Tuesday, November 8, 2011

You take our sandwich, we take your child

Or: Why I will never shop at Safeway - it's too dangerous.

Did you read in the news this week about the pregnant lady who ate a sandwich while shopping at Safeway, and when ringing up her purchase, forgot to pay for the sandwich? She had saved the wrapper intending to pay for it, but forgot. Safeway would not allow her to simply correct her mistake by paying the couple of bucks for the sandwich. Oh no. They called the cops and had her arrested for shop lifting. Her 2-year old daughter was taken into CPS custody for a full 18 hours, even though the mother was released from police custody the same night.

You can imagine how reading this infuriated me. It is no exaggeration on my part to say that I will make a point to NEVER shop at Safeway ever again - not hard for me, since I have not gone there in years. I thought they were a stupid store long before this story.

When I shared the link to this news story on my Facebook page, there was some debate (from one person only) who insisted that consuming food in the store before paying for it is stealing, even though there is no law against it.

Below is the thread, with the part I'd particularly like to draw attention to in red. Since I omitted the names and backlinks for the sake of privacy, please be advised that the first commenter (K[xxx]) and the later one (also K[xxx]) are two different people.

Zsuzsanna Anderson I already never shop at Safeway, but after this, I definitely won't ever. What kind of idiots would have a 2-year old separated from her highly pregnant mother and taken into custody by CPS because she forgot to pay for a sandwich she ate while shopping??!?

Pregnant mom says sandwich arrest was 'horrifying' news.yahoo.com
Nicole Leszczynski couldn't imagine that two chicken salad sandwiches would land her and her husband in jail and her 2-year-old daughter in state custody. But it happened five days ago, when the 30-weeks-pregnant woman forgot to pay for her snack while grocery shopping.
LikeUnlike · · Share · Saturday at 9:21pm

L[xxx], V[xxx], H[xxx] and 2 others like this.

K[xxx] I've let my kids eat those little packs of goldfish while we shop. We pay on the way out, I can't imagine having my kids taken if we forgot to pay.

I wonder how often safeway mis-charges people for things they didn't buy?
Saturday at 9:34pm · UnlikeLike ·

A[xxx] wow!
Saturday at 9:42pm · LikeUnlike
J[xxx] That is horrible.
Saturday at 9:43pm · LikeUnlike

L[xxx] This is RIDICULOUS!
Saturday at 9:54pm · LikeUnlike

S[xxx] I heard something about this on Alex Jones.
Actually, he mentioned it a few dozen times.
Wow was he mad.
Saturday at 9:57pm · LikeUnlike

S[xxx] It is SICKENING how a "State" can literally kidnap your child based on THEIR rules and THEIR morals.

The same sick STATE mentality that just ruled that transgendered boys can be in the girl scouts! :-/
Saturday at 9:58pm · LikeUnlike

S[xxx] I will probably shop at Safeway again.

But I'll probably print up and post some WARNING stickers!

"WARNING: Forgetting to pay for an item that you consume may result in your arrest and your child being taken away!" or something like that.

I could put links and a 2D barcode on it for people to scan with their smart phones. :-)
Saturday at 10:04pm · LikeUnlike ·

V[xxx] I know, I read that an couldn't believe it!!! Just crazy!
Saturday at 10:59pm · LikeUnlike

K[xxx] It should never have gotten that far but she stole a sandwich and there are comsequences for that such as going to jail.
Sunday at 11:40am · LikeUnlike

Zsuzsanna Anderson K[xxx], she didn't steal it. She forgot that she ate it and needed to pay for it. All of us have at one time or another accidentally left the store without paying for an item. I remember once when my purse was sitting on top of a small item, so I didnt' see it and put it on the belt when I checked out. I noticed it in the parking lot, and walked back in to pay for it. Surely, that could have easily been construed as theft. Even if she had stolen it, the correct (biblical) punishment is to pay back four- or five-fold, not incarceration (which was never a punishment God intended).
16 hours ago · LikeUnlike

K[xxx] It's different to accidentally walk out with something forgetting to pay for it. However if you consume something before you pay for it, that's stealing whether you are still in the store or not and I don't care that she was in the military that doesn't give her the right to steal nor does being pregnant! She should have paid for it before eating it, that would not have been stealing. Eating it before paying for it is stealing no matter who you are.
16 hours ago · LikeUnlike

Zsuzsanna Anderson Actually, you are legally allowed to consume it as long as you save the packaging and pay for it before you leave. I've even seen a sign in a store once encouraging moms to feed their kids a snack and juice pack straight off the shelf while shopping, so long as they rung it up when paying.
16 hours ago · LikeUnlike

K[xxx] Just because it might be legal in places doesn't mean it's not stealing.
16 hours ago · LikeUnlike

K[xxx] It's basic ethics. Pay for something before you eat or use it. I was taught that growing up. I guess that isn't taught anymore.
16 hours ago · LikeUnlike

Zsuzsanna Anderson With that sort of a policy, you should limit yourself to only eating at fast-food restaurants, and not sit-down ones where you pay AFTER consuming the food.
14 hours ago · LikeUnlike

K[xxx] The design of a sit down restaurant is to eat and then pay. If you eat and then walk outside they'd consider you stole it even if you went out to use the phone or whatever. Comparing that to eating something before you pay for it in a grocery store is not even relevant as those places serve two entirely different purposes. By your standards, next time I'm shopping for clothes I should go try some on, decide I will buy them so it's ok to tear the tags off and walk around the store in them, and then if I walk out with the tags without paying I just "forgot". I am horrified at the response of Christian people to this lady stealing food and then being upset when she went to jail. I don't agree with them taking her child, but she did steal the sandwich and therefore should have been summoned to court.
14 hours ago · LikeUnlike

