Duke’s freshmen dining hall, Marketplace (or MP), is home to a well-known tradition: tupping. In order to combat the befuddling first-year meal plan, freshmen have taken to stealing food and sneaking it out in Tupperware containers. What our forefathers employed as a survival strategy, however, has evolved into a beloved sport, where the trophies are pies and the Yik Yak fame is fleeting, but oh-so-sweet. Here are the top 21 student-submitted tales of tupping. Read, then go forth and steal.

1. Stealing 101
When it comes to transporting (some might say smuggling) large volumes of food out of MP, attire is key. My strategy is to wear a big hoodie and athletic/sweat pants. I can stack around six apples in each sleeve, drop some bananas in my pockets, peanut butter in the hoodie pouch and, if I have something extra, I’ll stick it in the hood. Paper cups are popular too; put a lid on one, and it just looks like you’re drinking tea.

2. I scream, you scream. And then we steal.
My freshman year, a bunch of guys stole an entire tub of ice cream – the kind of tub that is probably a 1.5-2 feet in diameter and at least two feet tall. They stuck it between them and shuffled out together.

3. In true holiday spirit
My friend walked out with 6 poinsettia plants in her arms before winter break.

4. A grocery list. Or a résumé.

dining hall

Photo by Anonymous

5. Time waits for no thief
I stole the broken clock from marketplace.

6. More original than chips and salsa (unless it’s this salsa)
I took a small duffel bag full of fruits, gluten free foods, and snacks for a party.

7. I’ll be doing this next year
On Thanksgiving, I smuggled a full second Thanksgiving feast (including the lobster tail) divided across four Tupperware containers.

8. Variety is the spice of life
I’ve stolen 5 gourds that I used as decoration during Halloween season, a bushel of asparagus, two pineapples that I also used as decoration in my dorm room, a container of honey, two cups of olive oil and so on.

9. Wanted for pie theft
One time we took a whole pie as soon as it came out, waited about 5 minutes for them to bring out the replacement pie, then promptly stole the second pie. The manager ran around looking under tables and in bags, while we just sat terrified before leaving with our bounty.

dining hall

Photo by Emily Waples

10. Happy Birthday
My roommate and I stole three bottles of hot sauce – my friend is obsessed with the stuff, so we wrapped them up and gave them to him as a birthday present.

11. Hold the milk and sugar
I periodically steal tea.

12. Bribery done right
I stole all the pies from MP once. A friend and I walked in with two giant boxes, put pies in said boxes, and then bribed an employee with one to let us go—which was silly, because she could probably get pie whenever she wanted.

dining hall

Photo by Sydney Segal

13. Quicker than Domino’s
I filled an entire cake box with pizza.

14. How to decorate on a budget
I’ve stolen two large pumpkins, a life-sized C3P0 from midnight breakfast, a Fez from Disney night, and so on. Oh, and tons of food. Like a lot. But I do eat it.

15. You can be just like Beyoncé
I would always steal all the gluten free baked goods from the fridge, even though I’m not gluten free.

16. Kleptomania (n) – a recurrent urge to steal, typically without regard for need or profit
My roommate and I basically bonded over stealing stuff from Marketplace. We have stolen everything from a bag of cereal, to enough silverware, plates and bowls so that we never have to buy our own. We didn’t even like the food, so we just put it in the common room the majority of the time. MP stealing is a time-honored tradition that will continue to bring justice to the ripped-off Duke Freshman class for years to come.

17. One thief’s sport is another’s frugality
I almost never pay for lunch–I eat the grilled chicken I stole the night before.

18. In the golden age of Marketplace…
Back in the day (when the Class of 2016 were freshmen), MP had huge, 3-gallon tubs of ice cream in a cooler. Near the end of the year I stole an entire tub of cookie dough ice cream. Now they have the non-stealable soft serve machines.

dining hall

Photo by Lucia Perasso

19. The Robin Hood of Marketplace
A few weeks into school, I met the guy who stands in front of Whole Foods asking for money or food, and I realized I could help. A friend and I started bringing him bags full of food we snuck from Marketplace brunch. It was nothing for me, but I know it meant a lot to him.

20. Via the rumor mill (aka Yik Yak)
I’m not sure if this is true, but first semester they say someone stole one of the waffle irons. I’d shake the hand of whoever did it. And have them to make me a waffle.

21. Banned for life
I’m pretty sure I’m banned from the Marketplace for the amount of crap I stole from there.


Check out these dining hall articles and recipes to put your loot to good use: