They always say never to go grocery shopping when you're hungry.

You end up being in a rush and find yourself going up and down the aisles.

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Then, all of a sudden, hunger strikes, and that bag of chips or bunch of grapes are calling your name and you dive in.

Have you ever wondered if eating food at the grocery store before you pay for it is illegal?

Grocery purchase. Shopping trolley cart full products. Foods and drinks, vegetables and fruits. Vector
Iuliia Kanivets
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Recently, we've been diving into all kinds of different laws here in The Garden State.

For example, is it illegal to record a conversation without the other party knowing?

Feeling frisky? Is it illegal to get it on in your car?

Back to the grocery store.

Personally, I've never done any munching in the store before paying.

It's not because I think I'm going to get in trouble. I know, I'm such a rebel.

I grabbed a bottle of water a couple of times.

After all, one can get quite parched while going up and down those aisles.

I think I paid for the water every time, but there may have been an instance when I didn't accidentally.

Please don't rat on me. It happens.

Justice is served
james steidl
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Is it illegal in New Jersey to eat before paying at the grocery store?

It all depends, according to Find Law.

If you grabbed that bag of Doritos and scarfed them down with the intention of ditching the bag or hiding it in the cart without paying, that is shoplifting.

As we all know, shoplifting is illegal.

Young male thief putting fruit into inside pocket in food store
shironosov
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However, if you are snacking while shopping at the grocery store and pay for the item at the checkout, it is not illegal.

Keep in mind that every store is different.

If one shop prohibits eating before paying, that is their prerogative and they can tell you to stop, or even leave.

It's still not illegal, though.

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