How many times have you witnessed someone at the grocery store eating or drinking something that they haven't paid for yet? They're just walking around the store snacking away like it's no big deal.

Sometimes you'll even see parents giving their kids food from their shopping carts just to keep them from screaming uncontrollably in the store. Thankfully, this tactic usually works, but is it legal?

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While, personally, I don't think it's a big deal, it's not something that I would ever do. There's just something about opening up food at the store and eating it without paying that feels awkward.

Is it Illegal to Eat Food From a Store Before You buy it in Michigan?

Technically, it's not against the law to open up a bag of chips and toss a couple of handfuls into your mouth as long as you pay for the product at checkout. However, it's not a bad idea to know the store's policy before you go around eating or drinking items you haven't paid for yet.

Here's Where Things Can Get Tricky

It all really just depends on the type of food that you're eating. If it's an item that has a fixed price, you're all good. If it's a weighted item, that's a different story.


According to FindLaw, 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.

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The best thing to do is just wait until you get home. If it's not a health issue such as low blood sugar or something, have a little self-control.

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