Zsuzsanna Anderson You will be horrified to know that yes, I always let my children keep new shoes on their feet once we find the pair they like and that fits, even before paying for them. We just ring up the empty box on our way out. I don't understand why my restaurant example doesn't apply. There is an understanding and agreement between the business and the customer that the latter will pay before leaving. The same applies to grocery stores. Every reference I have found online confirms that it is NOT stealing, nor is it illegal, to consume food before ringing it up. I challenge you to show me one law that says contrarywise. There are already enough laws to observe and obey, I don't need to start adding my own.
13 hours ago · LikeUnlike

K[xxx] Doesn't matter what the law says. You go into a store and consume what you haven't paid for and that's stealing. The fact that she ate and then walked out shows she really had no intention of paying and that's stealing whether it's "the law" or not. As Christians our morals should be based on what is right not on what "the law" considers to be stealing. Taking something that doesn't belong to you is stealing. She had not paid for the sandwiches, therefore they didn't belong to her. Grocery stores are for buying groceries to take home and eat later. Restaurants are for eating now and what you are consuming is already on a bill and its well known not hidden.
13 hours ago · Like

What are your thoughts on this issue? Do you think that it is unethical to consume food at a grocery store before paying for it, with the intent of ringing up the empty packaging at the register? Should police respond to a call about someone accidentally forgetting to pay for a $2.50 sandwich? Should I call 911 next time the store rings me up the incorrect price and overcharges me? I mean, if honest mistakes are never acceptable, what about stores like Wal-Mart who according to the Arizona Department of Weights and Measures failed 526 of 976 inspections? Can that really be called an honest mistake? Yet the only one getting money is "the state of Arizona", not the customers who were actually ripped off. Person A steals from Person B, and the state gets paid - hm, go figure that one out. 

What do you all think about this?


  1. I heard about this when it happened and was horrified. To have my child taken away like that not knowing where they were or with who- I would go insane! Recently my friend and her husband and 4 small children went to Walmart and had two carts full to check out. The baby was crying and were rushing to leave. They forgot that a big box of detergent and bed sheets were on the bottom. The person checking receipts didn't check them but before they were out the store someone else asked them and he said how it was an honest mistake and he was turning around to go pay for it..well they stopped him and there in front of his children and everybody arrested him, leaving his wife crying with everything not being allowed to say one word to her. He just graduated school and about to become a doctor and now has a record. They paid bail, have a court date and Walmart can send you a letter charging you up to three times the amount of "stolen goods" to pay. They are a student family of 6 so this devastated them. It was an honest mistake that can happen to any distracted parent! If you are still in the building why can't you just pay?! If the wife was pushing the same cart with the husband than they both would have been taken away and all 4 children including the 2 month old would have been taken away but luckily she was pushing another full cart fine. SCARY! You have to be so careful now.

  2. You know, I was just talking about this story to my husband, and how I have given not-paid-for-yet snacks to my two littles while grocery shopping. He told me not to do it again! It might be fine legally if you pay for it, but what if you forget like this poor lady? Who knew you could get your child snatched from you for the night! If the stores and laws are going to be that stupid, I guess we need to take precautions. I can't imagine having my child taken from me over a $2.50 sandwich. I don't think anything is wrong ethically, but if you forget to pay, then the consequences aren't worth it. Stores, the law, the government, etc.... refuse to see people as human beings. In their eyes, she had broken the law. Who cares if she was pregnant, if it was an oversight, or she was an overall 'good person'. They threw the book at her! And because of the stupidity of it all, I will no longer be eating snacks before paying for them. God forbid I make the same mistake. ~Cass

  3. This is ridiculous (both examples) - There is just no more common sense in this world. The FB commentator obviously had no use in listening - only in trying to prove her(him?)self as righteous. They wouldn't last on my friends list.

  4. I read this and it scared me half to death. It honestly seems like the state is out to get families and steal their children. If the mom had been a single mom on welfare I bet Safeway would not have said or done anything. CPS is one of the embodiments of Satan and there is no way to protect ourselves.

    in His peace,

  5. They made a mistake which they were more than willing to make right. Instead they were jailed and had their child stolen from them over a sandwich! Disgusting! I will never shop at Safeway again.

  6. I think that if people want to make the argument that you shouldn't eat something unless you pay for it first then they shouldn't go to restaurants. For goodness sake, I think Safeway definitely stepped over some serious boundaries this time.

    While I think that she "forgot" she ate the sandwich is innocent enough, we truly don't know her and if she is an honest person. I am not making excuses, but I don't think I would forget something like that, personally. I do think it was a bit too traumatic to take the child away...not to mention inappropriate. Wow...what is the world coming to.

  7. I have allowed my children to consume food in grocery stores many many times and I give the cashier the empty packages (most of the time the cashiers are surprised that I give them the empty packages to ring up) and when I was pregnant I had to eat while shopping or I'd either be sitting down every few minutes or passing out. I don't allow my kids to eat fruit or things that are rung up by weight but pre-packaged food I let them eat if they want a snack and I have never had a problem with a store and I've done this for years considering my oldest is 22.

