Have you ever been in the middle of grocery shopping when your stomach starts to growl louder than the squeaky wheels on your cart? What do you do? Hurry up, grab only what you need, and hit a fast food place on your way home, or grab a quick little snack from the aisle and continue on your merry way?

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I came across this girl on TikTok asking folks whether they eat in the grocery store and the responses were totally divided. This is also an accurate representation of opinions in the Maddox household. Michael told me that eating something at a supermarket before purchasing it feels wrong. He did say that he could understand someone needing a drink and walking around with that before paying at the end, but he could never just walk around snacking on a bag of chips or something.

My friends were pretty divided too. One of them said, "Oh yeah, every time. It's my little treat to make it through the massive weekly shopping trip." Another said her anxiety would never let her break what she considers to be an unspoken rule that you have to pay for it before you consume it.

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On the other hand, in my mind, as long as you pay for everything you leave with, including what's in your belly, you're golden. When Rollins was little, I would open some goldfish or applesauce pouches for him to keep him from getting hangry.  Of course, we would scan it and pay for it once we were checking out, but is that legal to do here in Kentucky?

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According to Findlaw.com, there is a gray area when it comes to the legality of the situation. "In general, shoplifting requires two elements:

  1. Taking possession of an item being offered for sale, and
  2. The intent to permanently deprive the item's rightful owner (the grocery store, in this case), without paying for it.

In other words, you need to have committed the act of taking the item and have the intention of evading the checkout counter in order to be found guilty of shoplifting, according to the law."

Store managers can determine whether or not they want to set guidelines for shopping in stores, but most of the time it depends on what kind of food product you are snacking on that determines whether or not it is acceptable. Anything like produce that is sold by the pound you should not eat before you get to the checkout. Every grape in the package needs to be present when weighed by the cashier Plus, you really don't want to sneak any that haven't been rinsed off anyway.

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Luckily, places like Kroger have free fruits for kids, but until they're cool with me grabbing a banana too, I may have to eat a granola bar to multitask if I didn't have time to stop for a snack beforehand. I promise I will scan the wrapper with the rest of my items. Scout's Honor! What do you think? Is it socially acceptable to eat or drink something in a store before you pay for it?

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