Is it legal to crack open a sleeve of Oreo's at Smith's and indulge in a couple of cookies while you finish your shopping? Or is it legal to grab a donut for your fussy 3-year-old while you cart him around to prevent him from throwing a tantrum in the produce section?

According to

"Something sold at a fixed price, like a bag of chips, may be more acceptable. So a customer who snacks while shopping, but eventually pays for it at the checkout, likely won't have to deal with any legal consequences.

However, items that are priced by weight -- like produce, candies, and dried goods, for example -- may pose more of a concern. You're legally obligated to pay for however much you took from the store. So if you don't pay for what you've already eaten, then technically you've stolen it."

This is a great point. Cracking open the aforementioned Oreo's should be no problem. It's pre-packaged and you're going to pay for the whole thing at checkout. But if you tear into a cantaloupe, cart around for a half hour, and then just put the rind that's leftover on the scale, we've got a problem.

Same goes for the donut. You grab a napkin, fish out a donut, your kid eats it, by the time you get to the checkout line that donut is gone and forgotten. Are you going to remember to pay for it? Probably not. Was it worth it to keep your kid quiet? Probably.

 "If no store employee, loss-prevention officer, or cashier calls you out on your unauthorized (and unpaid-for) snacking, you probably won't be prosecuted. You'll just have to deal with the guilt of knowing what you've done." (

That's the most important thing. Sure you could get away with guzzling a pack of Skittles, but you'd know what you did and that would haunt you for...actually it probably wouldn't. Who cares.

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