  8. My daughter has type I diabetes. We use to belong to a large support group. To eat or drink something before paying for it is common with these children. I thought that was also common for women "with child". Once, I forgot to pay for something(a chocolate bar) and went back inside the store to pay for it. Praise the Lord-did you hear the Duggars are expecting? She's 45 and about 3-4 months "with child"(Matthew 1 KJ).

  9. My children and I have never eaten in the grocery store. What if we get to the register and there is something wrong with the bank card and I can't pay? What if I forget? I have always just thought that the point of the grocery store is to purchase food and take it home to eat. There are deli areas with tables and fountain drinks and you can pay and eat in that area. I personally wouldn't want my kids eating inside the store after touching carts, doors, toys. I have stood in a check out line while pregnant, starving and light headed and not eaten anything before I had paid for it. That's just me and my personal standard. I do believe the store should show compassion, and understanding in situations such as this, and if they don't want people consuming food in the store, then they should make that abundantly clear.~~Kellie

  10. The simple fact is that is was a $2.50 sandwich, not the Hope Diamond. The store manager who made the call to prosecute the women is an idiot and should be demoted to stock clerk, if not fired.

    The pregnant woman did not intend to steal the sandwich, it's not like she hid it under her coat or stuffed the empty wrapper behind the cookie isle.

    I open a bottle of tea or water every single time I grocery shop and sometimes get a snack for my kids, it is always my intention to pay, but I would not expect to go to jail if I forgot.

    Pregnant women are forgetful. I have started to cook something while pregnant, forgot,and left boiling water on the stove until the pan went dry.

    I wonder if K(xxx) has thought about the money and resources that were spent to prosecute this woman and house her terrified child for 18 hours, not to mention the damage that was done to that child emotionally.

    All of that over a $2.50 sandwich, less than a gallon of gas. Unbelievable.

  11. I didn't allow my kids to eat snacks before we paid in the store but I would never consider it to be unethical to do so; I certainly don't judge others who allow it. It was just our own decision to have that rule. I always packed snacks in my bag for them. I still carry a snack for myself because I get migraines if I don't eat on a tight schedule.
    It is such a common practice that the store should never have called the police for the sandwich thing. If the couple wanted to steal something, I think they'd go for something more valuable than some deli food. It was their decision to get the police involved that snowballed into the child being taken away, etc. They completely over reacted and obviously are unaware of the concept of mercy.

  12. I have opened food or beverage items in the store for my kids (and myself when I HAD to have a drink of water). Sometimes that is the only way to keep a hungry or bored baby occupied through a long shopping trip until I can get out of the store. Though they are wrong, I can see how some may think that consuming before paying is theft (what if I got to the checkout and realized my debit card was not in my purse, etc....then I would have no way to pay for what I already consumed. But, this could happen in a restaurant as well. Should I be arrested and my kids taken if I eat at a restaurant and didn't realize I had left my money at home? This actually happened to us a couple of weeks ago. But luckily, my husband and I were both there and were only 6 minutes from home. One of us went to go get the card, while the other stayed at the restaurant. But what if this happened farther from home? I hope that the restaurant manager or grocery store manager would be able to write up an IOU or something if I forgot my card and I already consumed something. REASONABLE human beings should have an understanding and "work it out" somehow). You can't call it theft if there is no intent in the heart. BUT, the REAL issue here is NOT the ethics of eating food before paying. If that was the offense, they would have been arrested as soon as they ate the sandwich. They were not arrested for eating the sandwich, but for failing to pay for it on the way out. Therefore, Zsuzsanna's example of people forgetting to pay for other things (though not consumed) is valid. Honest mistakes don't constitute criminal activity. No one is perfect, and everyone makes mistakes. Should unintentional mistakes land you in jail (like accidentally defacing money by spilling something, opening mail that wasn't yours on accident, or possessing drugs if a criminal planted them on your property, etc). Isn't there a difference between an out of control campfire and arson? One is an accident, one is intentional. The facts remain the same- someone started a fire that burned down the city. But unwise campers and arsonists will be dealt with differently. The same logic should apply to people who don't pay for things. Mistake- makers should be treated differently than thieves. For the sake of directing attention to the IMPORTANT issue, let's assume they meant to steal it. SO WHAT?! Even if it was just straight up theft of a sandwich, does that make them worthy of JAIL and having their children taken!? Surely there are plenty of real criminals that the cops could be arresting. But the fact that they saved the wrapper and said they meant to pay for it should create enough uncertainty to let them just pay and go on their way. Should we not give the benefit of the doubt? Isn't it better to let a guilty man go than imprison an innocent man? Again, we must remember the issue is NOT about eating it. Even if someone thinks that is a crime, it's not. Neither the cops, nor the store is claiming that to be the crime (the store did not approach them for eating it), so we need to remove the feelings about that from the argument for now. They didn't pay- that's the issue, whether they ate it or not. It's the same as if their kid was holding it at the check out and it didn't get scanned. If people really think that it's ok to arrest people and take their kids for stealing a sandwich- I'm scared. But when people forget to pay for any item with ANY remote chance of it being an honest mistake,then I am terrified to set foot in any business... because I know I am human and may make a mistake at any given moment, and the fact that I shop with 4 young children adds distraction and sets me up for a higher chance of making a mistake. So if I am going to be treated like a criminal for making a mistake in a store, then Szuzsanna's right. It's just TOO dangerous for me to go shopping. See ya, Safeway!

  13. ZZ:

    1. You are not "legally allowed to consume food in a store." What law do you mean?

    A store is private property. They can make the rules they want about what you do in the store. If you don't like it, just don't shop there.

    Since you are a believer in free enterprise, you should like that.

