for whoever is steals your salad dressing.  They might not be as bad as a Co-Cola klepto, but it sounds like they to are up to no good.  You can tell a lot about folks who steal the things that get you through the day.

Dr. B

Explore posts in the same categories: Advice- Five Cents

18 Comments on “Coca-Cola Klepto”

  1. Cindy Carter Says:

    Dr. B.,
    I am with you. Two things I hate, someone who won’t own up to what they did and lying. That’s my cardinal rule, don’t blame others for what you did, say you did it without excuses. And, don’t lie about stuff, especially if you get caught red handed.

    I guess there are really three…. someone who offers up an insincere apology.

    The cokes…We had a great aunt who lived in town. When we would go to visit, she would give us each a bottle of coke. Those were nickle bottles at the time. We would all sit and drink. It was wonderful. (But, my moma and daddy were Pepsi people)

  2. drtombibey Says:

    Ms. Cindy,

    100% true.

    I like Pepsi O.K., but my kids say when we go to a resturant and the waitress says they ‘don’t have Coca-Cola- would Pepsi be O.K.?’ that I’ll make a funny face and say, “Well thanks, Ma’am, but do ya’ll have sweet tea?

    For me Coca-Cola is number one, closely followed by sweet tea, but if I am really thirsty water is the best.

    I got nothing against the Pepsi folks, though. Diversity makes the world go round.

    Dr. B

  3. sweetiegirlz Says:

    Coca Cola is my Crack!! I can say I empathize with you 100% In my family, one of us, (who shall remain nameless) drinks half of their can and leaves it out on the counter to get flat and warm… what a waste!

  4. drtombibey Says:

    ms. sweetiegirlz,

    Borders on criminal, huh?

    Dr. B

  5. Amber Says:

    I always find it appalling that people would help themselves to another person’s food or drink. Of course it happens to all of us in the business world who dare bring our lunches into work. Even with labels all over them, people still help themselves. I guess I always feel like …. ok Lord, they needed it more than I did. But it still sucks!

  6. mrschili Says:

    Doc, it’s from Samuel Taylor Coleridge and the Rime of the Ancient Mariner (part 2, stanza 9, to be exact). Essentially, it’s the conundrum of the man stranded in a lifeboat…

    Water, water, everywhere, And all the boards did shrink; Water, water, everywhere, Nor any drop to drink. The very deep did rot: O Christ! That ever this should be! Yes, slimy things did crawl with legs Upon the slimy sea.

    I’m a Diet Coke girl, myself, but I’m right there with you on the rest of it. I’m glad the thief left; that’d be a bit much for me, and I’d take to hiding my colas. A climate of mistrust is never good in an office – or anywhere else, for that matter…

  7. drtombibey Says:

    mrs amber,

    Yeah, I used to put all kinda notes on there, but I was preaching to the saved! You’d think they’d left ’em alone solely from the standpoint that running out of Co-Cola was about the only way to make me grumpy. (Of course being disrespectful to a patient pushed me beyond just grumpy)

    Dr. B

  8. drtombibey Says:


    Honest to goodness I thought it was somewhere from the Rime of the Ancient Mariner, but there is no way I coulda nailed it down that precise. Cool. That line was driving me crazy- almost as bad as running outta Co-Cola!

    Dr. B

  9. Ted Lehmann Says:

    It took me a while living in the South to realize that “Would you like a Coke?” wasn’t generic. In Tyler, TX, where we had moved to teach, we were invited to a faculty event which started at a house with drinks – the choice – tomato juice or coke. In the end, we’ve pretty well stopped drinking carbonated drinks of any kind…bloat me up. – Ted

  10. whodoesshethinksheisanyway Says:

    Doc, it blows my mind that people take things that don’t belong to them. What is even worse is when people in helping professions do it. When I worked in residential, we had a staff that was stealing stuff from the kids. Kids who came to our program with a trash bag full of everything they owned. How can you steal from a KID whose only possessions can fit in a trash bag?!! We couldn’t prove it was her (although we tried really hard) but we eventually fired her for something else. Guess what! The kids stuff STOPPED disappearing. It made me feel sick to my stomach. How she slept at night I don’t know.

  11. drtombibey Says:


    I should give ’em up, but I still love the things.

    Dr. B

  12. drtombibey Says:


    The things adult human beings will do never cease to amaze me. Somehow they can steal from kids and rationalize it is O.K. Beats me.

    Dr. B

  13. Ted Lehmann Says:

    Can’t resist coming back to this. Irene, a truly good person, in fact, good enough to marry me and stick it out, She is constantly amazed that people of supposedly “good” backgrounds – great education, great wealth, fine family, etc. – can behave badly. Where is it written that there’s a connection between background and behavior. One of the great things about bluegrass music is that it celebrates the total humanity of just plain folks, in their strengths and, most certainly, in their times of weakness. Perhaps its that feature of the lyrics, and their reflection in the music, that most appeals about bluegrass. And never forget, that embedded in bluegrass culture, is always the promise of a better day. The sun will always rise tomorrow, in all senses of that idea. – Ted

  14. drtombibey Says:


    Last night I took an evening off from anything “productive” and listened to a bunch of my old Jim and Jesse LPs. I slept so good last night and woke up 100% refreshed and recharged.

    I know it doesn’t work for everyone, but Lord knows I love that music. The singing, melody, and the lyrics are even more important to me than the picking.

    Dr. B

  15. pandemonic Says:

    My coworkers had to put tags on their food. It’s a bit ridiculous. I would never think to eat someone else’s food or drink their drink, why would anyone else do it?

  16. drtombibey Says:


    It seems we make a lot of office rules because of the ones who always break the rules. The ones who do right never consider any other way of thinking. The rules get made for the bad guys and they always figure out how to get around them!

    Dr. B

  17. Smitty Neuse River Pres. Says:

    Doc sorry you got a fix on this Coca Cola(first bottled in Vicksburg Mississippi) thing. If this is the only vice you have, then you are all right. I am like the rest of the bunch about stealing stuff. At school we are pretty good at that stuff. I have been an assistant principal at a high school and we are few hours shy of being the local FBI. Maybe sometime, I can give you a few things to look for if it happens again.

  18. drtombibey Says:


    I was about ready to hire a detective sure enough. I expect after a few years in the school business the on-the-job training is an honorary degree in such matters.

    Dr. B

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