Kroger Apologizes For Calling You A Thief, Banning You From Store For Buying And Eating Their Donuts

Every Saturday morning, Beth’s father walks to the neighborhood Kroger, eats some donuts, pays, and walks home. Two weekends ago, a security guard stopped Beth’s father, accused him of shoplifting, and banned him from the store.Here’s the letter Beth sent to Kroger:

Dear Kroger Executive Director—

Our family loves Kroger. We live about a mile away from the Indianapolis store on 79th Street and Fall Creek (#965), and we often walk to the store to get small items, prescriptions, and do banking at the attached 5/3 Bank. We have been loyal customers since 1997, and I worked at the store as a nonfoods and photo clerk from 1997 to 1999.

Recently, my dad has made an effort to exercise more, and so, every Saturday, he walks down to the store and eats 2 or 3 donuts at the tables next to Starbucks and then goes to the U-scan to pay for his order. He did this today (and paid for 3 donuts in cash) and tossed the receipt in the trash next to the cashier station at the U-scan. As he headed out the door, an officer (Jay Wanner, a private police officer) stopped my dad and asked him to come upstairs with him. When upstairs, the officer said that store employees reported that my dad had been stealing donuts during his weekend visits. My dad told the officer that he had paid for his 3 donuts, and asked if he could return downstairs to get the receipt from the trash, but the officer told him no. When my dad got upset, the officer told him to not return to the store and, if he did, he would be arrested.

My dad graduated from Notre Dame with high honors and has worked as a financial planner for more than 30 years. He is the most honest person I know, and would never steal anything from your store. Our family has had friendly relationships with many long-term workers in your store (especially in the pharmacy), and we would never violate that trust.

After I heard his story, I went back to the store and retrieved the donut receipt from the trash. It is for 3 donuts for $2. The receipt is dated for 1/24/09 at 10:22 a.m. and the numbers on the bottom read 965 83 31 999. If you are to look at your receipt records on Saturday morning at the U-scan, you are sure to find records for this same purchase, sometimes with an additional muffin he buys for my mom.

I, my mom, and my dad are very hurt by this incident, and now we all feel like we shouldn’t go to your store anymore. We have made phone calls to the manager and officer, and they have basically said that they didn’t want to further the conversation: that my dad stole the donuts (or ate more than he paid for) and that he was forbidden from going into the store.

If your Kroger store was one we didn’t frequent often, we may be able to just write this off as a very unfortunate misunderstanding. However, we have been very loyal customers, and feel like this incident needs further investigation.

When Beth first emailed us, it had been a week since she complained to Kroger and she’d gotten no response. A few days later, Beth emailed us to let us know that Kroger finally apologized:

Kroger did respond by calling my Mom and Dad today. The head of security apologized and asked my Dad what they could do to make him feel better about the situation (Dad said an apology from the manager and officer).

(Photo: u2acro)

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  1. B says:

    In an effort to exercise more, he walks to Kroger’s and eats three donuts? That’s my kind of exercise routine!
    Snark aside, I’m glad Kroger’s admitted their mistake and remedied the problem.

    • albear says:

      @B:

      Yeah, what the hell? I lol’d at that too!

    • CmdX says:

      @B: I came in here to say that. For a ‘Notre Dame grad’ he isn’t the sharpest tool in the personal fitness toolshed.

    • Snowblind says:

      @B: It’s 10 miles up hill both ways in the driving snow yer young whipper snapper!

      And get off my lawn!

    • Applekid ┬──┬ ノ( ã‚œ-゜ノ) says:

      @B: Better than driving to Kroger’s down the street and eating them, I suppose.

    • muddgirl says:

      @B: WTF do donuts have to do with exercising? The cardivascular benefits of a long walk aren’t negated by eating donuts.

    • mobilene says:

      @B: I drive by that Kroger a couple times a week, and I’m left scratching my head over just exactly where this fellow might be walking. The area doesn’t strike me as pedestrian-friendly.

    • eXo says:

      @B: Not sure I see why he couldnt simply pay for the donuts, and THEN go eat them. Why does he insist on eating them first? I dislike watching people walk around a grocery store, opening bags of chips, and snacking while they are there.

    • TCTH says:

      @B: I knew that snark about the man’s exercise habits was going to be the first thing out of anyone’s mouth here.

    • FunkmasterC says:

      @B: To be fair, the security guard said the employees had reported the “theft”. The guard was only doing their job.