    In any event, you have no legal right to consume another's food. If the store decides to let you, fine. If it has a rule against it, you are stealing.

    2. Why is it relevant at all that the woman was "highly pregnant"? Who cares?

    3. Did you ever think that she said she was intending to pay, but actually had no such intention?

    If you were eating a sandwich in a store without intending to pay, and then you were caught. . . what would you say? Of course, you'd just say you forgot. It certainly could be an excuse.

    You just don't like the fact that our government has the power to take children away. But you don't hate it enough to move out of the country, you just want to complain.

  14. This is insane, both the initial incident in Safeway, and the comment left to you!

    How awful for the lady! I would be absolutely distraught, if someone removed my children from me, for any length of time!

    Although I have never allowed my kids to eat whilst going around the supermarket, I don't see anything wrong with it, as long as your pay for the goods at the register.

    I have never heard of anything like this happening within my country...but you never know!

  15. I am honestly shocked as to responses people have. I was raised that you don't eat in grocery stores. It doesn't matter if your starving or not. Like other commenters said, what if you forgot, or your bank card didn't work and you were unable to pay? Not to mention it cannot be sanitary to eat food while shopping in a grocery store. If you have small children, or are pregnant, I would suggest packing a few small snacks in your purse for such situations. Now, after saying all this, I definitely do not think, in any way, that Safeway handled this issue correctly. Once she offered to pay that should have ended the entire ordeal right there. Being arrested and taking her child was truly ridiculous.

  16. Just the other day Chad was very thirsty and we were in Walmart. Got a gallon of water and drank about 1/4 of it. Paid for it right after. I know handfulls of others who do it, and I cringe thinking if you forget to pay, what might happen. It is amazing that a pervert pedaphile gets off the hook every time, but a mom who forgot to pay for her 2 dollar snack is treated worse than the pervert. Even if she did steal, the punishment is clearly not taking her kiddos away and being put in jail. Poor lady. Our system is perverse and anyone who is gonna argue differently is just as perverse!!! So, these people who are gonna have a fit over this post seriously have issues. You know the ones that are gonna say she deserved jail and so on.


  17. Janine~

    I did not read the comments till now. You are a prime example of being "perverse" as I just commented. Even if the woman was a liar, and stole the dumb sandwitch, are you that foolish to believe she deserves jail? Are you that backwards? I am not being smart, just seriously questioning your foolish comment.People like you are what brings the wrath of God down in this country and you are scratching your head, wondering why. Shame on you.

  18. I think this is insane. Even in case she 'stole'the sandwich, to separate a two year old from her mother for that, is cruel and a very excessive, ridiculous action.

  19. I don't know about legalities but in Australia it's unacceptable to eat food in the store, I've only known one person to do it and the chashier was quite unhappy when I saw it.

    Having said that, Jail and cps over a sandwhich is so over the top. I have forgotten items before, and always go back and pay for them. If I thought there was a risk of going to jail over it, I wouldn't return to pay. How does that help the stores?

    Everyone makes a mistake once in awhile. And whether or not is was stealing, the punishment for the crime was completely uncalled for.

  20. That is so ridiculous, and I figured everyone would concur on that, but I guess not. Surely they've had people take merchandise by accident before?

  21. Wow, Common sense and decency flew the coop together awhile ago in America, huh...
    #1 I think it's fine to open something for a small child in a store to shut them up while shopping, PAY FOR IT AT CHECKOUT!
    #2 I teach my older children that, no they are too old and can wait. It's differnent for their baby siblings who would literally scream all around the store if too hungry.
    #3 It's not ok at all for an adult... Although, a heavily pregnant woman is different, as would be a diabetic needing to quickly eat an apple or something otherwise they could have a medical emergency in store... I have opened bottles of water plenty of times when pregnant shopping, or I would have fainted. I make it very obvious when opening something in store and put open package in plain view of cameras, and in plain view at check out when paying for it. If it's a small wrapper or something, it should be held, so you don't forget it at the checkout.
    #4 How is taking a heavily pregnant woman into custody EVER acceptable? seriously? & removing her child from her is just adding far greater stress on her. She should have been growled by the mananger, could have been made to pay with a bit of interest to get the point across, made to make a formal apology, or even banned from the store if they really want to be stupid. I thought the police were for actual emergencies, and catching drug dealers, etc. Being called for a $2.50 sandwich... again, common sense...
    #5 Why is such a big deal made by the store on something like this, do they make a big deal when someone does the RIGHT thing too?
    About a month ago I bought a tonne of stuff at toys r us, the checkout girl forgot to scan a nearly $100 box of lego, and I wouldn't have known except I looked at my receipt at the store door and went, 'wow that was cheap!', realising she hadn't charged me for the lego I went back in the store and paid for it. (My hubby thought I was nuts, lol).
    The checkout girl thanked me, but didn't give it to me for free for being honest, or make a big deal of it. (That's not what I was wanting either, I just couldn't go home without taking it back 'cos God would nag my mind, lol). I wonder how many people these days would go back in and purposefully pay for it though?
    #5 When America has reality shows about coupon shopping, and the store is allowing itself to legally be robbed of about $1,000 of goods, and getting maybe $20 from the shopper after coupon madness, maybe even GIVING the shopper money BACK!!! Why are they complaining about a $2.50 sandwich?! They obviously LIKE giving their products away for free in America!
    All in all, you live in a messed up country Zsuzsuanna. lol.

  22. I see two points here. The CPS situation was overkill. Have a family member pick up the child if you have an issue. They weren't hurting the child where he would need to be protected.

