I caught the Biter.
On and off for a couple of years we have found cheese on the shelf that has been bitten through the plastic. It’s always the Monterey Jack or Mild Cheddar but otherwise there’s no discernable pattern. There first time I saw it happen I just assumed it was rats, the cheesemongers’ nemesis. However, upon closer inspection we realized the teeth marks weren’t rodent, but human. These cheeses weren’t eaten, just bitten into at every corner.
Now, OCD biters are not unheard of. Awhile back we had a produce biter who we had to kick out of the store. Eventually her therapist contacted us and we worked out a deal where she could shop with supervision while she tried to get her problem under control. But she didn’t like cheese. This was a new biter.
We sometimes get acts of sabotage in the cheese department. We assume its vegans of course. Sample toothpicks stuck into cheese on the shelf, cheese hidden out of refrigeration, that kind of thing. We don’t get too much however, because our department also takes care of the vegan “cheese’ and – if I do say so myself – we have the best vegan “cheese” selection in the city. Besides, a vegan wouldn’t bite into cheese. Though a freegan might…
Shoplifting prevention is not my strong suit. I’m easily distracted and, really, just don’t have the heart to figure out which nice, frequent customers are ripping us off and probably have been since 16th St. Still, I could tell that there was something mischievous when I saw a girl about 8-9 years old furtively looking around. I had just tossed two big pieces of Jack in the garbage from human bite marks so I was on alert. Sure enough, she went behind the big Parmigiano Reggiano display, picked up a piece of Jack, looked around, and went for the chomp.
“Hey!” I yelled. She couldn’t have been more red-handed. She looked up at me and I just said, “You can’t do that. Take me to your parent.” She led me halfway across the store and hid between her Mom’s legs while I told her Mom what was up. Mom was mortified and kind of shocked but she apologized profusely and made her daughter apologize also. Then she came back to the counter five minutes later and had her daughter apologize again to everyone working in cheese.
One can wonder or worry about the mental state of the girl or the hard road ahead for the mom, but there really isn’t enough information available from the incident to draw any conclusions. I’m just happy to finally have this mystery solved