Supermarket shopping - eating before paying

Bald Rick

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In the last few weeks I’ve seen a number of people in Sainsbury’s opening food that is in their trolley, then eating some or all of it, before then putting the wrapper / pack on the checkout belt and paying for it. More often than not, it has been a hassled mum giving a young child a biscuit, fruit from a prepack, or some other snack from a multipack. However today it was a middle aged bloke who wolfed down both individual chocolate tortes from a twin pack out of the bakery section. (Hilariously, the rest of his shopping was entirely wholesome - fruit, veg, pulses, grains, lean meat etc. I suspect he was eating the evidence before he went back to a very healthy home!)

To me, eating stuff in the supermarket before you’ve paid for it feels morally wrong, and I would never do it. However given that it is paid for before leaving the premises, I guess that technically it’s not against the law? In principle, it’s the same as being in a restaurant. And I suppose you could argue that you are simply repackaging the goods!

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RailUK Forums

trainophile

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If they get their way about banning eating on public transport there may be a lot more of this going on, as people grab a snack before dashing for their train!
 

hexagon789

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However given that it is paid for before leaving the premises, I guess that technically it’s not against the law?
It would only be against the law if they failed to pay before leaving the shop, as long as they pay up then it's not. Nevertheless I personally loathe the practice, but as it's not illegal I don't see anything morally wrong with it.
 

Gemz91

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If you can't make it around the super market without snacking then there's something seriously wrong with you. I notice a lot of the major super markets have free fruit for children which is good, but there's no need for adults to be snacking. Embarrassing behavior.
 

Darandio

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We used to have a guy visiting Morrisons here that would regularly roll up to the Pick and Mix on his mobility scooter and proceed to take a selection out and eat them. Didn't even use the scoops!
 

trainophile

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If you can't make it around the super market without snacking then there's something seriously wrong with you. I notice a lot of the major super markets have free fruit for children which is good, but there's no need for adults to be snacking. Embarrassing behavior.
I have seen adults taking the free fruit and hiding it in the bottom of their trolleys. Sometimes I despair of humanity :rolleyes: .
 

Ianno87

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I had allsorts when I used to work for a certain large Hertfordshire-based supermarket chain whose name rhymes with Fresco.

Best (i.e. worst) one was sonebody who got a large pork pie off the deli counter, munched through half of it, then just left the remains on one of the bread shelves to go off...

However, I do like the current practice of free fruit for kids to eat.
 

trainophile

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I had allsorts when I used to work for a certain large Hertfordshire-based supermarket chain whose name rhymes with Fresco.

Best (i.e. worst) one was sonebody who got a large pork pie off the deli counter, munched through half of it, then just left the remains on one of the bread shelves to go off...

However, I do like the current practice of free fruit for kids to eat.
I don't think I've ever seen a kid eating fruit in a supermarket!
 

trainophile

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I wonder if the apples are washed before being offered for kids to take. I don't know if other people are as fussy as me but I always like to rinse fruit that you're going to eat the skin of.
 

DynamicSpirit

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It would only be against the law if they failed to pay before leaving the shop, as long as they pay up then it's not. Nevertheless I personally loathe the practice, but as it's not illegal I don't see anything morally wrong with it.
I'm intrigued... how is it not against the law before you've paid for it? I would have thought that, even if you are intending to pay for it, it still belongs to the supermarket until the point at which you pay for it. And as far as I was aware, destroying property that doesn't belong to you is surely illegal? There's also a theoretical possibility that it might turn out that you don't have the means to pay for it - until you prove otherwise by actually paying.

(I doubt any supermarket would pursue it though if you were intending to pay).

In terms of feeling wrong - one issue is that eating stuff while you're walking around is a near-guaranteed way to drop lots of crumbs, which isn't exactly going to be pleasant for other shoppers.
 

Gooner18

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I'm intrigued... how is it not against the law before you've paid for it? I would have thought that, even if you are intending to pay for it, it still belongs to the supermarket until the point at which you pay for it. And as far as I was aware, destroying property that doesn't belong to you is surely illegal? There's also a theoretical possibility that it might turn out that you don't have the means to pay for it - until you prove otherwise by actually paying.

(I doubt any supermarket would pursue it though if you were intending to pay).

.
100% current the offence is complete once the intend is there. Although of course it’s lot harder to prove at This point
 

hexagon789

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I'm intrigued... how is it not against the law before you've paid for it? I would have thought that, even if you are intending to pay for it, it still belongs to the supermarket until the point at which you pay for it. And as far as I was aware, destroying property that doesn't belong to you is surely illegal? There's also a theoretical possibility that it might turn out that you don't have the means to pay for it - until you prove otherwise by actually paying.

(I doubt any supermarket would pursue it though if you were intending to pay).

In terms of feeling wrong - one issue is that eating stuff while you're walking around is a near-guaranteed way to drop lots of crumbs, which isn't exactly going to be pleasant for other shoppers.
It's only theft if you leave the premises without paying, if you pay for even after consuming all or part of it you've still paid for the goods
 

Gooner18

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It's only theft if you leave the premises without paying, if you pay for even after consuming all or part of it you've still paid for the goods
Yes and no. You’re indeed correct if you consume something then pay then it’s highly unlikely that anything would be done ( common sense dictates that ). However technically you could still be done for theft if you was stopped by security or a police officer before you paid for it.
You don’t have to leave the store the theft to take place although as I said it’s very hard to prove before the person has left the store without paying.
 

hexagon789

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Yes and no. You’re indeed correct if you consume something then pay then it’s highly unlikely that anything would be done ( common sense dictates that ). However technically you could still be done for theft if you was stopped by security or a police officer before you paid for it.
You don’t have to leave the store the theft to take place although as I said it’s very hard to prove before the person has left the store without paying.
Even if it is technically illegal, I'm not sure they could do anyone for shoplifting as that requires intent to not pay and as it's quite prevalent in supermarkets in my experience it would appear the companies just accept it, otherwise surely it wouldn't be so common if supermarkets were taking people to court for it?
 

Gooner18

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Even if it is technically illegal, I'm not sure they could do anyone for shoplifting as that requires intent to not pay and as it's quite prevalent in supermarkets in my experience it would appear the companies just accept it, otherwise surely it wouldn't be so common if supermarkets were taking people to court for it?
It would Be very hard to prove that the person intended To commit theft in those circumstances so yes I agree with you.
 

Gooner18

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For example if someone enters a store with intent to steal a bottle of vodka , he places said bottle under his jacket it is at this point the offence is complete, obviously it’s easier to prove once they have left the store.
 

yorksrob

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Personally, I don't see a problem so long as the product is paid for before leaving.

That said, I would never do it myself, and my parents when trailing my early childhood self around the supermarket, would have had no truck with the idea.
 

AlterEgo

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The rules of using a supermarket are that you pay for things before you eat or use them. It’s wrong to eat things before you pay for them in a supermarket - it’s not a restaurant.
 

hexagon789

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The rules of using a supermarket are that you pay for things before you eat or use them. It’s wrong to eat things before you pay for them in a supermarket - it’s not a restaurant.
I quite agree and that's what I would always do, but many people don't seem to think that way
 

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