The top of my husband’s head is barely visible above the Morning News sports section. He is grumbling about something involving the Gamecock football team that I recognize as disappointment.

Across the room, I am on the internet perusing the current news, headlines and happenings when I come upon an article about a lady claiming her refrigerator is spying on her. The story title causes me to look twice to see the author’s name and notice if he or she works for the National Enquirer. Based upon the story title only, I think it is ridiculous and sounds like a headline I might see by the grocery store checkout on a tabloid featuring two headed aliens and witness accounts of seeing Elvis at the mall.

The disheartened Gamecock fan, mystified as well, is now peeping over the top of the sports page as we discuss how refrigerator espionage could actually occur.

Last year when our 20-plus-year-old icebox bit the dust, we had to go appliance shopping. At the store we had to walk past the appliance front row to get to refrigerators that met our needs as far as size, quality, and price.

The giant-size high-end refrigerators on the front row featured fridges connected to the web. This gives the owner the option of logging in to a camera in the icebox’s door using their smart phone to check the contents while they are at the grocery store. This sounds like backward work to me. I check the fridge first, then go to the grocery store.

So, if a refrigerator has a camera and it is connected to the web, I guess spying could take place.

Assuming there is some spying going on, I have a bunch of questions. First, I wonder what this spy looks like. I enjoy old movies, and the spy in the movies would be someone wearing dark clothes and sunglasses crouched low behind the steering wheel in a dark sedan across from my front door. That’s as close as a double agent can get to my refrigerator without getting arrested for breaking and entering.

The modern-day spy I imagine would be a young computer nerd that hacked my refrigerator camera only to find that I like Pepsi over Coke. Having mined that knowledge from my icebox contents, what can he or she do with the information?

If an undercover agent has the capability to link up with satellites, traverse the vast dark web and hack into our WIFI system to gain access to my upright icebox, there must be some money involved. Why else would they go to so much trouble? Surely Coke or Pepsi would not entertain paying the wiz kid good money for this meager tidbit of information.

Just to play along, I opened my refrigerator door to see what the spy might see. There is a half carton of milk that my husband and our neighbor’s furry friend enjoy. The spy won’t see my hand going for the carton. I don’t care for milk.

There is a small bowl of chicken salad we made from the picked-over carcass of a rotisserie chicken we enjoyed a couple days prior. There is a bottle of lemon juice that I have no memory of putting in there. I see a half jar of strawberry jam sitting in the back. I will have to tell Alexa to add some muffins to our electronic shopping list.

A cup of coffee, a buttered muffin with strawberry jam and a copy of the Morning News while sitting by the fireplace is next to heaven. Other than that, a various assortment of condiments is all that remains. Nothing that a spy will want to write home about.

So, I guess a spy might generate a tiresome report, put it on a microchip and, in a clandestine meet, pass it to his handler. That’s what spies do, but in this case, I don’t know why.

The disappointed Gamecock football fan and I discuss how one could justify surveillance of my dull kitchen appliance. It appears that the contents are as disappointing as his favorite football team. Finally, we hit on a solution that might help the hacker keep his job. Subscriptions are all the rage these days.

For a meager monthly sum, the spy could text or email a report weekly that gives us a contents status report. The statement might say the milk has expired. The lemon juice hasn’t been touched since you put it in there, so throw it out. The strawberry jam does you no good without muffins and there are only a couple cans of Pepsi left. The spy could charge a small monthly fee to keep you on top of things and then after six months do what creditors seem to like doing, which is inch the cost up until the refrigerator owner complains and you must renegotiate.

I think I will just continue doing what I have always done. Open the door to see what I can see.

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Dr. Darlene Atkinson-Moran grew up in Olanta. She always knew she wanted to be a teacher. She is retired from the education profession and now resides in Florence with her husband, Michael. Contact her at

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