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Snacking on one's own groceries at the supermarket...

Why oh why do people do this so frequently? I am not referring to the 'grape tasters' in the produce section or the folks who feel compelled to reach into the gummy bear bin in the bag-your-own candy aisle. I'm talking about the supermarket shoppers who open the the bag of doritos that they fully intend on purchasing and snack on them while toting their carts around, or the people standing in the express lane who've already begun working on their deli-case prepared foods. Or patrons who are apparently so thirsty that they've nearly finished their pomegranite juice before they make it back to their car in the parking lot. Who are these people walking around THAT hungry and thirsty?? OK, if one grows one's own veggies or fishes for one's own trout, sure, the instant the tomato comes off the vine or the trout jumps into the buttered skillet next to the stream, would seem to catch the foodstuffs at their peak freshness. But does it seem that so many people find it perfectly acceptable to seriously graze while shopping? I once half-jokingly suggested a new fad diet, wherein one might eat anything one desires, so long as one must run to and from the store to purchase it, and then one must also consume the food while also running. But for the folks who eat their own groceries at the supermarket, I wonder just how enjoyable can that consumption be? I ask this not to bait or flame; I genuinely want to understand why people eat and shop simultaneously...

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  1. I never eat food (unless it is offered for a tasting which is done in my market) but I will often get a bottle of water from the cold case and drink it as I shop. It is usually done by the time I am so the empty bottle goes through and they ditch it for me. This is usually if I'm coming from exercise class or have been out and about so long and am thirsty. Linda

    1. I have certainly been thirsty enough to drink before paying for something...and come to think of it, I've also consumed food in the store. I often go to Whole Foods directly from the stable after horseback riding, and am usually hot, hungry and thirsty. If I've run out of "car water", then I'm really, really thirsty when I get inside. Or, I may be out scouting for locations, and I've had so many appointments or have been in such a frenzy that I haven't had lunch, and because I have no time to go to a restaurant, I'll sometimes pick up something from the grocery store and start eating it right away if my blood sugar's low and I'm starting to get that headache I get when I don't eat soon enough.

      So there are a couple of examples. I don't eat anything before paying that has to be weighed, and I am careful not to spill anything, so what's the harm? Sure, I'd love to be having a leisurely lunch somewhere, but frankly I don't always have that luxury. By the way, when you're really hungry and/or thirsty, food's even more delicious!

      1. I do consider it odd when I see people snacking as they shop. It's just never occurred to me to join in. It being (the tail end of) Summer I find myself purchasing a bottle of whatever water, etc that's on sale and drinking most of it *outside* the store. But, then, I walk with my groceries and am attempting to stay hydrated while doing so.

        1. Thanks for all the replies so far. The theme seems to revolve mostly around water, which I believe is a more recent (5 to 10 year) phenomena. My mother-in-law calls us 'The Hydrated Generation', whereby mostly we are ever cognizant of our body's water levels. That makes alot of sense, to me. But as far as foodstuffs go, even in a 'tasty' shopping environment such as Whole Foods or Bristol Farms, there would seem to be limited charm to grazing on fairly expensive food while negotiating the human minefield of fellow fussy shoppers :-).

          1. Eh, no biggie in my book.

            As long as they pay for it, I say live and let live (or in this case, eat and let eat...)