Grocery Store Etiquette: To Eat or Not to Eat?

Posted: November 9, 2011 by jerkmag in VAULT -- archives
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You’ve been there before. It’s a Sunday afternoon, you’re at Wegmans, and let’s face it, you’re a little hungry. What’s so wrong about taking a few bites of a soon to be paid for bagel? Call me a fat ass, but I do that kind of thing all the time–have a few grapes while I’m shopping, a bite of a bagel, a swig of a water bottle, it doesn’t seem like that big of a deal, right?

Well, according to a recent arrest in a Honolulu Safeway supermarket, it’s kind of a big deal. A pregnant woman by the name of Nicole Leszczynski was charged with fourth degree theft, along with her husband, for chomping on a chicken sandwich and honestly forgetting to pay. Once caught by security, she offered to pay the few dollars the sandwich was worth. She even showed them the wrapper as evidence that she had the intention of paying. Oh, and did I mention her two-year-old daughter was taken away for 18 hours by the state because of this whole debacle?

I know she was arrested for essentially, and unintentionally stealing, but this raises some questions about grocery store etiquette. Personally, I think it is okay, but that’s just me defending my own grocery store eating habits more than anything else. I think that as long as you’re going to pay for the food, and you’re in the store, then it doesn’t really matter. You just need some kind of evidence, like a wrapper for example, of the consumed item.

Call me crazy, but I think bringing in the police over a consumed chicken sandwich is a little much. It’s not like she’s stealing from the Salvation Army or anything. It’s a freaking sandwich. What about the hundreds of people stealing from stores in the mall? I can’t even tell you the number of times I’ve had to deal with shoplifters to no avail. Nothing ever happens to them, but this poor pregnant woman just wanted to eat a chicken sandwich and gets her child taken away as a result. Not okay. What do you think?

-Julia Fuino

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