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Eating in the supermarket

(417 Posts)
tallulah Sun 11-May-03 11:48:13

As an aside from my other thread about children misbehaving in shops- the other thing that wound me up yesterday is this trend for letting children eat in the supermarket. The child in the trolley at the next till had a bag of grapes she'd been eating. She must have had 1/2 lb, so that's about 50p? Would her mother have thought it OK to give her, say, a twix, or a Begian Bun without paying for it?

I don't agree with this on 3 counts
1) people shouldn't be eating in any shop & teaching a child that they can is not a good idea
2) this is theft & if everyone did it then the supermarkets losses would be passed on to everyone
3) children also should be taught that you can't have something until it's paid for.

Before you all jump on me and say it's better than having them screaming, I have got 4 myself & I have been through this. Mine quickly learned that no screaming inside meant they could get to eat a treat outside when we'd finished.

Bobsmum Sun 11-May-03 11:51:50

totally totally agree!!!!! grrrrrrr. dh thinks it's ok cos his mum did it and still does it herself (she's in her 60s)!!!
I have seen some people have their empty crisp packets swiped at the checkout so I guess they're paying for it in the end, but nonetheless it just looks awful!

Tinker Sun 11-May-03 11:54:30

Agree that eating grapes is theft but can't see the problem with a pre-priced French stick. It's healthy and the only time I could really go shoping was after work when she was starving - not really reasonable to ask her to wait. Never had a problem from the checkout staff.

ScummyMummy Sun 11-May-03 12:09:47

I had no qualms about letting the bairns eat things in packets with barcodes as they can be swiped and paid for and life was that bit easier. They're older now and understand that you pay first but if they were feeling tired and wobbly at a time when shopping was essential I would certainly let them have a nibble at something, as long as we could swipe the packet and pay at the till. I always taste grapes/cherries etc as I don't want to buy rubbish ones. I've taught my kids that places that don't let you taste are probably either selling crap or run by incredibly stingy people who don't deserve their money.

happyspider Sun 11-May-03 12:15:32

well I think that children shouldn't eat grapes without washing them, so the problem here is another.
Sometimes you get warning on the grapes bag saying that the fruit inside has been chemically treated and can be poisonous.
I used to try cherries and grapes before I got pregnant, as I agree with ScummyMummy. But I won't do it now as I am expecting my first baby and have been told it's dangerous. Certanly it can be dangerous for little children too?

monkey Sun 11-May-03 12:19:03

I always give mine a piece of bread or something like that. I will also give them, eg a banana, but where we live, the system is that you weigh & label the fruit & veg yourself so I would be paying for it & they'd be able to check & prove that if anyone ever did have a problem (which has never happened).

I do agree that eating goods before they've been weighed is stealing, and anyway, wouldn't you want to wash the grapes first?? I certainly wouldn't open a packet of sweets.bisuits/crisps, put pulling the end off a baguette for the price of a quiet life isn't that bad to me. My sons know they can have a peiece of bread, but also know that I wouldn't consider opening anything till we've seen the "pay lady". I am shocked that people eat goods & don't pay for it, I like to consider myself honest & therefore wouldn't do it, but am also much too chicken & am amazed by the audacity of some. I think it's a lot worse in France, maybe England's heading that way?

WideWebWitch Sun 11-May-03 12:42:56

Well, yes, ideally you wash grapes before eating them but the odd few in a supermarket isn't going to kill anyone. I do think we all get a bit over cautious about hygiene sometimes. Happyspider, I very much doubt that a few unwashed grapes will harm your unborn baby either and if they're *that* dangerous *before* they're washed then I don't think I'd want to eat them afterwards either.

I think if the grapes have already been weighed and therefore will be paid for at the till then there's no problem but I also agree with Scummy, supermarkets should let people try things like fruit before they buy but they don't. I've had some nasty bitter satsumas from a supermarket recently but I got sweet juicy ones from a local grocer and he let me try before I bought some when I asked him if they were sweet. So I can't get worked up about this as a major theft issue even if the grapes aren't weighed to be honest. Ds does know now that he has to wait until I've paid but that's partly for bribery purposes. I will let him eat something on the way round if it's prepacked and can be swiped and I've had to take him at a hungry time though. Not a big deal IMO.

griffy Sun 11-May-03 14:02:26

Oh - sorry about this, but I'm going to give the other point of view.

