Is it illegal to Eat Something In Minnesota Before You Buy It?
If you open and eat a candy bar or bag of chips at the grocery store before you check out are you breaking the law in Minnesota?
Maybe you've been shopping in the produce section at a Trader Joe's, Hy-Vee, Cub, or Lunds & Byerlys in Minnesota and you've seen someone pluck and pop a grape in their mouth.
Obviously, they haven't been through the checkout line and paid for the fruit. Are they breaking the law?
Or maybe a mom opens a box of animal crackers so she can feed 'em to her young child to keep him from screaming while she shops, is she basically shoplifting?
Sure the mom will probably eventually pay for the animal crackers, but how will the grape thief pay for the fruit he ate? It's sold by weight. And now it's in his belly.
According to Findalaw.com the key is whether the shopper eventually pays for the foods they already consumed. And they say the type of food consumed can also matter.
“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, fruits, and dried goods, 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.
But if no store employee, loss-prevention officer, or cashier calls you out for eating the unpaid-for food, you probably won't be prosecuted.”
Findalaw.com points out that “You'll just have to deal with the guilt of knowing what you've done.”