    Second, I love how Kxxx said "doesn't matter what the law says" as her argument that it's illegal. Um, yes, it DOES matter what the law says. The law is what determines legal or not. Uh, hello.

    But my last point is that this is a hard one. She was with her husband. They both ate a sandwich. He didn't remember, she didn't remember, and where were the packages that neither of them saw them as they left? I can understand them calling the cops since many stores have a no contact policy for suspected shoplifters. This protects the security people from being hurt by legitimate criminals. But then you tell them the story, show them the proof, go inside and pay the money. Most stores would be happy with that and, at most, would give you a trespass warning to not come back since they don't know you were really going to pay. Many wouldn't even do that.

  23. Here's my question...

    How many legitimate shoplifters got away with a bunch of food underneath their clothes and in their bags, while store security and store management were fooling around with this woman and her family?

  24. This story infuriated me. I worked at Wal-Mart as a cashier before I had my first child and I never saw people who stole from the store treated like this.

    People make mistakes. You would be surprised how many people forget to pay for things. At Wal-Mart we were always told to look for BOB. Bottom of basket. It is not uncommon for customers to buy toilet paper or dog food and forget it's underneath the cart and walk out without paying for it.
    It's an honest mistake and when you are a mom trying to unload the cart,dig money out of your purse and deal with a crying toddler it's completely understandable.

    Eating and drinking in the stores is not stealing as long as you make sure you pay for it. I don't eat or drink in the stores and I don't allow my children to snack in the stores either, but that is my own personal standard. I could see that if you are pregnant you might need to eat. I would would simply run to the check out and pay for it and then continue shopping.I understand that some people think that is not polite to eat or drink in the store.

    It's five dollars worth of sandwiches. Even if they did intend to steal them it would cost more to file the paper work to press charges than the sandwiches are worth. The child being taken by the CPS was wrong no matter how you look at it.

    I am not making light of stealing. It is a serious matter and a sin no matter how small the amount. However what happened to this couple was not biblical punishment for stealing. God does have compassion. It's a shame that Safeway does not.

    It's scary to think we can not make mistakes anymore.


  25. Complete jaw drop. Seriously?! I would have bought the sandwich before buying because I am forgetful like that...but that's me.

    You have this post rightly labeled under "police abuse." Maybe we instead of using the term "nanny state" we could coin the phrase "bully state." This was clearly bullying.

  26. O silly me, I forgot! Your country is run by an abortion loving satanist! Of course a pregnant woman and mother would be a criminal in their eyes! Duh.

  27. Why are so many parents not prepared with a snack and drink for their child at the shops? Yes, it is a useful technique to get a tired child through a boring grocery shop, but if so many of you are so aware of this, why not put something in your purse before you leave?

    Ultimately the store went way overboard with the matter, it was a couple of cheap sandwiches, and they offered to pay.

    To me, it is wrong. The agreement with the supermarket (unlike a restaurant) is pick, pay, eat. If it is not a law, but the stores policy is that it is illegal, a simple sign to the effect of "Goods consumed without purchase will be assumed as theft. Please pay before eating." is all that is needed to prevent issues in the future.

  28. One thing I remember from working in retail was "checking BOB" (Bottom of Basket) since items could easily be missed by the customer or cashier. One thing about being human is that we make mistakes such as forgetting to pay for something at the store. After all, we're not God or Jesus, so we're likely to make mistakes, and they are forgiving of such things, especially if it wasn't intended.

    Either way, this is definitely overkill since the woman realized she forgot to pay for the sandwich, and was going to do that.

  29. I would have allowed them to pay for the sandwich and leave. This was a ridiculous waste of time and majorly bad publicity for the store. I always let my kids eat an organic apple in Trader's when they were little. I just paid for the apples in line.

  30. A few points-
    1- i do not believe, nor is it illegal to eat/ drink something in the store with the intention to pay for it.
    2- SAFEWAY is in the wrong here. Not the cops. Safeway SHOULD have handled this on their own and not made such a big deal. When they called upon the officers stating that this woman had stolen something, the officers acted appropriately. It is honestly really ridiculous but they are required to enforce the law and procedures that go with certain violations. Even if it is for something small such as a sandwich. Their integrity is at stake. If they let someone go for something small their whole career could be jeopardized. It is like the old saying ' a man asks a woman if she would sleep with him for 10 million dollars and she said sure, and then asks if she would sleep with him for a dollar and she responds with ' what do you think i am' and the man replies ' we had already established what you are we are negotiating the price". Safeway accused her of stealing and the police had to act on that. Sometimes it is mandatory arrest laws like in domestic violence cases

  31. "Your country is run by an abortion loving satanist!"

    And you're a nutter.

  32. I haven't had the time to read all the comments, so I apologise in advance if I am covering old ground. [Kxxx] if you are reading here, you are overlooking something pivotal - and that's intent. Intent is not something you can gloss over. In a court of law, it is what distinguishes murder from manslaughter, for example. If someone eats something in a shop, with the intention of paying for it later, it is not stealing. Period.

  33. Thieves who want a free sandwich would be really grateful to ZZ.

    Under her rules, they can go into a store and eat and leave. If they are caught, they just say, "Oops, I forgot." Then they just have to pay and go on their way. Next time, maybe they'll be luckier.

    You'd never have to buy a sandwich under this approach!

