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Apr 17, 2011 01:49 PM

Trying a grape... taboo?


Growing up in my family, I always saw my parents test a grape (usually one green and one red) at the grocery store before deciding if they would purchase grapes (and which color to buy)--is this taboo?

I thought everyone did this. Therefore, I always do. But I realized--and maybe it is because of where I live now?--that I do not see anyone else do this. Is this taboo, common practice, or unusual?

Thanks for your responses. Apologies, if the practice is 'offensive' to anyone--but it has always been helpful in making a selection, so I never thought much of it.

  1. I think it really depends on where you are but here in the SF Bay Area many stores encourage and allow sampling so I don't think it would be offensive to try a grape in most stores.

    1. I always sample, just ONE...want those red grapes snappy and sweet. Another thing I do which is BAD but they won't listen to me on this one...WISH they would put out loose baking potatoes that aren't the size of my foot but noooooo, those things are like the size of a football. So, I open a bag of russets and help myself to some reasonably sized ones...I only buy 2, maybe 3 at a time. Have spoken to many Publix produce managers in a very nice way about this but they continue to do this. I told them what I've been doing and they seem nonplussed by it; I imagine they empty the rest of the bag into the loose russet bin where the gi-normous potatoes are.

      14 Replies
      1. re: Val

        Everybody thinks "just one" is no big deal, but I was brought up that was stealing. One grape, one cookie, one cashew, it's still taking something that is for sale. Some places give out samples and I certainly ask for one with cheeses and some prepared foods. As to opening the bag of russets, I hope you make it obvious it's not a full one when you're done so somebody else doesn't pay for 5 lbs. of potatoes when they're only getting 4.

        1. re: escondido123

          There's a difference between opening a bag of russets to "sample" and taking one grape from a bunch to sample. The former isn't so much theft as it is vandalism maybe; the latter, like I said up above, is ok and really just the cost of doing business. Don't think markets don't price in "sampling" as part of their price (or price/lb).

          1. re: escondido123

            I'm not investing ~ 4-6 dollars on a bag of grapes without knowing what they taste like. I take 1 to sample and don't feel like it's stealing. Grapes are sold per pound in all places I've seen them for sale so no customer is paying more because a few grapes are missing from that bag.

            1. re: scubadoo97

              Don't forget to put one grape back on the shelf after you pay. :)

              1. re: scubadoo97

                "Investing" is a big word for buying a bag of grapes.

            2. re: Val

              As someone who buys 5 and 10lb bags of potatoes, I hope you will rethink your practice of taking a few out of the bags. You have no way of knowing if the store does indeed empty the remaining bag into the bin. Do they even witness you doing this?

              I would be mad to realize that I had paid for something I didn't receive just so someone else could get exactly what they want at my expense. I do know now that I will weigh the bags before I buy them.

              1. re: Val

                Goodness - have you ever thought about the fact that the person who buys the bag you've taken your potatoes from is then getting cheated? What makes you automatically think that the "produce managers" run over & dump your bag into the "loose russet bin"? No wonder our food prices are going up. ;(

                Sorry, but I really really think you need to rethink your shopping methods. Or at least ask a produce person directly before performing your potato bag biopsy.

                And as far as the grapes, it's stealing plain & simple. If you really need your grapes "snappy & sweet", then ASK someone in the produce department before doing a taste test.

                1. re: Breezychow

                  Breezy, I leave the bag very noticeably open...I don't reclose it...guess I should have said that in my original anyone who picks it up will know it has been opened. There's no way I can use 5 pounds of russets...and the loose baking potatoes are freakishly I figure we all win this way. And like I pleas for decent size potatoes fall on deaf ears...they insist on selling only the monstrosities.

                  1. re: Breezychow

                    Conversations that never happen...

                    Shopper: Mr. Produce Person, are these grapes snappy and sweet?
                    Produce Person: No. Do not buy our produce.

                    (edit: never mind... Looks like the advice is to ask someone before taking a grape. That is probably more costly to the store, but if it's the means to an end of a clear conscience, go for it, I guess).

                  2. re: Val

                    Really? Maybe you are taking three out of one bag and putting them into a different bag and then buying the "better five pound" bag filled with your stolen potatoes.

                    Get a knife and cut the 'football size' potatoes into serving sizes.

                    1. re: Cathy

                      I love it, yes, use a knife-share a bag with a neighbor or start a potato patch. Do you have any other markets to buy individual potatoes at the size you need? Holy mackrel opening a bag, extracting your preference and leaving it as is for the store or next customer to deal with? Amazing.

                      OTOH, if the market isn't offering samples and I can't smell the ripeness, I go elsewhere to shop. I see more and more fresh samples being offered or a cut melon open for customers to smell. It's been my experience that produce depts need/want the fresh, perishable goods to move not sit.

                      I'm willing to stop at accusations of theft, but we all know that if every customer took one (fill in the blank) it would be a substantial loss for the store and we'd all pay in the end for it.

                      How did life get so darn complicated!

                    2. re: Val

                      My local Publix seems to do the same thing; sometimes the loose potatoes aren't even edible IMO. And I cannot use 5 lbs before they go bad. Once while I was searching through the loose potatoes for decent ones, a produce person was restocking the bagged potatoes right next to me and I made an off-hand remark to her, complaining about the quality of the loose potatoes. She promptly opened up a new 5 lb bag of potatoes, allowed me to choose the ones I wanted and emptied the bag onto the loose bin.

                      So your "bad" habit is probably okay, but you might consider bringing it to the attention of the produce manager or stocker when you do.

                      1. re: Val

                        once you get your deep fryer you'll understand why the Russets are so large. They make the best shoestrings and regular French fries. So please don't talk the stores out of stocking them!!!1

                        1. re: HGrady

                          but can't they just mix up some smaller (or normal-sized) ones with the ENORMOUS ones??? That's not so much to ask!!! LOL! I'm not trying to stop people from buying Herman Munster size russets...just want some regular size ones...and believe me, I have DUG through many piles of them to no avail...ugh!

                      2. i definitely sample grapes, but i don't think that we're supposed to. i always feel guilty, but do it anyway!

                        1. There's sampling and then there's nibbling (or snacking) while you shop.

                          The former is completely OK in my book, the latter not so much.

                          Markets account for "sampling" into their final price (or price/weight).

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: ipsedixit

                            They call it "shrinkage", not "sampling", and it's used as be a nice word for theft. It is usually factored in at around 2% last I recall.

                            1. re: coll

                              Thank you coll! Knowing your background at markets I'm confident with your definition.

                          2. I do not sample grapes before I buy them. I also go out of my way to pick a package from the very top or back of the grape display, making sure it doesn't look like someone has taken any from the package I select.