Eating pre-purchased food while grocery shopping: He Says/ She Says

(Not that I need to explain myself but the non-cloth is for daycare, and this is a Daddy photo, explaining the no bow or pants.)
She says: “…And she kept begging me and the grocery lady said I should just give her some…”
He says: “You spoil her. She never does that with me, you shouldn’t give her any.”
She says: “Ok smarty pants, I didn’t. I waited until I bought it and we were outside.”
He says: “Ok, good.”
Something we agree on! Both our mamas raised us this way. What say you?
And who would know this post would be so timely? Thanks to my commenters who pointed this out. Apparently a pregnant woman got arrested for doing this last week…

As long as it doesn’t have to be weighed (like grapes), I let Serenity eat it. It doesn’t hurt anybody, I don’t think it’s a case of spoiling and, for me, totally unnecessary to create friction over so small an issue. 😉

Hmmm I think I am guilty of doing this. If he sees one of his treats being placed in the cart, he usually wants it. So I give it to him. It doesn’t bother me one bit, just as long as it’s nothing that needs washing. Sometimes I distract him by letting him help me push the cart. For some reason he LOVES doing that.
Maybe my husband is the spoiled one. He is very guilty of eating candy, shakes, and juices while shopping. LOL. So Lil Man is always munching along too. Hehe.

Rainbocow says:

I cannot imagine opening something and consuming it before paying for it. I would feel like I was stealing. I just don’t think I could do it. My kids can wait or have something we already own.

YUMMommy says:

If Moo wants a snack while I shop, I usually head to self checkout, pay for the item, keep the receipts in my pocket and return to shopping. Sometimes, she’s genuinely hungry because we’ve been out too long since her last meal. I seeing it as a case of spoiling. Kids eat a lot.

And the case the pregnant lady who got arrested, I think she honestly just forgot about the sandwiches. After, she did pay for the rest of her groceries. I think the manager was being a jerk! He could have come to the register and reminded her about the sandwiches.

GAHCindy says:

I say your mothers taught you well. Teach your child to do all things in good time and be patient. If you don’t, she might end up at the check out counter one day just realizing she forgot her purse and can’t pay for the food she just ate. Food is a terrible way to placate your kids, anyway. It just teaches them to eat when they’re bored.

Amanda says:

Sometimes by the time I get to the checkout I’m so thirsty and if I’m somewhere like Walmart where I have to wait forever in line, I’ll pop open a bottle of water. It’s not a habit I want to keep though. When my daughter is old enough to do the same, I won’t let her open up groceries to eat before they’re paid for. (Unless of course she’s thirsty and I don’t have anything to drink for her. I would most definitely “hydrate” my baby and not feel bad about it for a second lol)

I didn’t know you were still using cloth diapers. I just started and am having trouble rinsing all the soap out of them. What kind and how much detergent do you use?

AStarrA says:

I usually never eat anything or give anything to my daughter (who is now 8 so can wait, maybe if she was a baby/toddler) but I have gotten something to drink before and just saved the bottle to be scanned; cashier had no problem with it and I was not a walking sahara desert 🙂

BTW I can’t believe how big and beautiful Lil’ J is getting!! I remember seeing pictures right after she was born, makes me feel old haha.

Seana says:

I am guilty! As long as you seriously are going to pay for it, I don’t see the problem.

Growing up we’d get a snack and then my aunt would end up paying for an empty container lol.

I don’t see the problem with eating something if you’re going to pay for it. If it’s fruit or something you weigh out I mean, you definitely have to pay first.

She looks so cute in that picture btw au naturale!

Lynn says:

I just read a news story out of Hawaii I think or Oregon or California – mom brain memory loss, sorry – where a pregnant mom ate a sandwich while shopping with her family at the grocery store and after ringing up and paying for all her groceries remembered on the way out the sandwich wrapper and then a security guard came up to them – husband and wife – and they were arrested for shoplifting. They took their toddler daughter away from them and put her in State custody for a day until they posted bail. Yep, all that happened. Now I don’t think I will ever do it again. I can’t even remember in what state this story happened, how do I expect to remember to pay for stuff after I ate it? Or why go through the hassle of paying, eating, but still getting into something because someone doesn’t believe that I paid for it? Oy!

My best, Lynn
*don’t you just love my block paragraph of an answer? ;o)

Lynn says:

Okay this was going to bother me all day so I went off and hunted the article down. Here’s the link…


MB, Lynn

Amanda says:

Growing up our Mom only let us do that with drinks. Never food though. When our daughter gets older I will probably adapt the same idea.

Jessica says:

i say whatever keeps lil mama happy long enough for me to finish my shopping trip goes! lol not everyone shares my sentiment though it seems, as this couple found out:

Quiana says:

I agree with previous comment about not doing that with weighed food. I worked in a grocery store that had a lot of theft growing up and saw someone get arrested – not for eating weighed food but for carrying out giftcards. Anyway, I get annoyed when I see people eat fruit especially grapes while selecting their bunch or just walking up taking some and walking away. Ughhhh! First off it’s disgusting since the fruit’s not washed and second it’s stealing.

With my now 14 month old depending on the level of meltdown I let her eat packaged food. Recently I did this with a fruit pouch. It kept us sane in Target and yes, I remembered to pay for it at checkout.

Hilarious preface btw of you explaining her outfit. Dad’s are too funny!

