My roommate has been straight up eating my food and even drinking my PBRs, which is both annoying and starting to take a financial toll (though the beer is cheap, bacon isn’t!). I don’t want this to turn into a bigger issue than it needs to be, I just want to figure out how to address it and make it stop… or at least get him to pay for some of it. Any ideas?
Full Question and Answer
Look, if this were a missing Oreo or two it’d be different, but your roommate is stealing your bacon and beer!? This ends today! That food and booze is yours—you bought it, you put it in the pantry/fridge/near the couch, and then when you want it, it’s gone! Not cool. Here are a few ways of dealing with this sort of atrocious behavior.
First, try to calmly explain that you’re aware you are getting jacked and that you want it to stop. That should (hopefully) be the end of the issue, assuming you reside with a halfway decent human being.
But let’s be honest: it’s rarely that simple. Sharing a residence with someone can be a sensitive balance between boundaries and community, so instead of raising barriers, you might want to consider finding some common ground. If you and your roommate both like a few of the same foods and brews (the very kind you so often find missing, perhaps), then consider working out a system where you trade off buying a few items with the understanding that they are game-on for all parties. That should keep the goodwill flowing, and it should also help to keep your precious foodstuffs and craft beers (those not on the list) strategically unscathed.
Now, if you and your roommate aren’t exactly BFFs and if this food finagling is getting out of hand despite your mature, reasonable attempts to address it through conversation, you are fully entitled to reframe the issue. After all, your roommate is not merely eating your food; they are in fact stealing your property. If you bought something for yourself and someone else takes it, that’s theft, plain and simple. If they’re daft and simply can’t take a hint, consider getting a small fridge and keeping your groceries your room as to make it abundantly clear that it’s not be touched.
Rarely should a matter like this be unsolvable through talking, but to avoid situations like this all together, it’s best to get a good idea of who the person is you’re rooming with before moving in together and perhaps lay out some specific ground rules that you both can agree on. It’s easier to prevent a situation like this from ever happening in the first place than it is to reason with a bacon-obsessed kleptomaniac.