  2. WolfDemon says:

    I hope he gets that apology from them. Especially from that officer who didn’t allow him to defend himself.

    • audemars says:

      @WolfDemon: You would think if people were watching him so intently that they would have seen him pay and then toss his receipt.

      • J. Gov says:

        @audemars:

        That and/or the clerks vouching for a guy who does the same exact thing every week. I wouldn’t be surprised if some of them were familiar with his routine and saw him pay on that particular day.

    • cuchanu says:

      @WolfDemon: I once got stopped by a security guard because a cashier said she saw me putting a twix in my pocket. The funny thing is that she was the one I bought it from. I told her to throw away the receipt, so when he asked me for it I said, “go and ask the cashier” He came back a minute later and said sorry. I never figured out how she was my accuser, cashier and alibi all in one.

  3. aguacarbonica says:

    “Recently, my dad has made an effort to exercise more, and so, every Saturday, he walks down to the store and eats 2 or 3 donuts at the tables next to Starbucks and then goes to the U-scan to pay for his order.”

    I found this sort of funny on face value. But if he’s an older guy and he’s exercising for the many other benefits besides weight loss, I actually can’t mock him for having a delightful treat.

    • cuchanu says:

      @aguacarbonica: It’s like that newspaper picture of the pregnant lady smoking a cigarette. The caption reads something like, “Tina Johnson is worried about the sound of the construction on her unborn child.” WTF?

    • mariospants says:

      @aguacarbonica: Thank God I’m not the only one who’s having problems with the line “Recently, my dad has made an effort to exercise more, and so, every Saturday, he walks down to the store and eats 2 or 3 donuts.” WTF.

      • oneandone says:

        @mariospants: It’s what aguacarbonica said it was – the father may not be trying to lose weight, just exercise more. They’re not the same thing, especially for an older person. Arthritis, recovery from surgery (especially joint replacement), balance, cardiovascular system – all benefit from exercise.

        • LibertyReign says:

          @oneandone:

          and processed bread, processed sugar and artificial flavors and colorings all cause anaerobism (arthritis, arterial sclerosis and joint inflammation)

  4. I_have_something_to_say says:

    Is there an unwritten rule that you have to have the ‘asshole’ gene to be a cop? You wouldn’t see an article about Wegmans doing something like this let me tell you.

    Kroger should inform this ‘officer’ that he is not to treat customers in this manner.

    • johnva says:

      @I_have_something_to_say: What I don’t get is why any business would actually confront and accuse someone of shoplifting without possessing solid evidence (ie, stuff that would stick in court if the person were actually charged with a crime) of it. It’s just not worth it to accuse your customers of stealing unless you in fact KNOW that they are stealing. If this were an ongoing problem like they were saying, you would think that they would bother to actually pull the receipts, security cameras, etc to confirm their employees’ suspicions.

    • audemars says:

      @I_have_something_to_say: People become cops because they’re lacking in other areas in their life. Being a cop gives them a badge to hide behind and thus allows them to be an asshole to make up for their own personal short comings.

      At least this is my opinion on the matter.

      • failurate says:

        @audemars: For the real cops here, it’s seems like one of the few professions that you can earn close to or over $100k a year without an advanced degree. Crazy union and their overtime rules. Their union actually blocks the hire of more people so that the current union guys can get more overtime.

    • cynical_bastard says:

      @I_have_something_to_say: I have met several cops that are really, really cool people…

      but yea, there are some real power tripping jerks out there.

    • downwithmonstercable says:

      @I_have_something_to_say: Not ragging on anyone’s profession here if you happen to be a security guard/loss prevention person in retail… but those guys that do that job either didn’t pan out having a real career as an actual cop, or are assholes that want some kind of power over people but are too dumb for an education. So they resort to a $9 an hour job where they can push customers around like this guy. I worked retail, I saw many of these guys come and go. They’re all the same – they think they’re in the fricken FBI or something trying to be stealth looking for shoplifters and then they practically jack in their pants when they are able to have some sort of confrontation.

      Just my two cents. Sorry to offend any security guards here – I know there are some normal ones out there.

    • Mary says:

      @I_have_something_to_say: There’s a lot of really rude, condescending, and uninformed generalizing going on in this thread.