Jessica says:

left the comment window open for a while, didn’t see that lynn posted the link already! glad i’m not the only one who saw that! lol

Thanks for the link mamas! Added! That’s just nuts, but one reason why I don’t do it… In case I forget. I do bring emergency snacks incase of a meltdown but I try not to depend on food. I do let her play with a toy or ball though while we walk around.

I don’t ever let my kids get into anything before it’s paid for. I guess it’s not all that bad, but the way I see it, it’s a lesson in self-control. It’s not going to hurt my kids to be deprived of a snack for twenty minutes!

melifaif says:

I am guilty of this! And my momma would have NEVER ever let us do this. I ate a grape one time and she turned me into the store manager. Geesh…

But daddy is SOOOOO against this. We kinda argue at the store when I do it. I AM going to pay for it….calm down.

Maria says:

I have occasionally gone up to the register & paid for a snack or drink, gotten a paid sticker & kept my receipt. Usually though, we just wait until we leave. I’m afraid I will get there & realize I dont’ have my wallet, left my credit card somewhere, the machine is down & I won’t have enough cash, I might have to leave due to a tantrum, or I might just plain forget!

My mom always opened stuff before paying (still does) and it really bothers me.

LiciaLee says:

If I’m buying baby food (we use the squeeze pouches like happy tot or plum organics) I will let her have one to eat while we shop because she gets upset if she sees them, especially near lunch time. I always throw it in the cart when she’s done, and the cashiers ring it like normal. Sometimes they offer to throw it away, sometimes they don’t even notice and throw it in the bag. Honestly, I’m always a little afraid to “bring my own” because what if someone thinks I stole it? Honestly, how would they ever know if I pulled it out of my diaper bag? So I just feed her one from the shelves and pay for it when we check out. 😀

Yea J gets mad when she sees anything… Grapes, strawberries, goldfish, and of her usual snacks. But I resist. If I brought it in and give it to her I never worry if someone thinks I stole it cause I know we didn’t. Usually it’s in her snack trapper or a ziplock bag though. So I woulda had to steal those too and hide the packaging they came in. Haha.

I don’t see anything with it if others do it but it’s just not my style.

PVDela says:

I think that you should do what feels “right” not necessarily what is easiest, what ever that is. For me, I have taught my kids that it isn’t ours until we pay for it and so they have to wait until it’s paid for but no one can tell you what is best for your family only you and your DH and God can do that. I’m sure whatever you decide to do will be perfect for your family.

I’m kind of surprised at the number of people who think it’s okay to eat or drink something at a grocery store before you pay for the item. It’s not yours until you pay for it. My mom never let us do this and I’d never allow my son to do this. If he has a melt down – oh well.

My husband stays eating pre-purchased grocery food. I always yell at him lol…

Sarah says:

Ok so my mom would let us eat grocery store food and then we would pay for it with our other groceries and throw away the container. Never once has it been a problem. I do it occasionally now myself. In fact just a couple weeks ago I purchased deli food at Publix and ate while I shopped, because it was dinner time and I did not want to buy 10 things I did not need because I was hungry. Adults get cranky when they are hungry and children (possessing less self control) can get down right foul. So I see no need for torture if it’s meal time and it would prevent a melt down.
As long as you pay it’s not a problem.

And let me just say I think that news story is unbelievable! What is the world coming to? It’s obvious they simply forgot if the PAID for all their other groceries and offered to pay for the sandwiches when it was brought to their attention. FREAKING RIDICULOUS. But unfortunately not illegal.

Jessica says:

To me, it’s not much different than getting food at a restaurant and eating it before paying your check. I don’t see how eating food before paying for it at a grocery store (with produce and other items that require getting weighed, of course) IF YOU HAVE EVERY INTENTION OF PAYING is any more dishonest than eating your meal at Chili’s before paying the check.

That being said, it’s still not something I make a habit of doing, not only because it helps my children learn patience but also because I’m so afraid that I’d do what that woman in the story did and forrget to pay.

The girls says:

This is one of my pet peeves!

Strictly speaking, if you (general you) consume something before you pay for it, it is stealing. Justify it however you like, but stealing is stealing. I equate it to robbing a bank and telling the teller that you’ll get paid soon and come back to take care of your debt later.

That’s my personal opinion, though. To each his/her own.

Mrs. Indart says:

i think giving in on a kid’s demands is really spoiling the’s teaching the child that he/she can get whatever he/she wants, as long as he/she throws a fit..and it doesn’t work like that in life…i think sometimes we forget that children are little people.w.e are molding them for the very soon future

I love reading the comments. There are some good points. I don’t give my kids food in store before buying, but that doesn’t mean I’ve never done it. It is very rare that I do or have done it. The last time was at a very long Walmart line. My little guy was starving and it was the tiny goldfish snack.($.50?) I was already in line not wandering the store with it the whole time. I felt guilty the whole time even though I knew I was buying it. At our grocery store while waiting for a prescription I got a sandwich for me and goldfish for my DS. paid for it and ate it outside (well in my car). My publix gives kids a free cookie. I bribe them with it. Be good shopping get a cookie. LOL.

I had heard about the sandwich, but just now read the article. That is crazy! It’s obvious they weren’t trying to steal $5 of sandwiches when buying $50 of grocery. They took her kid overnight because of $5 I’d have been freaking out. Poor kid too!

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Hi! I’m Jennifer Borget


I'm a former journalist, and lifelong creator striving to make the world a better place. This is the space where I share my journey in making the most of every day by cherishing our individuality and celebrating our differences.

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