After one internet user’s post about installing a security camera in her refrigerator went viral, thousands of commenters assured her that she was not wrong for spying on her three housemates.
In a post that has received 12.2K votes and over 2,100 comments in just twelve hours, Reddit user u/Not_entirely_sure__ said she thought one of her housemates was stealing her food out of a shared refrigerator. Posted in Reddit’s r/AmITheA**hole, the Redditor detailed the circumstances that led to her putting a camera in the refrigerator, and asked the subreddit’s 3.4 million members if she was the a**hole in this situation.
Writing that she lives with three other women and generally gets along with two of them, u/Not_entirely_sure__ said she “never really liked” the third, whom she refers to as “Kate.” After noticing that large portions of her food in the house’s refrigerator were consistently missing, she suspected Kate was responsible and became determined to collect concrete evidence.
“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 got one, place it discreetly inside the fridge, and decide to wait a week,” u/Not_entirely_sure__ wrote. “Sure enough, it was Kate, raiding my food daily.”
“I confronted her about, because now I had proof,” she added.
Sharing a refrigerator is an unavoidable aspect of living with roommates, and so are disputes over shared refrigerator spaces. According to Apartments.com, people living together often clash when it comes to refrigerator etiquette. In a list of “Tips for Sharing an Apartment Refrigerator with Roommates,” the popular apartment rental service recommends setting boundaries about taking food from roommates, and how much refrigerator space each roommate is allowed to take up.
Despite having “proof” her housemate was stealing food from her, u/Not_entirely_sure__ said her housemate went “apesh*t” when she confronted her, and questioned how she acquired the evidence.
“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 home,” u/Not_entirely_sure__ wrote. “I explained the camera only recorded the inside of the fridge, not the whole kitchen, but she didn’t care.”
While the original poster said that her household is split on whether her actions were “invasive,” certain laws do protect residents from being filmed in their own homes. As a result of Katz vs. United States, citizens are granted a “reasonable expectation of privacy,” and their privacy is protected within their homes. However, despite recent laws that prohibit the filming of citizens while they are in private areas in their homes, filming in common areas, such as a living room or a kitchen, is legal.
In the thread’s top comment, that has received over 16,000 votes itself, Redditor u/TwoCentsPsychologist told the original poster that they were justified to install a camera in the refrigerator, and told her not to apologize to her upset housemates.
“Do NOT apologize,” they wrote. “You should insist to the other roommates that Kate should apologize and pay you back or move out.”
Responding to u/TwoCentsPsychologist, Redditor u/Piemanthe3rd said that OP should take things one step further, and not address any of her housemate’s feelings about the situation until the thievery was addressed.
“More than do not apologize: don’t even engage,” they told u/Not_entirely_sure__ in a comment. “If they bring up the camera, ask ‘Why were you stealing from me? When will you be paying me back for stealing from me?'”
“Keep emphasizing, to everyone who lives there, that this is about theft and nothing else,” they added.
Providing further context in a response to a comment, u/Not_entirely_sure__ said that, despite her attempts to re-focus attention on the food theft, the housemate she accused of stealing refuses to pay her back.
“When I asked her to pay me back [she] said she’s ‘not paying me sh*t,'” they wrote. “I think it’s a good idea to redshift the focus back to the original issue.”