Have I just witnessed a crime?

(73 Posts)
Thumbtack Mon 01-Jul-13 14:24:52

And a heinous one at that!

In a supermarket, commited by a little old lady, complete with blue rinse and a tartan trolley thing. She had opened a punnet of strawberries and was replacing the smaller mankier ones for bigger, nice juicy ones from other punnets ! shock She was definitely doing this as both me and my mum saw her and laughed

Now firstly is this actually illegal? Or just a moral crime? Also AIBU to think if it had been a young man in a hoodie doing this would probably be less grin and more angry?

Are sweet little old ladies able to get away with more?

Thumbtack Mon 01-Jul-13 14:26:32

This is meant to be a lighthearted post before anyone flames me for stereotyping 'hoodies'. smile

ISeeSmallPeople Mon 01-Jul-13 14:27:15

The punnets are usually sold by weight in supermarkets, so unless she got the weights right, it is theft. Or strawberry tampering. smile

hardbeingme Mon 01-Jul-13 14:29:23

arrested for strawberry tampering? grin

onetiredmummy Mon 01-Jul-13 14:29:28

What if she had just picked her nose before touching all those strawberries.

Hang her this instant, from the roof above the produce aisle.

<goes to make rope out of corn on the cob leaves>

Thumbtack Mon 01-Jul-13 14:29:44

Definitely guilty of strawberry tampering. How can she even sleep at night?

What a cheek.

adeucalione Mon 01-Jul-13 14:33:07

My gran used to do this - she was surprised I was shocked, and said that she was used to going to a green grocers and filling a bag with the ones she wanted (so choosing nice ones). I'm sure she last did that in 1940 but old habits die hard. She did it with eggs too - opened several boxes, selected six nice big ones and made up her own box, ignoring the fact that supermarkets now price eggs according to size.

Thumbtack Mon 01-Jul-13 14:34:44

adeucalione that's pretty much what my mum said.

hardbeingme Mon 01-Jul-13 14:37:19

i remember reading a story years ago about a little old lady collapsing in a supermarket, loads of staff rushed over to help etc and it turned out she'd nicked a frozen chicken, hidden it in her clothes/under her hat and was giving herself hypothermia or similar.

be very suspicious of little old ladies...

shewhowines Mon 01-Jul-13 14:40:21

I did this when I was about 13. I swapped all the robin/candles/street scenes, in a mixed box of christmas cards, for nice ones. blush

adeucalione Mon 01-Jul-13 14:56:26


I like the Christmas card idea. In fact the more I think about it, the more I want to choose my own stuff instead of putting up with prepackaged bundles. I reckon the old folk have got this right.

shewhowines How can you live with that secret shame?

sureitis Mon 01-Jul-13 15:05:15

hardbeingme hmmm I think that may be an urban myth as I've heard that exact same story however it was in relation to my local supermarket and the security guards catching her! Unless you live near me and it is about the same supermarket?? smile

With regards to the strawberry swopping oap I would be a bit shock, judgey pants and tsk tsking (very passive aggressive, I agree) and then would prob come on MN and share grin

wickeddevil Mon 01-Jul-13 15:06:30

Umm... I once bought s duck with pancakes, only to discover once I got it home to cook that the pancakes were missing.
I rang the supermarket to rant, as I was pretty annoyed, and the lady I spoke to explained that sadly it wasn't a rare occurrence. Seems people dont think one lot of pancakes is enough, so they help them selves from another box.
Anyway I'm in the hang em from high camp. Tis theft and its very annoying...

timidviper Mon 01-Jul-13 15:20:09

Strictly speaking it probably is a crime as most supermarkets sell punnets of berries at a fixed price per punnet rather than variable by weight.
I saw an older couple doing this once with fruit in Asda, they had opened several packs and taken a bit out of each of the others to make them slightly underweight and their own crammed full. I did give them my hmm face and asked them if they ought to be doing it but got told to mind my own business. I did tell tales mention it to an assistant who said a sizeable number of people, usually older, do it all the time and seem to regard it as harmless even when it is pointed out to them that they are as good as stealing from the customers paying full price for the other packs.

beachyhead Mon 01-Jul-13 15:22:43

I saw an older man breaking the green bits off the leeks about a month ago!

