Office Sandwich Thief Caught by HR, Chinese Netizen Reactions

Turkey and swiss cheese sandwich.

Turkey and swiss cheese sandwich.

The following post translating a funny “sandiwch thief” story from abroad into Chinese as a trending microblog post on China’s Sina Weibo social network. The original poster “Here in UK” may be remembered from this past translated post about a soldier being reunited with his wife at an airport

From Sina Weibo:

Sina Weibo@英国那些事儿: Recently, in a laowai office, a single sandiwch led to a tragedy… you guys can fill in what the atmosphere/mood was like…


Comments from Sina Weibo:


Which is why what people fear is not doing the wrong thing but doing the wrong thing and being caught.


…this may look very funny, but people like this who take other people’s things as they please must be fired!


I thought the person stealing his sandiwch was the boss.


Actually, there are a lot of gweilo with this kind of despicable personality. You just need to secretly add some laxatives the next time.


Am I the only person who understood this as the sandwich thief and the person who lost his sandwich are the same person, directing and acting out both roles himself…? But looking at the comments, it seems no one else has thought of this…


Isn’t it really disgusting to be stealing other people’s food to eat? Why does anyone think it is amusing? There’s nothing funny about it at all, okay?


If I was HR, the reason for wanting to see him wouldn’t be because of the sandwich, but because of him TM wasting paper…


It may be quite amusing, but I get angry thinking about how my yougurt would always mysteriously disappear. If you want to eat it, can’t you just buy it yourself? When I, in good spirits, opened the refrigerator only to fucking find it missing, I decided I would never buy yogurt again! Fucking if I can’t eat it, you can forget about eating it as well.


Can I ask how the sandwich thief was able to post the papers [responses] without anyone knowing?


From a sandiwch to fried squid [a pun that means “being fired”], now that’s progress.

READ  India's Poor and Homeless, Chinese Netizen Reactions

Written by Fauna

Fauna is a mysterious young Shanghainese girl who lives in the only place a Shanghainese person would ever want to live: Shanghai. In mid-2008, she started chinaSMACK to combine her hobby of browsing Chinese internet forums with her goal of improving her English. Through her tireless translation of popular Chinese internet news and phenomenon, her English has apparently gotten dramatically better. At least, reading and writing-wise. Unfortunately, she's still not confident enough to have written this bio, about herself, by herself.

  • AbC

    Seriously??? This made news (popular on Sina?).

    I don’t even know what to say…

    • mr.wiener

      It does make me feel like a sandwich though.

      • Fritz Vanderhoffen

        I too feel as if I was bounded by two slices of wheat with a delicious turkey filling and mustard sauce.

        • b duck

          your profile is true?
          i wanna make friends with you then!

          • KamikaziPilot

            My profile is true and I want to make friends with you. How about it? Don’t reject me please.

    • Anark1

      Weibo is a platform for all kinds of weird stuff, News isn’t the biggest reason people use it.

      • AbC

        I know that. That’s why I added the bracket afterwards as it’s not really news. It was merely a figure of speech to use that terminology.

        But still gobsmacked something so trivial from the UK translated into Chinese caused a stir on Weibo.

        • Disney English

          Weird, relatively trivial things go viral. Have you not used the internet before?

  • b duck

    some people they do have this kinda little crime or excitment desire.
    once i stole a clothes in fitting room from a brand store, after home i was so happy and excited, latter i got guilty deeper and deeper, at last i took it back told the BA i just took this away by mistake. they did not say anything. haha!

    • AbC

      That ‘kinda little crime’ or ‘excitement desire’ is called shoplifting. I’m glad you came to the realisation after the guilt trip to bring it back.
      (didn’t intend to be mean. I’m in retail and have items taken from my stores very often, just giving it another perspective).

      • b duck

        it’s fine for me. guess most people have similar desire as me.
        i still remember how happy i was when i stole three duck eggs took them home asked my father to fry them let me eat. i was a kid but that happy feeling never fades.

    • Irvin

      Pray for the zombie apocalypse, then you can shoplift without guilt.

      • b duck

        i think it’s very normal for most people. just to experience that super exciting feeling!

        • AbC

          I hope you are relatively young. Viewing shoplifting as a ‘super exciting feeling’ can lead to shoplifting addiction.

  • Anark1

    Comic Sans is like cancer, why people still use it in the office :s

    • Markus P

      It’s not like it is official business documentation lol

    • Kai

      It shouldn’t be used EVER, office or not. :D

      • Anark1

        haha. I know. It’s probably the worst thing Microsoft ever came up with with the possible exception of Windows Vista.