I take DS to the supermarket particularly at mealtimes and feed him all the way round - shamelessly! Usually a sandwich, raisins, pre-weighed/priced fruit (such as strawberries), muffins etc. Interestingly, not grapes, since I do take those home and wash them. Halfway round, I'll get him a Thomas magazine to rip the toy off and read for the rest of the way (a similar vandalism of pre-paid-for goods IMO. If anything would be messy or difficult that he wants to eat, I say no, and he certainly understands that all must be paid for - which it is.

Pre DS, I would have been disgusted at the thought, but now I don't care. DS loves trips to the supermarket, and he begs to sit in the trolley seat. To date I have never had the supermarket discipline issues that seem to plague others. (I'm sure there's plenty of time for that when he's older! ). In addition, I actually relax at the supermarket, don't feel harrassed at all and the whole thing is great fun.

And if anyone doesn't like it, I'm sorry but I don't care.

tamum Sun 11-May-03 14:11:47

I certainly wouldn't let my children eat goods that hadn't been weighed, as that would be stealing, but I find the first count rather extreme "people shouldn't be eating in any shop". I wouldn't give my children food in a gift shop, say, but is it really that awful to eat in a food shop?

mieow Sun 11-May-03 14:33:24

I used to work in safeways and saw people eating food all the time. Its isn't a problem if the goods have barcodes and are pre-weighed, but yes, its theft and the stores do lose out, usually with the staff getting a tiny pay rise at the end of the year. We were lucky to get 7p per/hour.
The staff on the checkout are taught to be on alert of food that is half eaten....... one day someone gave me the apple core to weigh (didn't they think that I couldn't weigh the rest???) So I got one of the porters to get me another one to weigh LOL.. Grapes are harder as you don't know whats been eaten.

oxocube Sun 11-May-03 14:33:44

My kids quite happily munch their way around the supermarket on pre-priced stuff and I would certainly let them try fruit such as grapes if I was going to buy them anyway. I open packets of bread rolls, currant buns etc am really am not interested if anyone thinks it 'looks awful'. No one has ever batted an eyelid and the checkout staff seem perfectly happy as long as you pay for the goods. But then I do shamelessly feed my kids on all the 'samples' eg 2 different kinds of cheese on special that week, slices of salami, rolls of ham, anything free really, often going back for seconds if they like it! The kids love it, I get to shop in peace. And in my (and their) defence, my kids are actually *really* well behaved in shops, so I'm not giving in to tantrums. There! You probably all think I'm such a common mother now

But children running around shops and restaurants screaming now: thats a different matter! I guess we all have our personal bugbears!

happyspider Sun 11-May-03 14:34:56

I don't have children yet, but since I have got pg I have been waiting in a long q at the till at M&S and have eaten my sandwich and water while waiting with the rest of the shopping in my basket.
Since I am heavily pg, when hunger strikes I've got to eat and drink otherwise I feel like fainting.
I keep the empty bottle/sandwich packaging in my basket and offer to scan at the till, and so far I have always received half smiles and "sorry for keeping you wait" reaction from the staff, so it seems as it is accepted at least at M&S.
I would never eat and hide the packaging because that equals to shoplifting and I am totally against it!
I love the attitude of the staff and think that if my child would be hungry I would do the same.

oxocube Sun 11-May-03 14:36:39

Just read your message Tamum and agreee that of course there are shops where it would absolutely not be okay for anyone to eat of drink, such as clothes shops, or most places really apart from supermarket.

Claireandrich Sun 11-May-03 14:58:07

Agree with the majority here too. If is it pre-priced items and DD is hungry then I will give her something but ALWAYS pay for everything bought (or used). I would not do this with weighed items that hadn't been priced - technically it's theft so I'd feel bad. The meat and cheese counter are great at our supermarket though as they know DD loves ham and cheese so they always let her have a free taste sample!

doormat Sun 11-May-03 15:05:11

No offence tallulah, just done your other thread and I think you are being a bit judgemental towards other people and their children. To be fair you do not know the circumstances surrounding it.
How many of us as parents have been busy all day and then realised we have had nothing to eat?
I am guilty of eating out of pre packed packets in the supermarket. I give my ds who is 2 something if he is hungry too.(he is the only one I take food shopping as I have to do it before others arrive home from school)I dont believe in shoplifting and our local supermarket know my face and know it will be paid for. In my supermarket grapes are sold in bags with either the same weight/price on the packet. (tesco)

SoupDragon Sun 11-May-03 15:18:46

The bag of Tesco's grapes I bought last week were prepacked in a bag but not pre-priced so in my mind, eating them is the same as stealing. Ironically, Tallulah, a Twix would be fine from this point of view as you could have the wrapper swiped.