AllSWornOut Mon 01-Jul-13 15:25:07

My DH's old boss used to boast that she would swap the rounds of camembert-style cheese you get in wooden boxes from the more expensive boxes to the cheaper own brand boxes to save a few pence. She was a grasping, unpleasant woman all round but I do check the right brand cheese is in the box before buying now.

And she never even had a headscarf to excuse her behaviour grin

LadyKatherine Mon 01-Jul-13 16:01:50

My SIL used to (don't know if she still does) swap the bottoms from two piece outfits for her DD. She did this so both bits would fit. I can see the logic in it but still felt sorry for the people who buy the other altered outfit and then find half doesn't fit as it is the wrong size.

Startail Mon 01-Jul-13 16:10:13

I've been known to snap off broccoli stalk as I don't like it, but only when they are taking the piss with what they have put out, and I move baking potato and mushroom boxes to find ones fit to buy underneath.

HoneyDragon Mon 01-Jul-13 16:18:41

I was lauded a HERO, in Sainsburys for liberating the nice fresh large jacket potatoes from entombment under their shrunken shrivelly brothers. A HERO.

So ner.

Longdistance Mon 01-Jul-13 16:26:14

I always take fresher vegetables from underneath.

It is the law, that if you've worked in a supermarket you're allowed to do this grin

I also do this with meat, and yogurts.

HoobleDooble Mon 01-Jul-13 16:33:33

I snap the florets off broccoli because I don't want to pay for the heaviest bit, the stalk, which I won't be eating.

quoteunquote Mon 01-Jul-13 16:37:07

broccoli stakes are lovely, you are missing out.

Maybe she was french, they don't stupidly accept substandard fruit and veg.

SummerMyArse Mon 01-Jul-13 16:38:31

I don't think it's illegal to buy the fresher fruit and veg/meat/dairy! grin

I always check the dates and buy something that corresponds more to the date I'm planning on using the food (I meal plan and sometimes write the BB date for meat etc. on my shopping list to make sure I don't forget!)

But am very hmm at opening pre-weighed packets of stuff and changing contents/adding extra.

Having said that, I do object to buying leeks and paying for all the green stuff. I occasionally break off a leaf or too (too blush to be more obvious) but ever since I was pregnant and a lovely shop assistant broke the lot off for me when he passed it to me, I figure it's ok to do...

diddl Mon 01-Jul-13 16:40:41

How many punnets had she opened to do this, then??

If they were preweighed & sealed, obviously wrong to do.

DramaAlpaca Mon 01-Jul-13 16:42:10

I snap the stalks off broccoli too, and root around in the boxes underneath for the fresher stuff.

Strawberry tampering is the sort of thing my lovely nan would have done, bless her.

cumfy Mon 01-Jul-13 16:45:14

What could possibly be wrong with this ?

I regularly swap the bag inside the 500g value cornflakes (which I don't really like) for a 500g bag of pecan and honey granola (yummy, yum tum).

It's just common sense. smile

cumfy Mon 01-Jul-13 16:46:04

tum yum hmm

Thumbtack Mon 01-Jul-13 16:56:18

Well, she had opened at least two or three punnets , I think, pretty much in a row and had hers also opened and was basically picking and choosing the best strawberries for her own punnet. grin She was fairly old, so I think it was like adeucalione said, in that old habits die hard. And, I guess, why not get the best value out of your money? Although its a bit tough on the buyers of the other punnets . . .

plainjaney Mon 01-Jul-13 16:56:44

I have a relative who works for Tesco on security and he tells me little old ladies are by far the most devious shock

He watched one a few months ago pick up a bag of grapes sold by the weight, scoff half the bag as she walked round the store and then present half eaten bag at the till. I don't think she was too impressed when he came over, removed her half eaten bag and replaced it with a new full one, nor when he quietly told her that stealing grapes would get her banned if she tried it again.

cumfy Mon 01-Jul-13 17:08:59

Old criminal habits die hard. hmm

It just sounds like she's too old for chokie. grin

NeoMaxiZoomDweebie Mon 01-Jul-13 17:12:46

Hooble I have always eaten the stalk of broccoli...aren't you meant to?