        • Kai

          LoL, true, we managed to get past Vista, but Comic Sans still haunts us.

      • twelveways

        It is actually a very good font for dyslexics and people who have difficulties with reading. I use it for handouts in my young beginners classes.

    • Teacher in China

      Really? I like it for school handouts – titles, especially.

      • donscarletti

        You’re not helping everyone’s perception of your profession.

        • Fumanchu


  • LuoyangLaowai


  • FYIADragoon

    The Chinese translations make some errors…

  • Markus P

    Funny story! Boring comments…

    • Kai

      I kinda liked the comments.

      1. The truism about guilt vs. shame.
      2. That Chinese office workers grapple with the same nonsense of people taking other people’s food in the fridge.

      3. The suggestion of revenge with laxatives (there’s a “gweilo” in there too).
      4. The skeptical/clever guy trying to make sense of what actually happened.
      5. The guy who notices how many pieces of paper was used.
      6. The “if I can’t have it, no one will” rant.
      7. The other skeptical/clever guy who asks a really poignant question that potentially undermines the narrative being told.
      8. A classic Chinese pun.

      These may be kinda “duh”, or “duh” because we’ve seen them voiced by Western commenters elsewhere in response to this story so they aren’t novel responses to us. Even the “Chinese” angle may not be novel if we’re already familiar with how this kind of thing is also familiar in China. But I do still like them for how they all reinforce how similar we all are. I like that there are so many Chinese people who also find amusement in this story, and for whom this story resonates on some personal level.

      Not saying you or anyone shouldn’t find it boring, I just wanted to offer a different perspective.

      • Ny

        What you said is true, even truer by looking at the comments here. It’s interesting that once the generalization of several countries (ie saying all laowai are despicable because of this event) are applied to us, all of a sudden we take notice. I’m surprised that no one else has mentioned the paper wasting or the fact that netizens will always be netizens, no matter where we go.

  • AG

    Similar thing happened to my luch box in my graduate school years in USA. Some one must like my Chinese food really well. Later I did caught him (big fat white guy) doing it. But he denied what he was doing by claiming grabing wrong box.
    Later, I just anounced that I would spit into my own lunch box every day before putting into lab refrigerator (of course I did not). Then my lunch box became quite safe afer.

    • Kai

      I have a really hard to understanding why people do this.

      • Ken Morgan

        The recession… depression in the western world with fake GDP double accounting etc is hitting people quite hard! as such petty theft like this saves on people’s bills. My lunches at work are often stolen, as such I keep them in my bag under my desk.

  • Probotector

    How would $10 be useful to someone in the UK?

    • donscarletti


      To abuse someone enough so that they are willing to remove a $10 note from their wallet to make you stop is no huge task.

      To abuse them enough so that they go all the way to a bank, probably calling ahead to let them get the currency, especially since small bills are rarely sold in forex. All the while thinking about how annoying you are for making them do it. This is a magnum opus.

  • Probotector

    “Actually, there are a lot of gweilo with this kind of despicable personality.”

    Yeah, no one else though.

  • Probotector

    ‘…in a laowai office’? Come on, you know the country, can’t you just say ‘an office in the UK’?

    • Don’t Believe the Hype

      all laowai are the same

    • Disney English

      Just because the 英国那些事儿 account forwarded it doesn’t mean that it’s definitely in an English office.

      • Probotector

        I figured the British English they were using was a give away.

        • British English? Like French French or Russian Russian or Japanese Japanese?

          • Probotector

            You’ve really never heard of the term?

          • Sure. But it never stops sounding any less ridiculous each time…..

          • Probotector

            Why? It distinguishes it from American English, Australian English, Canadian English etc etc, because we all have slightly different pronunciations, spellings, nouns and colloquialisms. What’s ridiculous about that?

        • Disney English

          Looks like this has already been covered above but they’re not using British English.

    • Insomnicide

      It’s like on Youtube comments where people always say ‘some Asian country’.

      • Probotector

        That’s not the same. If they’d said ‘some Western county’, then it would be.

  • President Skroob


  • DavidisDawei

    Ni chi le ma?
    I guess not!

  • twelveways

    Chinese comments are way over the top, do they not have office pranks in China? I was in my office alone once whilst all my teachers (I’m the headteacher) were in class. All their phones were going off constantly; beeping, ringing, vibrating and playing crappy tunes.

    When everyone came down from their classrooms they found their phones in inflated balloons.

    The best reactions were from the Chinese girls who were too afraid to burst the balloons.

