Mom Confessions: I Let My Toddler Eat Food Before Paying For It


hushIt's time for a Mom Confession -- because, let's face it, we're real mothers and sometimes it doesn't work the way the parenting books say it should.

This Week's Confession:

I let my son eat or drink food from the grocery store before actually buying it. I see nothing wrong with it. It keeps him content and I plan to pay for it, so what's the big deal? I've gotten dirty looks for it several times and can't understand why. --anonymous

I do it all the time! We will even go get our son a new train or something like that, and if he's good, he can even open it and play with it while we shop. I'm going to pay for it anyway, so what difference does it make? --anonymous



Should toddlers eat or drink grocery store merchandise before mom pays at the checkout?

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What type of message, if any, does this practice send? Should grocery stores be considered restaurants? What does it teach our children about self-control and instant gratification?

We all have secrets -- so thanks to these brave moms for sharing their honest thoughts, and thank you for keeping this conversation non-judgemental!


Past Confessions:

I Scold Other People's Kids

I'm on Vacation, But My Kid Is Still Going to Day Care

I Favor My Older Child



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Bobby... BobbysMom2007

The first time we did this, it was an accident.  I was letting DS feel the different textures of the produce, and he grabbed and bit into a plum.  I immediately took my little plum-face to the checkout and asked if it was okay.  The cashier just said to bring another one with us when we checked out, and they would weigh that one.  No Big Deal.

As for those of you who call this stealing, get a freakin' life!  Do you also consider it stealing when you try on clothes?  You haven't paid for them yet.  What if you're trying something on and you accidentally rip it or your kid spits up or spills something on it?  What if...what if...what if...?

If you Pay For It, it's Not Stealing!

idebu... idebusashes

gotta say though from a former retail managers perspective....what happens when  mommy credit card is declined or she forgets the correct amount of money ie doesnt have enough on her...?

bandk... bandk4ever

I let my kids do it sometimes,but I don't make a habit out of it. But only with food..such as the deli food.

ivans... ivansmom07

I have done this.  It's something I don't want to fall into a habit of doing and I've even started bringing our own snacks (in our own container, of course) I do think it creates a bad habit and sends a bad message to my child. 

I'm working hard on not doing this anymore =)

mommy... mommyuphold

I have let my son open anything from fruit snacks to crackers in the store, but anytime my DH is with me I get scolded for opening anything in the store without paying. Especially at Wal-mart, because he works there and I told him last time, would you rather be fighting with him the whole time and yelling at him. Because to me fighting in the store and in public is more embarrassing.

sprime sprime

I usually shop just after breakfast. But since it can take up to an hour with two littles and a lot of groceries, they sometimes get a snack. Usually, it is a fruit roll. Yesterday, I bought some as they were on sale. Both boys were demanding that they get one. I told them if they managed to open it, they could have it. (1 1/2 and 3 1/2)  Never fails that they can't get those packages open! I try to pack a snack too, but I don't always have time. I have never once gotten grief for checking out with empty wrappers. The cashiers just scan and toss. I just explain that the boys got hungry as we had been shopping a long time. One casher called for a price check before I realized I hadn't told her the empty wrapper came out of a box. She didn't think they sold them individually. She said it was no problem.

So many people are also parents, therefore understanding and sympathetic.


i hate when people do this and my hubby lets my son get wat he wants then pay for it lol

MamaM... MamaMindx

Its fine if you open up a box of  food ex.crackers  to give to your little on if your in the grocery store and they are obviously hungry just as long as you pay for it!

avpri... avpriddis

It's that whole as long as you pay for it at checkout thing.  I have done it a few times when my girls were just bawling like crazy and I knew they needed something to eat or drink.  I've also seen alot of opened and empty containers laying around stores stuck on a shelf they didn't even come from.  I've even seen it start happening with clothes and those hair clips where just a few are missing.  So in this bad economy I think the practice could easily turn into well it's just .80 cents, they won't miss it.  My opinion.  As long as we're honest works, but remember the grocery store who will start to lose out from those who aren't honest.

proud... proud_tx_mommy

I try 9 time out of 10 to pack a snack, a drink and a toy, however if I forgot I have given DS something that can be scanned, if he's asking for something that is weighed I will pay for it right then and continue with my shopping.  However if DH is with me and ds asks for something it HAS to be paid for right then otherwise DH will comment the whole time we are shopping "you know that's stealing right?".

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