  34. This is Jenifer again from the above LOOONG post. I always consider myself to reach for the highest standards of behavior (avoiding even the appearance of evil) and try to teach my children the same. I will admit that even though I do rarely open snacks, some of the responses have convicted me. It bothers me that others have an even higher standard than I do regarding this matter. I am not too proud to acknowledge room for improvement. Packing snacks in a purse is a good idea, so I asked myself why I don't do this. 1. I take as little into the store as possible. I will put a debit card in my back pocket to avoid taking in a purse or the mommy backpack (which is more to keep track of in the store and takes up VALUABLE space in the cart). So this is the main reason I don't even think about it. 2. I often go to the store on my way home from something else, so I don't plan shopping snacks for the baby- I just go to the store while I am out. 3. I usually don't need any. The baby usually is content to sit in the cart and enjoy the shopping cart experience for long enough to get my shopping done. On rare occasion does she suddenly show that she is extremely tired or intolerant- or like yesterday, she just decided she didn't want to sit and tried to turn around or stand up (while buckled) continually during the whole shopping trip. She was a real turkey yesterday while I was trying to pricematch. I did open a box of Annie's bunnies in the store, and I hated doing it after reading these posts. But like I said, it was really out of character for her. Usually she sits fine, so I don't even think about planning a snack. I don't know if I want to take a purse with snacks for the rare chance that I may need them. But maybe I'll consider it. Like I said, I didn't realize so many out there are "above" opening things in the store. I think this is a good policy that I will likely adopt, because I don't want to cause others to stumble (if people like some of the posters would see me letting my baby snack on store food, you may think you're better than me, which is pride). So for the sake of not causing others to stumble, I will have spiritual maturity and change the behavior. LOL! Thank you posters for opening my eyes to a higher standard. Actually, one interesting thing is that my almost 9 yr. old daughter has a big problem with me opening things before paying. She insists to me that it's stealing and gets very upset when I do it (as she did yesterday, which was after reading these posts, so I really felt convicted). Obviously, I didn't teach her that. But her standard came from somewhere... and her feelings alone are enough for me to rethink it. I feel guilty for modeling something "less" than my kids' standards... where ever they came from. Isn't that interesting though? Maybe all of us snack-openers should rethink. I will. But this has nothing to do with the insanity of the Safeway case; I stand by my previous comment, but am adding this to acknowledge a potential need to change my policy for the better.

  35. Self-control is sadly lacking in today's world. This woman needed to learn some self-control. Eat the sandwich after it's yours. I tend to doubt she would starve to death.

    And if she can't wait b/c she is pregnant, then buy the sandwich, go outside and eat it, and then shop.

    This society expects instant gratification, and so do many of your readers, ZZ.

  36. I like how everyone believes she just "forgot." I mean, what else is she going to say? Would she say, "Yes, I intended to steal it?"

  37. Safeway was completely and utterly ridiculous. It is getting out of hand when not only does a grocery store feel the need to be so overkill in their policies, but that local/state government feels the need to flex their big, bad muscles over a young family and a sandwich. We have murder, rape, theft and all sorts of lovely things occurring in this world - if our officers cannot keep themselves occupied with such matters, we need fewer of them on our streets, because I do not feel particularly compelled to send my tax dollars to the big bad cops and CPS over a stupid sandwich.

    That being said, I have admittedly always felt it was a little trashy to open things before you pay for them. This is where I see the difference in a grocery store vs. a restaurant. When you are in a grocery store, you are tearing up packaging in order to consume an item, as opposed to being in a restaurant situation where you are presented with a meal under the pretense of paying. Obviously both situations have holes where people may slip through the cracks - and some do - but there is no denying that, on the whole, you do not see the vast majority of people walking around eating and snacking on a bunch of food in their shopping carts. Unless a store indicates a welcoming policy otherwise, for the most part people keep the products shut and packaged until they are purchased, and that mentality stands for most people for a reason - it's the unspoken rule.

    P.S. I have a friend who once worked at a Safeway in Australia; I am not sure if this was before or after the company sold out down there. Anyhow, the friend had serious nut allergies, and his boss told him he could take medical supplies from the shelves to treat his condition if their first-aid kit was missing that item - he just needed to leave a note with management saying so. Lo and behold, while stocking shelves he had a terrible reaction to the items, and after finding the first-aid kit was missing an eye wash, he raced down an aisle to find eye drops to help his swollen/shut/puffy eyes. In the haste of it all, he forgot to tell his manager. About a week later, they pulled in police, had him arrested before all his coworkers and taken to the station where he was charged with theft. He had to pay several hundred in restitution/fines and serve a year of probation. Over eye drops! Over eye drops he was ALLOWED to have, just forgot to note to the manager.

    - Andrea

  38. The question of whether or not it is trashy, sanitary, or illegal to eat food in a store before paying for it has nothing to do with this case.

    The store security SAW the woman eat the sandwich. They had no problem with that at all, as evidenced by the fact that they did not approach her about that. They are not saying she stole it for having eaten it before paying.

    They say she stole it because she tried to walk out without having paid for it. They would have acted the same if she had not eaten it, and not paid for it.

    Let's assume the sandwich was intentionally stolen. Is anyone on here actually thinking that the appropriate punishment for stealing $2.50 of merchandise is incarceration??? Why not write a ticket and make the woman pay back four- or five-fold, without an arrest or CPS getting involved? I would not at all have a problem with the store doing that, and I am sure the woman would have much preferred that to what happened. The law of the Lord is perfect.