NeoMaxiZoomDweebie Mon 01-Jul-13 17:13:35

cumfy you DON'T do you??? shock

i used to work in sainsburys on the checkout. i had a snotty customer who had eaten a whole bag of grapes on her way round and expected me to charge her for the bag she gave me. i said no and i got a collegue to go and find the heaviest bag of grapes she could find so i could weigh those instead... when the customer started to have a go at me i told her if i caught her doing it again i wont hessitate to call security as stealing is an offence. to my knowledge she never did it again... and collegue told me afterwards that she weighted the bag down with extra grapes

Buswanker Mon 01-Jul-13 17:50:32

My brothers friend ate six biscuits from a packet in a shop once.
His argument was they were the 25% free with them.
The security guard that saw him did not agree.

cumfy Mon 01-Jul-13 17:52:47

But NeoMax, it's all just cererals innit ?

My tastebuds just seem to prefer pecan granola.

Equally those that prefer cornflakes can go with that.

Really, just like the strawbs and the brocolli it's all just personal taste.

Not theft.

Oh no.

AmIthatSpringy Mon 01-Jul-13 17:53:46

Ha, "sweet" old ladies, are only older versions of the variety of different people. I used to work in a charity shop and one "sweet!" old lady used to come in and steal every week. I knew she was doing it, but wasn't sure whether to challenge her, only used to find empty hangers when she had moved on and out.

One week, though, she gave me the hardest, most challenging stare and I thought, fuck it, told the manager, she stopped her on the way out the door.

BTW, I always take the newest best before date, and go to the boxes underneath for apples/potatoes

plainjaney Mon 01-Jul-13 17:54:35

People eating as they walk round is a pet peeve of mine. I followed a 20 something couple round the other week who started off with sandwiches, progressed to crisps and finally cracked open a can of monster each.

I can sort of understand bunging a small kid a milky way from a multipack but eating your lunch as you walk round? Are you THAT hungry you cant wait half an hour?

I did wonder how much of what they had eaten they paid for.

SillyTilly123 Mon 01-Jul-13 17:56:33

I used to work in a fruit and veg shop and some oaps used to always do this and try to fit more into the punnet, so we'd find a punnet with like 2 strawberries in as everyone had filled their punnets up. lol

wannabeawallaby Mon 01-Jul-13 18:00:28

I saw a man swapping nice big organic eggs and the horrid battery cage ones between egg boxes. He paid battery price for the good eggs I presume.

prettybird Mon 01-Jul-13 18:08:36

I have on occasion swapped cracked/broken eggs for unbroken eggs to ensure that I get a box of "complete" eggs. I'd only ever do it with the same type of eggs, ie free range large for free range large or medium for medium.

Crikeyblimey Mon 01-Jul-13 18:11:34

We used to have the village shop and some people would take the stalks off the mushrooms before buying them! Some people are just bloody cheeky (and tight).

Ledkr Mon 01-Jul-13 18:17:52

The only good thing about getting old is all that you can get away with such as pushing in queues, having a seat for your bag on the bus while people stand up, tutting under your breath at everything, seeing the gp at least once a week and telling mothers off if 3yr olds poke your breakfast grin

DatsunCogs Mon 01-Jul-13 18:29:46

Are you not supposed to eat the green bits on leeks then? They're just as nice ( and it would be a waste not to! )

Methe Mon 01-Jul-13 18:42:13

I do this with trays of summer annuals in the garden centres.. Pull out the manky looking ones and replace with good'uns.

Wishing had the guts to do it with strawberrys!

JerseySpud Mon 01-Jul-13 19:02:34

i hate seeing parents feed their kids stuff they havent paid for around the supermarket.

