Glynn MooreNews editor and local columnist for The Augusta Chronicle.

Store doors separate shoppers from criminals

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Several years ago, I took my brother shopping while he was in town visiting. As we walked through the store, he picked up a bag of apple chips and opened it.

“Have some,” he said.

That was nice, so I did.

As we wound through the aisles, he also picked up a soft drink. Then, at the checkout line, he paid for a couple of items he had put into the basket and walked outside to wait for me.

I noticed that the chip bag and soft drink bottle were at the bottom of the cart. The cashier offered to throw them away, but I told her they were part of my order.

When I got outside and asked him about it, he said, “Oh, they expect that in a store.”

I thought of that the other day when I read an Associated Press news story out of Honolulu about a couple who were arrested for eating sandwiches while shopping and then walking out of the grocery store without paying. Custody of their 2-year-daughter was temporarily taken away from them before everyone made up.

“I didn’t know it was such a taboo thing,” the pregnant mother said. “Where I grew up in a small town it’s not seen as stealing for sure.”

I don’t know where she grew up, but with her reasoning, she could go into a bakery and eat a whole cake free of charge if it leaves the store in her stomach and not in a box. (I’m pretty sure my brother has done that.)

I told a co-worker about that story, and she said a little sampling in the store is a necessity. She tries out the grapes before buying them, for instance.

I disagreed, but then said that after I bought grapes last week I got home and discovered they had seeds.

“When was the last time you saw seeds in a grape?” I asked.

“See,” she said. “That’s something you could have found out in time if you had sampled them in the store.”

Maybe, but I remember the last time I was in a supermarket that has items you scoop out of big barrels. I asked an employee whether I could sample a new item before buying a lot of it.

“You can sample anything you want to,” she assured me.

I felt like a bandit as I tried a couple of foods I had never tasted before, but I made sure not to overdo it and take advantage of the store’s largesse.

The last time I filched food, I remembered, was when I was 6 or 7 and had walked the quarter-mile to the country store up the highway from our house.

The little Hershey bars that now come in a bag sold at two for a penny back then. I didn’t have a penny, but I did have a pocket, so I swiped a couple of them and went home.

It wasn’t long, though, before guilt overcame me. I walked back to the store, handed Mrs. Stephenson the bars and apologized. She told me to keep them, which made me feel even worse.

I gave up my career of crime on the spot, and now, I sample by the rules.

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Patty-P 11/06/11 - 08:51 pm
yep, let ME go into a store a

yep, let ME go into a store a eat a bag of chips and drink a soda.

Riverman1 11/06/11 - 09:01 pm
You said, "Then, at the

You said, "Then, at the checkout line, he paid for a couple of items he had put into the basket and walked outside to wait for me."

That's kind of strange, too. Y'all were shopping together and he left you and went outside? He could have been a slick guy. Nobody eats and drinks in a grocery story.

Yep, Patty, I get your point, totally.

AutumnLeaves 11/07/11 - 12:50 am
I get your point, Patty, too.

I get your point, Patty, too. I've been followed around the store before just for having a mommy size handbag. Can't really blame security for it. Shrinkage is terrible.

myopinion3 11/07/11 - 10:29 am
How many sanitation stops do

How many sanitation stops do you think those grapes made before the sampling????

MomInRC 11/07/11 - 10:40 am
The mom in Honolulu said

The mom in Honolulu said she'd forgotten to pay, not that she expected to get the stuff free. I've opened small items for my daughter while shopping countless times, but I pay on the way out, and I've almost forgotten when I put the wrapper in my purse. The other example was totally different.

shrimp for breakfast
shrimp for breakfast 11/08/11 - 12:34 am
I wouldn't eat a grape mostly

I wouldn't eat a grape mostly because I would want it washed first. If I am thirsty I will grab a Powerade or a coke but I always pay for it.
The funniest thing is that if you go through the self checkout and you put an empty bottle in your bag you have to tell the person monitoring the checkouts because everything goes by weight.
I felt like an idiot one day because I couldn't figure out why it wouldn't let me proceed.

shrimp for breakfast
shrimp for breakfast 11/08/11 - 12:37 am
Another thing is if I'm

Another thing is if I'm buying green peanuts I always open one because I'm not about to pay over 2 bucks a pound for empty shells or immature peanuts. If that is illegal then too bad. I'm not stopping! hehe

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