    For all you self-righteous zealots, how many times have you surfed the internet, talked on the phone, or otherwise goofed off on your job when you were getting paid to work? What about taking home office supplies or other materials? Is there anyone on here that can truthfully claim to never ever have INTENTIONALLY defrauded someone for $2.50 worth??? I am not saying it was right, but it is not something to jail someone over.

    The biblical model only lays out three forms of punishment: fines (the most common), corporal punishment, and death penalty. There should be no such thing as prisons and prison sentences.

    Go choke on that.

  39. The biblical model is only relevant to those who follow the bible.

    This lady may have been an atheist for all your know. Safeway may be a Hindu-run store. Neither one of them may care what the Bible says. Why should they accept the justice recommended by an unknown Tempe housewife?

  40. @Lindsay - Really curious, what is it then? It would seem to me that once she walked out of the store without paying for it, she did, technically, steal it. She took it. She didn't pay for it. That's...stealing. But if you have legal knowledge (I do not), I'd be interested to know what the legal definition of her actions would be. What is it if you take something but don't really mean to? It's not borrowing; she couldn't return it.

    Agree the store completely overreacted. Don't really like the grazing in the store although I ignore it when others do it. I have never done it (nor have I ever "by accident" walked out with unpaid items in my cart), because I don't want my kids getting in the habit. I brought snacks/drinks when they were little and planned shopping for times when they were calm. Not really rocket science.

    As for her suffering from "pregnancy brain" may I ask all of you when her husband is due?


  41. also, I don't think I'd make it a habit of grazing in stores. If they do allow it I think it should be for emergencies only, or to pacify really upset children. I don't see how one could not wait until through shopping to eat food. I do understand that deli's and chain restaurants in stores work differently. I've had to ask in different sections of store more than once in my life, "Do I pay for this here or do I pay for it up front?". I don't know if the woman planned to pay for for the sandwich or not. If there is not a payback morefold law, I'd allow her to pay first before any other action was taken. But, why are you getting nasty and accusing people of responding "self-righteously" when they are sharing what they think and sharing what the law actually is?? And telling people to "choke on that" bc they don't agree with your opinion?? Why don't you go choke and barf on this??

  42. oops, I also meant to add with me saying that grazing should be left to emergencies, but still allowed, since I think many people think it ok to allow others to take in times of emergency. A movie scene comes to mind where some men were starving and trying to flee someone. They hid in a man's chicken house and took some eggs. When the man realized that they were in trouble he allowed it. Probably a different scenario but it came to mind. Grazing in stores should be left to emergencies only, but then again that wasn't even what this post was all about. As for laws, we don't live in Biblical Israel. That's the only nation those laws were given to and that was 2000 + years ago. I don't think God's laws reign on earth until Christ returns, and until then we have to obey the laws we have, right?? But like I said in my above two comments, I think she should have been given the chance to pay right there and then the situation would have been over with. Maybe places like this encounter this situation frequently, like people driving off without paying for gas in years gone by. I guess this is why you have to pay up front???? And as for your shoe example, what do you do if you get home and notice something wrong with the shoes, or you realize they really don't fit your children correctly?? You have now scuffed them up if you let them wear them home outside in the parking lot, grass, mud?? Maybe you box them back up when you pay?? I hope you've never taken any back after you have done this. My mom wouldn't let us wear our shoes until we got h-o-m-e...........

  43. Since when has it come out that Obama is a "satanist"???? People have accused him of being a "secret muslim", but since when has news surfaced of him being a "satanist"???? Does he wear a dark cloak and go to secret satanist meetings at night??? Where's you proof of your statement???

    Also, Jessica where do you get off labeling people as perverse??? You may not agree with the last two lines of Jen's comment, but all else she said in her comment can be backed up?? Where is your justification for all you name-calling of people?? If you are not correct, aren't you guilty of de-faming them?? Get it right, Jessica!!

  44. Hi Zsuzsanna

    I'd just like to comment on your specific questions:

    "What are your thoughts on this issue? Do you think that it is unethical to consume food at a grocery store before paying for it, with the intent of ringing up the empty packaging at the register?"

    This case actually made the news in Australia and I was horrified about what happened to that family, it should have never ever come to this. The store showed a distinct lack of judgement and no apology makes up for the fact that a very young child was taken from its mother by strangers.

    Re the ethics of eating food in a supermarket before the check out; I always thought it was illegal (it could be here in Australia for all I know) and like Abba 12 (8.11.2011. 2.57 pm) states, it is not acceptable to do so here. So culturally it is unethical to do so and as such I would never and have always taught my kids that they have to wait till we have paid for the goods.

    If I needed something urgently, I would take it to the 12 items or less line and purchase it before continuing to shop. Plus, when my kids were very young I would never go anywhere without snacks or water. Even now when the youngest is 8, I still have something for them all if they come to the shops with me.

  45. There are people here who are totally missing the point of the outrage over this incident. The punishment did not fit the crime. All sin will send you to hell but not all sin is equal. That is obvious because God has different punishments for different sins. Yes, she stole the sandwich. Yes, she should be punished.

    It's odd how many of those who didn't agree failed to say what they thought about CPS taking a three year old child away from her mother for 18 hours? Let's not forget the crime here. She stole food from a store. She didn't walk in with a gun and start shooting people. The punishment was excessive. I am not a lawyer but I don't think amount of money the food was worth would get her a felony charge. Simply make the lady pay twice what the sandwiches were worth and ban her from the store for life . Plus she has a lovely police record now. If she shows up again she can be arrested because then she is trespassing. Case closed.