      I disapprove wholeheartedly. Making an assumption about a person’s character based on their profession and your limited experience with said profession, especially when it is one where the bad apples get most of the press, is not something I like to see. This isn’t even a case of “Yeah there are some bad apples”

      This is a case of “there are good people and there are bad people. They often have jobs.”

    • Grrrrrrr, now with two buns made of bacon. says:

      @I_have_something_to_say: Pretty much, yes. Most cops get off on the power trip, and the ones that don’t probably get so discouraged with some of the crap they see that they just get bitter.

      I don’t think I’ve ever had an interaction with a cop where he didn’t immediately become suspicious to suspect me of being guilty of something. This even goes for when YOU initiate a call or stop a cop to tell him about a bank robbery that’s going on one block over. Street cops seem to be much worse than detectives.

    • blockbustarhymes says:

      @I_have_something_to_say: I’ve met plenty of good cops. But you do not mess with their donuts or donuts that they might be protecting.

    • LibertyReign says:

      @I_have_something_to_say:

      Well yeah.. think about it.. you have to be the type of person who thinks it’s necessary to society to harass people who are going about their normal every day activities. I would argue the it takes a special kind of asshole to be a guard or a cop, and the good ones are the exception, contrary to the common belief that most cops are good and “it only takes a few rotten apples”.

      Power-hungry control freaks levitate towards such positions. It’s only natural.

  5. sven.kirk says:

    …he walks down to the store and eats 2 or 3 donuts at the tables next to Starbucks and then goes to the U-scan to pay for his order.

    It is all in the timing people. Grocery stores expect to get paid before you eat the food. Not like restaurants where you pay after.

    • johnva says:

      @sven.kirk: While I agree that that would have probably prevented these problems, they kind of invited what he did by placing a “mini-restaurant” (a Starbucks counter) in their store. And they didn’t make the accusation until after he actually paid, which means that he didn’t steal and there was no evidence he was stealing. There is no evidence he tried to leave without paying, and in fact there is evidence to the contrary.

      I think that Kroger just needs to hire some rent-a-cops that have a higher IQ than the temperature of the donuts he was eating. Blind adherence to simplistic “rules” is just stupid.

    • Robert M Getch says:

      @sven.kirk: I disagree, when I go shopping I normally snag a drink and proceed to shop for the items I need and when I get to the register I pay for the bottle and move on with my day.

      I’ve never had a problem doing this, nor been asked to stop doing this at any store, including Fred Meyers (which is owned by Kroger).

      • Mary says:

        @Robert M Getch: I have run into several people that work at grocery stores that still consider this rude at best. It’s not something I would do. I pay first, then consume. It just seems better that way. And like I said, grocery store employees have told me that’s what they prefer. It must be an individual store policy thing.

        That said, the security guard is still in the wrong here, especially from a customer service standpoint.

        • Brunette Bookworm says:

          @Meiran: I worked at one and hated when people would eat first, then bring empty or half empty packages to me to pay for. Ewww, like I want to touch after you have been eating out of it??? What happens if you consume something and then get to the register and don’t have a way to pay, i.e. no cash and your card is declined?

          The worst one were when people would eat produce sold by weight and then expect me to try and charge them for the grape twigs. No, it doesn’t work like that. You’ve now stolen.

    • opsomath says:

      @sven.kirk: You know what? That may be true, but it’s still dumb to accuse the dude of shoplifting because he hadn’t paid yet. I have probably picked up a bottled drink (Publix’s deli lemonade and peach tea are tasty and less than a buck) and sipped it while finishing the rest of my shopping dozens of times, then paid for it with the rest of my groceries…it makes the task more pleasant and keeps you from having “RAWR hungry while shopping must buy whole store” syndrome. And I would be PISSED if someone, particularly a rent-a-cop, accused me of shoplifting because of it.

      • DidSomeoneSayCookie? says:

        @opsomath: The “eat in the store and bring the packaging up to pay” may be legal but always seems really sloppy to me. The only exception would be for a crying, hungry kid – even I would break down in that case. Otherwise, I’d really prefer to see people have enough control to wait until they get past the checkout to eat and drink in a grocery store. Or, prepare to be considered a thief until proven otherwise.

        Not that I think the Dad in this case is guilty of anything, given the circumstances as they were presented.

