in , ,

Woman Called Out For Installing Fridge Cam To Catch Housemate She Suspects Is Stealing Her Food

Evieanna Santiago/Unsplash

If we’ve ever lived or worked with a shared kitchen, there’s one thing we can all agree on: shared fridges are inherently problematic.

There always has to be that one person who ruins things for others, agreed the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit.

Redditor Not_entirely_sure__ was furious when one of her college roommates repeatedly stole food from her but refused to stop or confess.

When she was called out for doing something about it, the Original Poster (OP) wondered if she had gone too far.

She asked the sub:

“AITA for installing cameras without telling my housemates?”

The OP shared a home with three other university students. 

“I (20 [Female]) live in a shared house with 3 other girls. I will call them Sara, Kate, and Zoe.”

“Kate is friends with Zoe, the rest of us aren’t really friends. Whilst I’m on ok terms with Sara and Zoe, I’ve never really liked Kate.”

“Also, we are all university students.”

The four young women had troubles in the kitchen.

“We have a shared fridge, where we have a shelf for each of our stuff.”

“I have noticed that my food and milk constantly go missing. I see multiple times a week that a large portion of my food and milk is gone.”

“It’s unbelievably frustrating, and also very time-consuming and expensive having to buy/cook new food.”

“I always believed it was Kate because 1.) She is awake late in the night (1-4am). I am asleep then, and I tend to notice my stuff missing in the morning.”

“2.) I have asked all of them about it. Sara and Zoe both deny taking my stuff, but Kate gets all defensive and says I shouldn’t accuse her when I have no proof.”

The OP decided to try an experiment. 

“I was complaining about it to my friend, and he said he was in a similar situation and he got a fridge camera.”

“I thought this was a great idea. I [borrowed his], placed it discreetly inside the fridge, and decided to wait a week.”

“Sure enough, it was Kate, raiding my food daily.”

“I confronted her about it because now I had proof.”

“I showed her the footage, told her to never do it again, and that she should repay me for what she took.”

Her roommates were not happy about this.

“She went apes**t. She said how dare I put a camera in the shared kitchen without asking the others first, and how it’s so invasive to record others in their own home.”

“I explained the camera only recorded the inside of the fridge, not the whole kitchen, but she didn’t care.”

“She has since said she’ll never be able to feel safe in her own home again.”

“Zoe has sided with her and they’re both calling me an AH and saying I should’ve asked everyone first, even though this would’ve defeated the whole purpose.”

“I said none of this would’ve happened if Kate hadn’t been stealing my food and lying about it.”

“Sara has taken my side, so it’s pretty tense in the house at the moment.”

“AITA?”

Fellow Redditors weighed in:

  • NTA: Not the A**hole
  • YTA: You’re the A**hole
  • ESH: Everybody Sucks Here
  • NAH: No A**holes Here

Some said the OP was right and Kate was trying to control the narrative.

“Kate does not deserve an apology. If she hadn’t stolen, then there would have been no reason to put a camera there. Simple.”

“She’s deflecting. Don’t let her. People like her try to worm their way out of stuff and all too often get away with it, unfortunately.” – wightlobster

“Every time she says she doesn’t feel safe because of the camera, tell her you don’t feel safe because of the theft.” – Catsaregonnacat

“More than do not apologize: don’t even engage.”

“If they bring up the camera, ask, ‘Why were you stealing from me? When will you be paying me back for stealing from me?'”

“If they say they don’t feel safe, ask, ‘Why were you stealing from me? When will you be paying me back for stealing from me?'”

“If her friend comes at you, ask her, ‘But why was she stealing from me?'”

“Don’t even begin to address the camera. Don’t respond to any complaints about it directly. Keep emphasizing, to everyone who lives there, that this is about theft and nothing else.” – Piemanthe3rd

Others agreed and said Kate had actually indirectly demanded the camera.

“‘You don’t have any proof!'”

“OP gets proof.”

“‘How dare you get proof! I’ve been violated!'” – UndeadBuggalo

“She literally asked OP to get proof. What kind of proof was she expecting? A police sketch artist?” – Morpheus_MD

“This is like an assailant assaulting you, then you kicking their a**, then they get mad at you for protecting yourself, and they manipulate the situation about them and forget the fact that they assaulted you first.”

“Kate pretty much asked you to procure proof, to be honest.” – Daweism

“KATE was the one that demanded you show her proof. So the camera was your way of responding to her request. Nothing more.”

“It is irrelevant that a criminal feels unsafe committing crimes because of a camera. Heck, that is actually a BONUS!” – WhyRUTalking4231

But some felt conflicted about the OP’s use of a camera without permission.

“I get OP’s logic 100%. But, I think OP’s innocent roommates have the right to be a bit weirded out by OP installing a camera without their knowledge.”

“I think I would be a bit freaked out and on edge after that TBH (to be honest). They (Zoe and Sara) did nothing wrong, and to have someone recording you without your knowledge is just a bit creepy.”

“I think OP should have told the roommates about the camera. It still would have stopped Kate and OP wouldn’t have put her other roommates in a weird position.” – Electrical-Date-3951

“The difference is between stopping the food theft and catching Kate. If the ultimate goal was stopping Kate no matter what, then, yes, the camera worked.”

“But as one of the other roommates, I would feel less secure around OP because she is ok installing cameras in public places.”

“If the goal was to stop food theft no matter what, and not identifying the thief, then telling people about the camera was the way to go.”

“I would vote ESH. The food thief is a bad, wrong person. But, installing cameras in public places without telling the people that live there makes me uncomfortable.” – Glittering_knave

“The problem is the flatmates don’t know for sure that it is the only camera. I would be creeped out for sure and be paranoid there are cameras everywhere. I would also be concerned some more would be brought in as retaliation.” – Conscious_Cat_6204

“I never would steal from a roommate, so I likely wouldn’t be the one under suspicion, but I would be so incredibly on edge if I found out I was being filmed in my home without consent.”

“There is an expectation of privacy, even in shared homes, because it is not public.”

“I would be worried that there could be more hidden cameras that I don’t know about in other cupboards or common spaces.”

“I would also be worried that now maybe Kate would put some other ones up to try to find OP doing something wrong that she could use. That house is a minefield now.” – fragilemagnoliax

Because her living situation was strained, the OP wondered if she had gone too far, but the subReddit agreed she had to do something.

Some admittedly were concerned about the use of a camera without letting her roommates know about it first, because of privacy and trust. The knowledge about the existence of a camera may have eliminated the thieving behavior on its own, as well.

But others thought it was important to indicate who could be trusted in the household since someone was clearly lying. Though the OP may have not been entirely right for using a camera without consent, the household seemed to be forgetting she only misstepped because of someone else’s serial thieving behavior that preceded it.

Written by McKenzie Lynn Tozan

McKenzie Lynn Tozan lives in North Chicago, where she works as a poet, freelance writer, and editor. She received her MFA in Creative Writing from Western Michigan University, and her BA in English from Indiana University South Bend. Her poems have appeared in Rogue Agent, Whale Road Review, the James Franco Review, Thank You for Swallowing, and elsewhere; and her essays and book reviews have appeared with Memoir Mixtapes, The Rumpus, BookPage, and Motherly, among others. When she's not reading and writing, she's in her garden or spending time with her family. For more, visit www.mckenzielynntozan.com.