I used to give DSs a wholemeal bread roll from a prepacked pack of 4 to eat on the way round. This was only when they were small (under 2) and too little to understand how to behave. I've also let DS2 have breadsticks from a box. I did always keep an eye on them and pick up the dropped bits. It is better than a screaming child though, IMHO, especially one that is too small to understand the concept of being quiet inside & getting a treat outside.

So, I'm half with you, Tallulah!

Finbar Sun 11-May-03 15:45:22

Am I being a bit thick here - but why don't you take your own snacks on shopping expeditions?
Ok so I have a handbag that looks like a pig swill bin - but I am relieved not to worry whether I'm stealing or not! (Before you think I'm getting all sanctimonious - I have given DD breadsticks from packet picked upon way round supermarket as well!!)

Incidentally - I have a friend who was actually stopped by the supermarket manager and asked to accompany him to the office etc - just because her DS had munched his way thro' a whole bunch of grapes! ridiculous - but it did happen.

whymummy Sun 11-May-03 15:51:27

i let my children eat and drink in supermarkets and always pay for it of course
live and let live

Bobsmum Sun 11-May-03 15:53:22

Just playing devil's advocate, but is it therefore ok to open up a Barbie box and allow sprog to play with doll b4 buying? Similarly could i not walk round Harvey Nicks dripping with expensive jewellery/designer clothes and Jimmy Choos totally intending to buy them at the end of a long day's posing?

breeze Sun 11-May-03 15:59:38

I must admit that I quite happily let DS eat while going round the supermarket. I always make sure that it is scanned at the check-out, don't see a problem in that whatsoever, my DH is a shop manager and sees this happen all the time, as long as they are scanned at the till he doesn't have a problem with it.

ScummyMummy Sun 11-May-03 16:13:44

You'd never get Barbie out of the box before you got out the shop what with all the wires and plastic tags tying her in, Bobsmum! I do tell my kids that things aren't "theirs" until we've paid so can't be opened but I really wouldn't feel a serious wrong had occured if a young child was allowed to open a toy before payment had been made. Doubt you'd be allowed to swan about dripping with jewels, either, but yes, if the trying on policy allowed such behaviour then that's fine by me too.

prufrock Sun 11-May-03 17:07:20

Regularly pick up dd from nursery and shop before going home. And as this co-incides with snack time, I'll let her eat food from the shop, and open a pack of wipes or tissues to clean her up with. I really don't see the problem with this,as long as you pay for it at the end. And like happyspider I used to eat stuff myself when pregnant as there were times when if I didn't get sugar I would have keeled over in the shop. I would love tallulah to come and show me how to communicate to a 12 month old baby that if she stops screaming with hunger for long enough for me to do my shopping she'll get a treat later

jodee Sun 11-May-03 17:33:50

Griffy, I head straight for the comics the minute I set foot in the door! I always go to the supermarket with my own made-up drink for ds and a biscuit or an apple, but even though it's an apple I have paid for the previous week and brought from home, I have that uncomfortable feeling that people are tut-tutting, thinking ds is eating unpaid for fruit!

katierocket Sun 11-May-03 18:08:04

agree with doormat, this sounds so judgemental "people shouldn't be eating in any shop" for gods sake - does it really matter. are there not more important things to worry about.

Tossum Sun 11-May-03 18:34:26

Yeh, eating in (only) supermarkets is ok with me. Especially considering a shop can take over an hour, and at the end of it your often spending upwards of 50 quid. If I was a supermarket manager, I'd even play on this, and maybe have staff hand out refreshments etc. Its all about customer satisfaction these days isnt it- loyalty is very important. I've even been known to munch on a few grapes on the way round the store, stealing maybe, but not much more of a loss for tesco/sainsbury than the 'free' rockford(sp?) cheese samples I ask for knowing full well its too expensive to buy a chunk. If the manager came up to me having a go about stealing grapes, I'd be well reluctant to go back, miserable old git.

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