    No one here is defending stealing,but as Zsuzsanna pointed out most of us are guilty of stealing at some point in time. Many of us haven probably stolen more than $2.50 worth of pens, paper clips, and various other things from work, the doctors office, library and so on. Let's not forget stealing company time by checking Facebook at work or taking an extra twenty minutes at lunch. Now about we all call the police and turn ourselves in and insist that we do a few years of jail time and let's have our children put in state custody while we are serving out our sentence? I don't think so.


    "The biblical model is only relevant to those who follow the bible."

    That's a interesting worldview you have. So punishment should be based on what a person believes? The lady might an atheist so it's okay to take her child away over over $2.50 ? That's a perverse way to look at things.


    Please correct me if I'm wrong but doesn't God's law apply to everybody including unbelievers?

    Best regards,

  46. @Christine, my comment to [Kxxx] talks specifically to this incorrect statement "However if you consume something before you pay for it, that's stealing whether you are still in the store or not". Hope that satisfies your curiosity in that regard.
    As to what it is once she leaves the store, it is up to the prosecuting party to prove that she had no intention of paying. One is innocent until proven guilty. Well in many countries anyway. Clearly this is not a principle aspired to in the States.. just judging from the incident in question and many comments here. Imagine the expense involved in ascertaining whether someone intented paying for a sandwich or not. $2.50 - ridiculous. The value of giving someone the benefit of the doubt is clearly underrated in the United States.

  47. In Germany it is not usual to eat something in the supermarket before paying. Personally I have seen this being done only on rare occasions, usually with children involved. I myself have once opened a box of tissues because I was suffering from hay fever and my nose ran like crazy, and another time it was hot outside and I opened a bottle of water because I was so thirsty that I nearly fainted. I paid the items of course at the check out.

    In the case of the pregnant woman I think her pregnancy should have been taken into consideration. Imagine she would have fainted during shopping due to hunger. So much trouble, not worth it.

    This whole incident definitely shows the coming enslavement of the US citizens. They want you to feel uncomfortable and insecure, watching your every step, being stressed out all the time.

    In all these circumstances pls remember

    1. God is in control. Nothing can happen to Christians that he does not allow. So if he allows it remember Romans 8,28: "And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose."

    2. Unbelievers are slaves of Satan until they get saved. They are not free to do what they want. They obey their master. So we should not be surprised if unbelievers are just being their sinful self. Satan loves to create fear and he hates the family union, he wants to destroy it on every occasion he can. And this is what he did here with the help of his human minions.

    3. This is a spiritual war! Therefore we should chose spiritual weapons. What about prayer?

    I had an incident recently on the train when heading home from work. There was this young man listening to expremely loud music on his Ipod. Everyone around him exchanged looks of disturbance. I am not shy and I asked him friendly to turn down the music. To my disbelief he shook his head and said "no" very rude. I felt anger stirring up and I do have a quick temper actually. But then I thought I have 2 choices now: getting angry in the flesh or praying for him. By the way he listened to strange Techno Music and his face had an aggressive expression, I reasoned he might even be demon-possessed. So I prayed for him, for his salvation, that the demons would stop influencing him etc. Few minutes later he turned down the music. The next day I saw him again, this time with a book, listening quietly to his Ipod, no angry expression on his face anymore. In addition the whole train was uncommenly quiet. Usually the journey home is stressful, but this time everyone just kept quiet, no one yelling into their mobiles, eyes closed, people napping. I do believe my prayer had been answered.

  48. @Lindsay,
    Thanks for the clarification. I agree she was not stealing while still in the store. It seems like the manager didn't stop to think and just went by protocol (I actually think this has more to do with the bureaucracy of large chain stores rather than enslavement, but that's me).

    A slave of satan (apparently) (also ???),

    P.S. Experienced something very similar to Rebecca A. the other day. I changed seats.

  49. I just now heard about this wow this is terrible , what kind of store would do such a thing except maybe walmart , if we ever do get a safeway store I will never shop there . My kids also eat things before we pay , I don't think it's wrong as long as you intend to pay for it .

  50. According to the AP version I read, the family, (a two-year-old little girl, a former Air Force staff sergeant who was 30 weeks pregnant, and her military husband) had JUST moved from California to Hawaii. They needed groceries to tide them over and took the bus, getting lost and having to change the bus several times out of confusion, thus it was very late when they arrived at the store. The very pregnant woman and two-year-old were obviously hungry and ate a sandwich on the Safeway property as they did their shopping. The family shopped and purchased $50 worth of groceries. The couple forgot about the sandwich in the hurry.

    If anyone can't see or identify with the way this mix-up could have happened, maybe your blood sugar is low and you need a sandwich.

    Ask yourself if you are able to at least relate with being one of the following things:
    1. pregnancy
    2. being very lost
    3. being new to a city
    4. having a two-year-old
    a. a hungry, tired, bored 2yo
    5. being worried about a child/pregnant spouse
    6. being worried about work tomorrow
    7. being worried about your daughter and pregnant wife in a new place whilst at work.
    8. being concerned about finances
    9. being hungry
    10. forgetfulness (yes, and I 'up' this because I'm a true believer in 'mommy-brain')
    11. moving in general, especially to another state
    12. or just having 'the dumbs' from being worn out because it was very late?

    I would bet 'dollars to donuts' that the couple begged to pay for the sandwich from the beginning, let alone when they took their daughter away from mummy and daddy for 18 hours over less than three. piddly. bucks.

    There is a pure, beautiful thing called mercy. I wish those involved could have offered the Leszczynskis and baby Zofia just a bit that night.



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