ORIGINALLY POSTED: 11/06/11
That is the question, but first a little background before my impending rant.
Recently a woman (30 weeks pregnant) and her husband were arrested in Honolulu after not paying for a sandwich the woman ate while shopping at her local Safeway. The couple, with their 2-year old daughter in tow, walked to the store to do their shopping. Mom began to feel faint so she grabbed a sandwich, ate it while continuing to shop, and forgot to present the wrapper to the cashier at checkout. Both mom and dad were then arrested and their daughter was taken away. The separation lasted 18 hours. Okay, wow... seems a bit of an over-the-top reaction right there, IMHO, but that isn't what's 'gnawing' at me today. Rather it's this whole concept of whether or not it's okay to eat food in the grocery store before you've paid for it.
Is it really that difficult to fight the urge to munch on the groceries in the cart before you pay for them? What other items do we use or consume BEFORE paying? Hospitality and some services come to mind; hotels, restaurants, medical care, just to name a few, but a grocery store does not fall into any of those categories. We don't pick out a new pair of pants and wear them to the register expecting the clerk to ring "us" up, literally. We don't grab a new CD and start listening to it on the way to checkout and expect the clerk to scan the empty case. We don't put on a fresh coat of nail-polish at the local drugstore and expect the clerk to total the sale while our nails dry. So why do we eat food in the grocery store as we shop? Poor planning? Bad etiquette? Indulgence?
I know, I know, busy schedules and all of that, but really? When I see an adult open up a bag of chips for themselves in the store I shake my head and wonder why they can't simply wait until they get home or, at the very least, out to their car. When I see an adult open a box of crackers for a child, I really have to wonder again why a child can't also learn to wait. What are we teaching our children when we squelch them with food?
I can't say I never held snack time during car rides, in fact, I'm certain I did, especially when running around after the older ones with the younger in tow. However, I know for a fact we never had snack time in the grocery store, or any store for that matter, with food brought from home or plucked from the shelf. We planned accordingly or simply waited. I'm sure that exceptions could be argued, such as an emergency or other intervening/extenuating circumstances, but generally speaking, I think it's in poor taste (pun intended), unless, of course, the grocery store is providing samples. In that case Bon Appétit!