Eating food off the shelf before paying – what Woolworths, Pick n Pay, and Spar have to say


Expert Member
Mar 26, 2009
I thought the law was all about intend..?

Used to work for one of these retailers.

Its difficult to prove someone is going to steal something, so they will wait untill the customer passes the Point of Sale, without paying for the item.

If they accuse someone while they are in the store they can get sued.

Soul Assassin

Honorary Master
Mar 27, 2006
The only people I ever knew of that did this was scumbags in high school that would go to the local Checkers and get a pie and drink and finish them walking up and down the aisles, leave the empty bottle and bag somewhere and then at the register just buy something like chocolate or gum and walk out.

Dan C

Honorary Master
Nov 21, 2005
I've done this a couple times...when the place is busy and the queues are long to check out, I've grabbed a bottle of water from the little fridges they have next to the tills. Drank it while waiting.

If you had a hangover it's fine. Think the article is about eating off the shelf before paying.
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Honorary Master
Apr 26, 2008
There you have it, the stores don't care as long as you pay for it. So relax now and mind your own business.

Not one store condoned the action. All were against it. Only Woolies said IF you consume you must pay, which is a given. They too did not state that it is acceptable.

Shoprite Holdings told MyBroadband that they discourage consumers from consuming products before paying for them.

Pick n Pay “would always recommend customers pay for their goods before consuming them in store.”

our retailers do not allow people to first eat and then pay in their stores,” Spar added.

Woolworths - “If a customer does drink a cool drink or eat a food item in-store while shopping, then they must pay for the item with their other shopping at the checkout.”

Overall it's frowned upon, otherwise tolerated (by one store) where necessary.