    • Kai

      Strange, the comments didn’t give me the impression of being over the top or not understanding office pranks. Didn’t some of the comments directly or indirectly remark about the humor or amusement of this?

      LoL, your balloon prank was pretty good. *thumbs up*

      • twelveways

        I guess I meant these two in particular…

        ” there are a lot of gweilo with this kind of despicable personality”

        “people like this who take other people’s things as they please must be fired!”

        • Kai

          Yeah, the first one is obnoxious. The second one is a pretty common reaction by people who have had their food repeatedly stolen from the office fridge. If it’s a prank, the persistent of it should be a fireable offense. If it is just poor character, that person should be fired on principle. No company should tolerate a petty thief in its ranks.

    • vincent_t

      I don’t see how this office prank is funny too if I am the 1 who find out my lunch gone missing. There is a fine line between fun prank and stupid prank.

      • twelveways

        It is a fun prank for everyone except the victim. I dunno, if it was my sandwich and I received those notes then I would see the funny side of it but I guess some people would be pissed off. I don’t understand why people would be pissed off on behalf of the guy who lost his sandwich though, I think that is taking empathy a little too far…

        …or maybe I am a sociopath

        • vincent_t

          It is fun if he steal only once and put a funny note right away. But what he did was stealing the sandwich a few times, and only start leaving notes after the guy posted on the fridge. To me either he is a thief or he is trying to get attention in a very childish way. I am not pissed on behalf of the guy, just don’t see any fun in it. I’d prefer ur prank than the 1 in the story.

  • lacompacida

    That’s what Chinese employees are like, even when they are overseas.

  • Don’t Believe the Hype

    “…this may look very funny, but people like this who take other people’s things as they please must be fired!”

    clearly the joke has gone over these Chinese commenters head. either that or they are even more square than my middle school librarian.

  • mr.wiener

    Corned beef… my god I miss corned beef!

  • SongYii

    ‘Isn’t it really disgusting to be stealing other people’s food to eat? Why does anyone think it is amusing? There’s nothing funny about it at all, okay?’

    I really want to steal this persons food.

  • Probotector

    They use British English

  • mr.wiener

    This guy is a genius.

  • Probotector

    Disagreeing is not trolling.

    Queue is British English, the dollar thing I mentioned elsewhere. We in the UK also say fire, increasingly so these days. Also the thief himself may not have been British, but the incident may still have occurred there.

    Are you British? I am.

    • Kai

      It’s not in the UK. It was reported in the UK by sites like Metro:

      …which cites its source as the American site College Humor (see watermarks on the images):

      In fact, the reason Fauna explicitly mentioned the previous translated post involving the same Weibo account was because the photo in THAT post was ALSO from the United States and not actually of something that happened in the UK despite the Weibo account’s username.

      What we have is something that happened in the United States making its way to the UK where it then made its way to China. The world is getting smaller.

      • Probotector

        In that case, more clarification is needed. It seems no source anywhere is definitively reporting on where this occurred. 英国那些事儿 doesn’t necessarily mean the UK, granted, but the word ‘queue’ seemed to explain the origin of the story. Still not conclusive proof I guess.

        • Kai

          “Printer queue” is used in American English as well. It’s what printer manufacturers called it and how Americans came to refer to it. The “dollars” is far more dispositive than “printer queue”.

        • Fumanchu

          in picture 3 the thief asks for $10, not £10

          • Probotector

            I addressed that elsewhere.

    • Disney English

      I’m British and there’s no chance whatsoever that the ‘sandwich thief’ would have written dollars if he was British. ‘Turkey and swiss on rye’ is also a pretty unlikely thing for a British person to come out with.

  • DRaY

    everyone know Americans speak English, and British people speak what ever it is you call those funny sounds that come out of your mouths … lol

    • Probotector

      Exactly, Americans invented English in 1776, along with democracy, science and the wheel. It’s an indisputable historical fact.

    • Pu Li

      ‘Everyone know Americans speak incomprehensible bollocks, and British people were speaking English when Americans were still running round in their underwear chasing buffaloes’

      Corrected for accuracy.

    • Truck Furniture Maker

      To me all of you sound more annoying than the people you’re mocking.

  • Comic Sans. Has that not been killed yet like the paper clip assistant…

  • Where I work they just provide food for us….and beer and wine and coffee and biscuits….

    • vincent_t

      Oh shit! So u r that waiter who served me half bottle beer and a steak looks bitten!

  • Mike M

    Lol that really funny, I’d be laughing so hard if I was working in the office.

  • just saying