Mine have to wait till its paid for

AmIthatSpringy Mon 01-Jul-13 19:06:00

I have always hated that too JerseySpud, I never understood why people couldn't wait.

However, for the first time ever, last week I was doing a quick shop after school with DD, who's periods had just started that day and she was very pale and was feeling faint, so I opened a bottle of water and let her sip from it before putting in my trolley <I felt guilty though and very ostentatiously handed it to the cashier>

MrsHuxtable Mon 01-Jul-13 19:08:39

I'm in two minds about this.

I wouldn't want to pay for half rotten strawberries either and I can never fins a punnet where they are all fresh and nice. Wish I had the guts to do my own pick n mix...

Aethelfleda Mon 01-Jul-13 19:11:37

Mine used to like eating carrots/apples around the supermarket, but I didn't always want to buy a huge polybag. So I'd hoss a (reasonably large) carrot or apple in the trolley, give one (the same size or smaller) to junior, and then tell the shop assistant to weigh, charge for and then keep the one they hadn't just eaten. Most cashiers were very nice about this, though there was always the odd one who found this far too confusing and would try to insist I keep the "benchmark" carrot/apple I'd "paid for"....

Turniphead1 Mon 01-Jul-13 19:16:06

I do this with Walkers crisps. I open the bag I want to buy. If there are any crisps that are darker than my optimal shade of golden I get some replacements from a neighbouring bag. Then I add some more for good luck as there seems to be a lot of empty space left in the bag.

Ledkr Mon 01-Jul-13 19:32:00

No you don't turnip ??

AmIthatSpringy Mon 01-Jul-13 19:38:27

grin turnip wink

PrincessFiorimonde Mon 01-Jul-13 19:40:13

grin turnip and cumfy.

SacreBlue Mon 01-Jul-13 20:34:24

So grin at this thread as I am just back from shopping. I use broccoli stalks sliced thin in Tom Yum soup and eat the green bits of leeks.

I did used to nick a few grapes and ask for cheese 'samples' at the cheese bar tho was perfectly honest to tell server I only wanted them for toddler DS to eat as we went round.

First time I went with a friend when her DD was in a buggy she opened a packet of dairy lee dippers and gave her them. I was a bit hmm until we got near the checkout and she hid the empty packet in the bottom of the buggy then I was shock

I also had a friend whose two v good married friends stole regularly from big stores on the basis it was 'sticking it to the man' she then said their bikes were stolen on a regular basis so it all 'evened out' I mean 'whaaat?'

My gran was frugal and would go to wee shops and barter but I would never believe she would steal anything.

Daiso Tue 02-Jul-13 11:20:25

Beachyhead I do that too..... blush

x2boys Tue 02-Jul-13 11:33:33

my friend often helps herself to a couple of paracetomol[if
she has a headache in a supermarket] and leaves the packet without buying it.0

anklebitersmum Tue 02-Jul-13 11:43:36

I applaud the strawberry rustler little old lady.

I should probably say that I was an asparagus stalk snapper before they charged per bundle so I do have 'form' for this kind of thing though blush

I fully intend to make the very most of being old to get away with all sorts and plan to sport PJ's and a woolly hat in the local shops whilst passing over out of date coupons which hopefully they'll be too polite to turn down. grin

hufflebottom Tue 02-Jul-13 11:44:57

i work in a supermarket and some days you can find empty packets stuffed at the back of shelves, or people would eat the fresh rolls while walking round.

i had a little old lady once who kept wandering past a tasting, would pick one up and put it in a sandwich bag, then hide it in her bags.

my dd decided one day to pick up a carrot and munch on the end and put it back, i was mortified to then look up and see the store manager looking at me.

anklebitersmum Tue 02-Jul-13 11:56:28

Much as I was a stalk snapper I absolutely insist things are paid for before consumption. If the biters want fruit en route round the store I buy a correctly numbered bunch of bananas and pay for them up front.