        • johnva says:

          @DidSomeoneSayCookie?: Yeah, regardless of whether it’s “correct” to eat something in the store before you pay, there is nothing illegal about it as long as you don’t attempt to leave without paying. It’s not stealing (except for possibly where eating it makes it impossible for them to charge you accurately, such as when things are sold by weight). Now, the store could rightfully have a policy against it if they want, and they would be perfectly in their rights to ban customers who don’t comply. But they wouldn’t be in their rights to have those customers arrested for stealing.

    • magic8ball says:

      @sven.kirk: I disagree. Obviously every store is different, but I asked one of my local grocery stores whether it was OK to open a box of goldfish crackers to feed to my kid while shopping. Their response was basically, “Sure, just let us scan the empty box/bag at checkout.” So “pay before eating” is not a universal law of grocery shopping.

      • mythago says:

        @magic8ball: Yeah, but feeding your kid Goldfish to keep them quiet during shopping is a special exemption. Everybody knows that.

        • floraposte says:

          @DidSomeoneSayCookie?: I’m in agreement on both points. You shouldn’t claim crime if this is something you permit in your store, but I don’t think customers should eat stuff prior to paying for the now-uncheckable consumed items. (I’m not in general a big fan of eating in places not designated for eating even without getting into the purchasing issue, though of course the Starbucks thing renders that a null issue here.)

          • Sidecutter says:

            @floraposte: It’s designed for eating. They have a table or two there specifically for people to sit down and eat their food from the deli and bakery area. Kroger here often has a similar setup.

        • ElizabethD says:

          @mythago:

          Yep. Except with my kids it was always animal crackers.

    • speedwell (propagandist and secular snarkist) says:

      @sven.kirk: Yeah, right. Then you know how it would play out? Guy buys three donuts, throws away the receipt he doesn’t care about, sits down at the tabble, eats his donuts, gets up and walks away (stuffing the bag in the trash). Then he gets confronted by Mister Petty Power Trip on the way out the door, who says to him, “I saw you eat those donuts in the store, and then walk out without paying.”

    • LibertyReign says:

      @sven.kirk: Except what would have happened if he purchased the donuts first then tried to walk back through the store to sit down and eat?

      This problem is systemic and can hardly be avoided unless you are willing to carry receipts for everything you carry whenever in a place of business.

  6. spoco says:

    I once grabbed a pack of non-salmonella peanut butter crackers at Kroger and ate them while I was picking up a few things. When I got to the check out, I handed the cashier an empty wrapper to scan. She called the manager who informed me that what I did was theft and that they would let it slide that time.

    I proceeded to never, ever shop at Kroger again.

    • Hedgy2136 says:

      @spoco:

      Like it or not, what you (and the OP’s dad) did IS theft. The fact that you don’t know (or care) that you are supposed to pay for something before you use it is no excuse.

      • Robert M Getch says:

        @Hedgy2136: If it’s theft then why did Kroger go out of the way to apologize and ask what they could do to remedy the situation?

        • LibertyReign says:

          @Robert M Getch:

          It may technically be theft but anyone who goes out their way to chastise you for paying for something after you eat it instead of before is on a power-trip, and does not deserve your business. If we all made better choices with our dollars, places like Kroger, WalMart, and probably even StarBucks would go out of business and the world would be better off for it in my opinion.

      • opsomath says:

        @Hedgy2136: The trouble is, that’s stupid. As I pointed out above, I do this all the time at Publix, and I have never had a problem.

        I don’t believe it is theft, incidentally. On what basis do you say that?

        • honestlytoomuch says:

          @opsomath: Hedgy has no basis, because it’s not theft. It only becomes theft (more accurately shoplifting) when someone actually leaves the location where a product should be purchased. What this guy did, and many other people in the US, is perfectly legal. The cop was an asshole and obviously just likes to feel bigger than people. This is so dumb. Obviously Kroger understands the law which is why they are apologizing to the man.

      • derelk says:

        @Hedgy2136:
        That’s ridiculous. That is not theft at all. In fact, many newer Albertston’s locations have a section of refrigerated drinks at the entrance with a sign encouraging you to “have a refreshing beverage while you shop”. I guess they want you to “steal” from them?

        The bottom line is it’s not uncommon, and he always paid for them. If they didn’t like that he ate them before paying, they could have nicely asked him to paay first so there is no confusion. I’m sure he would have complied.

      • Corporate_guy says:

        @Hedgy2136: Incorrect. Shop lifting is called conversion. It’s a weak charge which is why many people shoplift as a career. And you have not committed conversion until you leave the store with the merchandise. So eating an item in the store is not theft or conversion. You have to leave the store first(well maybe pass the pay area such as the registers) without paying. Like it or not.

