It’s not really stealing, right?

Now, I’m not necessarily condoning taking more from the dining hall than you’re paying for. That said, we are giving a lot of money to this institution to provide for us, so I’m also not not condoning it. As such, I’ve ranked a few of the best things to smuggle from the dining hall, and why.

Oranges, bananas, and apples from JJ’s 

Easiness: In my opinion, JJ’s has the easiest fruit to steal. Even though the location is pretty out in the open (right in front of the meal-swipe desk), no one seems to notice (or care) if you grab a couple extra pieces of fruit on your way out of or into the dining hall. I’d give this a 9/10.

Cost-benefit: Fruit is crazy expensive these days. However, out of all the over-priced fruit, oranges, bananas, and apples are actually some of the cheapest. Still, it’s a lot more cost-effective to grab a few bananas or oranges from JJ’s to keep for later than to buy them at the store. 8.5/10

Overall risk-to-reward: 9/10

Tea bags from John Jay

Easiness: Taking extra tea is quite easy because they’re individually bagged–it’s super simple to stuff a few extra in your pocket on the way out. Plus I don’t think this is something one would even really get in trouble for–I mean, it’s just tea. 9.5/10

Cost-benefit: Do you know how expensive tea is? It’s ridiculous! Perhaps another consequence of the pandemic (or merely of the flu season), it seems that the price of tea has sky-rocketed. I’d rate this a solid 9/10.

Overall risk-to-reward: 9.5/10

Nutella from John Jay

Easiness: According to my interlocutors, it’s pretty easy to take more Nutella than you’re technically paying for. 9/10 

Cost-benefit: Nutella is pretty darn pricey, so grabbing some extra from John Jay is definitely a steal (haha, get it?). I’d say this is for sure at least a 9/10. 

Overall risk-to-reward: 9/10 

Dry cereal from any dining hall

Easiness: If the dining hall you’re looting from has to-go containers, this is a fairly simple task. That said, these boxes can get kind of bulky, so it’s difficult to be super stealthy in the process. 8/10

Cost-benefit: Certain cereals—like granola-based types, organic brands, or kinds with less sugar—can get quite pricey. On the other hand, more popular brands (Cheerios, Apple Jacks, etc.)—which happen to be the ones most often at the dining halls—are usually cheaper. On average, I’d say the cost-benefit is at least a 7/10. 

Overall risk-to-reward: 8/10

Ice cream sandwiches from Ferris

Easiness: This station can get somewhat busy so it’s not always the most covert operation, and you definitely run the risk of drawing attention to yourself by stuffing ice cream sandwiches in your pockets. Plus ice cream is cold. And it melts. 6/10 

Cost-benefit: Ice cream sandwiches aren’t super expensive (I don’t think?) but free ice cream is always a bonus. 8/10

Overall risk-to-reward: 7/10

Salad dressing packets from John Jay

Easiness: Easy peasy lemon squeezy. Just pilfer some packs on your way out. 9.5/10 

Cost-benefit: High-quality dressings in the store aren’t exactly cheap but, then again, you’re definitely getting a higher volume than you would by taking individual packets. That said, this way you also get more variety which translates to a pretty high cost-benefit, in my opinion. 8/10

Overall risk-to-reward: 9/10

Pastries from John Jay

Easiness: Pastries are pretty easy to smuggle (just make sure not to smush them!), although it definitely helps to have a to-go box or a bunch of napkins. I’d rate it an 8.5/10.

Cost-benefit: The cost-benefit of stealing pastries is magnificent! 9.8/10

Overall risk-to-reward: 9/10.

M&Ms from JJ’s

Easiness: It’s super easy to fill up a cup and bounce. Others might take note of your suspicious M&M stash but it’s unlikely that anyone would care. What’re they going to do? Arrest you for saving up on M&Ms? 9.5/10

Cost-benefit: Candy generally isn’t that expensive, but I’d consider saving money on anything a win. 8/10

Overall risk-to-reward: 9/10

Milk substitutes from Ferris

Easiness: Stealing a bulky milk carton definitely isn’t simple, nor is it surreptitious. There’s a lot of maneuvering that goes on in the process, and you’ll need to bring a tote bag or semi-empty backpack to whisk away your contraband. Plus, if you’re like me, you run the risk of feeling a sustained sense of guilt for a long time following. Alas, we gotta get our calcium in somehow. 5/10

Cost-benefit: Alternative milks are definitely not cheap. At all. 9.9/10, if you can pull it off.

Overall risk-to-reward: 6.5/10

Whipped cream from JJ’s

Easiness: Taking a full can of whipped cream from a dining hall is definitely too bold for me, but I’ve actually seen it happen right before my eyes. A daring move by a swift arm, it seemed that this act of thievery wasn’t even all that difficult for this particular poacher. Personally, I’d rank it a 4/10 at best.

Cost-benefit: Whipped cream is quite expensive. In fact, it can be up to $8.99 at most stores in the area. Solid 9/10.

Overall risk-to-reward: 6/10

Fruit at Ferris via Bwarchives.