WinterWinds Tue 02-Jul-13 12:16:14

I often need a drink when I am out shopping, so will often grab a small bottle of juice, go through checkout to pay and then go back in to get my shopping. I keep the receipt in my hand whilst drinking it.

Yet DH will often eat or drink round the supermarket before paying. He will always pay at the checkout for consumed items but they are usually a fixed price and not by weight.

I used to swap bikini's round before they started selling them as separate's. As I would need a size 6 bottom and a size 10 top. If I didn't I would have to buy 2 and end up with one which would be totally redundant and no use to me.

Am glad the clothing retailers cottoned on to the fact that not everyone is the same size on boobs and bum and now do the separates.

limitedperiodonly Tue 02-Jul-13 12:39:05

I'm another broccoli snapper and a ginger snapper too.

internationallove985 Tue 02-Jul-13 13:29:36

Well I'm no expert in law, so whether a crime has been committed I know not, but if I had to guess I wouldn't say so. I've never known anyone to be arrested over a strawberry and I've not lead a sheltered life!
Also if she is buying she wants the best. Why should she pay out for manky strawberries. If the supermarket made sure there was no manky strawberries then she wouldn't have had to swap them. Yes a time consuming job but like i said if people are buying they want and deserve the best

LongGoneBeforeDaylight Tue 02-Jul-13 13:40:45

<lawyer hat> I think it might fit in under the definition of Theft in the Theft Act...

LouiseSmith Tue 02-Jul-13 13:45:01

My great auntie used to do this but with Birthday cards. She used to hide one under her handbag in the trolley as she went through with the rest of her bits... Always had to do it. The funny thing was we were a small family, so she didn't need all them cards lol!

KirstyJC Tue 02-Jul-13 13:50:25

I snap the broccoli stalk off if it's really long, unless I'm making a stir fry in which case I slice and use it - yum!

I also once made up a complete pack of eggs when all that were left were about 5 boxes including broken ones - I just took out the broken ones and put the unbroken in. They were all the same type though and I wouldn't have been able to buy any eggs otherwise!

I wouldn't swap things in a punnet, although I would make sure I get the best looking one and don't mind moving the top box to get to the newer ones underneath.

Souredstones Tue 02-Jul-13 14:00:46

I've never done any of this! Worst thing I can recall is a toddler dd walking past the deli bit with the bowls and helpin herself to the olives blush I refuse to use those deli bowls since then for fear of other kids doing similar.

Saying that our local tesco deli counter were brilliant as I'd get the shopping and they'd ply dd with who knows what from the counter as she somehow charmed it off them! (Things like Slices of liver sausage, chunks of cheese etc nothing too grand)

CharlieUniformNovemberTango Tue 02-Jul-13 14:08:12

My mum once swapped pants around between a couple of packs because my brother would always moan for the stripy or picture ones in the morning.

At work I had a women ask if I could swap the bits of green pepper for red ones from her salad plate.

CharlieUniformNovemberTango Tue 02-Jul-13 14:11:16

Souredstones - I don't like open deli bowls either,

My DD once took a mint from a large bowl in a restaurant and as we walked out the door she said "mummy that sweets yucky" so I put my hand out expecting her to spit it out but she'd put it back in the bowl!

I can never eat mints that aren't wrapped now!

cumfy Tue 02-Jul-13 22:29:47

Yes a time consuming job but like i said if people are buying they want and deserve the best

Absolutely. I couldn't have put it better myself.

I will have the best.

It is surely an inalienable human right.

stretch Tue 02-Jul-13 22:57:03

Souredstones, DH calls the open deli "*sneeze salads*"!! grin

Ledkr Wed 03-Jul-13 07:19:03

Never much keen on the pick a mix tbh.
Especially when I saw a yellow fingered old man fishing around in the pink shrimps after first using his filthy hanky!

Cheeseatmidnight Wed 03-Jul-13 07:26:05

My grandad eats grapes on the way round

The loose grapes you have to weigh to pay for. He also taste tests anything possible saying it is his right to try before he buys...

We give up trying to stop him!

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