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How do you feel about people eating food in the supermarket before they pay for it?

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Saw someone doing this today. I, personally, don't like it. I'm just curious how other folks feel about it, and why.

  1. (If the people are really paying for it , in general, no problem, but If the people just come in and pick something eat it and leave, that is wrong.)

    I sometimes eat the baguette tip before going to the cashiers...

    If it's a weighted produce, it should be no, but if you buy a bag of grapes and eat 1 or 2 while browsing the aisles, why not; it's kind of the same as tasting/eating grapes from the presentation bin.

    If it's a fixed price and you just pick in (cereals, cookies), while being tacky, it's no biggie; I've seen a lot of parents do that for their kids.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Maximilien

      Oh Maxi, I thought I was the only one that ate the tip of the baguette while walking around the market.

      I don't particularly mind others but don't spit out the cherry pits on the floor like I saw one senior do!

    2. In case you're curious about how people's feelings on this topic have evolved over the years:

      [September 2006] Snacking on one's own groceries at the supermarket...
      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/323691

      [September 2008] Do you find people who eat at the grocery while shopping rude?
      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/556926

      1. ... I doubt most people who eat in the store actually pay for it. As such, my sympathies for them are equivalent to my sympathies for thieves.
        ... Have you seen good paying customers stealing veggies (or bananas) for their children? [a friend of mine worked in a small town grocery. it happened often.]

        4 Replies
        1. re: Chowrin

          I wouldn't be so quick to assume that. I have on occasion eaten a snack bar or candy bar or part of a bag of chips while shopping, being sure to openly keep the wrapper or bag in the cart as if it were a purchase and present it to the cashier, when I'm having a terrible blood-sugar crash and can hardly think straight without eating right away (this tends to happen if I'm shopping for dinner on the way home from work and didn't eat lunch, which happens....). I know it's tacky, but if I'm desperate, I'll do it. I've never had a cashier look surprised, interestingly, which suggests that i'm not the only one who does it and is honest about it!

          1. re: Kitchen Imp

            if your health is endangered, all is forgiven (and you shouldn't feel bad. AT ALL. The store, I'm sure, would rather have you eat a bit, rather than crash.). For all my bitching, I don't want anyone to have to go to the hospital when the solution was right in front of everyone's face.

            1. re: Chowrin

              YES, sometimes I give my dd a banana in the store. we always offer to pay for it though.

              1. re: fara

                Nowadays one can ring up and put a sticker on the bag, so the cashier can charge you the total amount of the produce before you eat it.

                It might be hard for a cashier to decide whether to give it to you free of charge or to charge you a certain amount that she might not know.

          1. I recently saw a woman going around a big display of apples, taking a bite out of one and putting it back. I saw her do this twice but there was no store worker around to tell and I wasn't about to say anything to her.

            15 Replies
              1. re: LikestoEatout

                In high school, my friends and I went to the grocery store and watched a kid (probably7-8 years old) take a bite out of each flavor of bagel from the bins and put them back. It took me many years before I could bring myself to shop the bulk bins again!

                1. re: LikestoEatout

                  Good decision. You never know how a person will react (now-a-days).

                  1. re: LikestoEatout

                    Nice. I once saw a produce guy, who worked at the grocery store, picking his ears while arranging the apples. I was nauseated by it (he was really digging in them and did it several times) and alerted management.

                    1. re: lynnlato

                      Last week I saw something like this, but in another part of the body. I was nauseated, too. And turned away. This guy wasn't a worker, but he was checking out produce .... you get my drift.

                      I thought about it later when I saw a woman picking up almost every tomato in the bin to choose the right one. I definitely washed my produce extra well that day with that uppermost in my mind.

                      1. re: lynnlato

                        You do realize that the folk picking your produce are lucky to have a Johnny on the Spot when they're out in the fields?
                        Wash everything like it all was touched by one of the vast majority of people who do not wash their hands after using the facilities.
                        Gross, I know, but it's what you DO NOT SEE that should scare you.

                        1. re: monavano

                          How well I know. Not all relates to humans.
                          One winter we stayed in Arizona beside a field of lettuce. A dog was running up and down the rows, feet on each side of the heads of lettuce and belly gliding along all the tops of all the lettuce.
                          We laughed of course, but it has remained in my mind for years.

                          1. re: Rella

                            I even wash rinds, like canteloupe and watermelon. Lord knows that knife will drag bacteria from the rind to the flesh. I even balk at the farmers markets that have lots of samples as I swear, about 3 years ago, I got a really bad cold=>pneumonia just days after sampling. I know, I will never know for sure, but it was highly suspect.

                            1. re: monavano

                              I wash rinds, too. I would NEVER take a slice of a sample from a person's knife at the farmers markets, especially if his wife has been changing the kid's diapers in eye-sight, or a favorite dog nearby is getting petted every few seconds while we're chatting.

                              I have got sick myself from food. Since I started juicing a few days ago, I am aware of how well my fruit and veggies have to be prepped. In addition I add lemon juiced, which in my miind helps a bit.

                              Even though I always clean my salad, I do add lemon most often as I feel it helps against some bacteria.

                          2. re: monavano

                            Yes, of course. That is why I wash tomatoes, apples, cucumbers, etc. with soap and water. Someone once gave me shit for this here on CH (saying the soap was more harmful that the germs/bacteria) but I would rather ingest a miniscule amount of soap then Bubba's ear wax, thank you very much.

                            1. re: lynnlato

                              Ha!! I'm glad I'm not alone. Normally, I'm not too much of a germaphobe.

                              1. re: lynnlato

                                which is your right, but you may not be choosing the healthier alternative

                                1. re: thew

                                  It's a chance I'm willing to take, Thew.

                                  And I'm not typically a germaphobe either, but kids and their little hands are nasty. And so is Bubba and his ear wax.

                                2. re: lynnlato

                                  Bubba's ear wax will be on his TRUCK KEYS, not his knife or fingers.