      • Cyberxion101 says:

        @Hedgy2136: Neither what this guy nor what the OP did is theft. They may have completed steps of the transaction out of order, and you may take issue with that as is your prerogative, but to call it theft is outright ignorance. You should be ashamed of yourself and all that jazz.

    • honestlytoomuch says:

      @spoco: It’s not shoplifting (which is different from theft) unless you walk past the cashiers in an attempt to leave the store before paying. I know this because I, once, was arrested for shoplifting (long story, troubled childhood, looking for escape, haven’t done it since) and while the cop was doing all his paper work I read his big book of law-stuff and that’s what it said. That’s why, usually, people who shoplift are confronted right before they walk out, or just several steps outside of the entrance; not when they stuff things wherever they can to hide it.

      • downwithmonstercable says:

        @honestlytoomuch: That may be true that it’s “technically” shoplifting, but most normal stores are understanding of this and really honestly do not mind. Customers would hand me empty bottles, candy wrappers, etc at checkout that they ate beforehand. Not a big deal. It’s the overzealous types that are out there every so often that this is an issue with.

        One time a woman put an empty bottle of wine on the counter and asked me to charge her because she drank it while shopping. That wasn’t ok because alcohol laws are different. But I let it slide since I thought it was hilarious.

    • yagisencho says:

      @spoco:

      Good call. Calling you a thief was both rude and inaccurate. Although it’s against their store policy, ‘eating on credit’ is exactly what everyone does in a table service restaurant.

      If it’s that important to them though, maybe they could post a sign reading something to the effect, “All food must be purchased before being consumed.”

      • Dansc29625 says:

        @yagisencho: Kroger – not a table service restaurant.

        • JamieSueAustin says:

          @Dansc29625: Krogers are more commonly including restaurant like elements. The one in my neck of the woods has a sit down sushi bar and a starbucks. I think that blurs the line. If he consumed the donuts in the restaurant-esque area then I don’t consider it rude.

          • LibertyReign says:

            @JamieSueAustin:

            Yeah my local grocery store in the small town I grew up in (pop. 20,000) had a Panda Express INSIDE the grocery store, as well as a SELF-service bakery and eventually a McDonald’s..

            Later after I was older when my mother would come to town to visit we would often pick out some baked goods for desert and some fresh produce to eat and sit down at the Panda express and eat without paying first.

            This type of thing doesn’t become an issue until a company gets so large that the community as a whole is considered a target for risk prevention. Everyone is a suspect, and employees are given more and more training on how NOT to treat customers like people.

        • Cliff_Donner says:

          @Dansc29625: Exactly right. I don’t know how Kroger’s is set up (that chain is not in my area), but my local grocer’s has a Caribou coffee franchise within it, and Target has a Starbucks franchise within it. In both of these situations, you pay for your coffee at the coffee counter when you receive it. You don’t pay for it at the main check-out registers after you’ve drank it.

          Also, my local grocer’s has a seating area, but it also has a register there specifically set up so customers may pay for their food before they eat it.

          Another local grocer — Whole Foods — has a sign at the entrance to their seating area that says “no unpurchased items permitted.”

          Every grocery store I’ve patronized seems to have things set up in such a way that makes it clear that they want you to pay for items before eating them.

          That said, it doesn’t seem like Kroger’s needed to make a federal case out of this. The gentleman should have been allowed to retrieve his receipt from the garbage to prove he’d paid for the doughnuts.

        • LibertyReign says:

          @Dansc29625:

          Person who takes my money anyways – shouldn’t care

      • Corporate_guy says:

        @yagisencho: Policies do not make laws. So hanging a sign that says, “All food must be purchased before being consumed” can make it easier to ban you from the store. But it doesn’t make it conversion.

      • LibertyReign says:

        @yagisencho:

        with small print at the bottom that reads:

        and if you try to pay for it afterward we would rather press charges than make a profit off of your money

    • gStein_*|bringing starpipe back|* says:

      @spoco: Harris Teeter here in NC doesn’t have a problem with this either.
      for a while, they had a promo agreement with Coke, which put cupholders in many of the shopping carts, encouraging you to grab a soda from one of the refrigerators near the entrance of the store, the tagline was something like “refresh while you shop”
      whenever they put out the freshly baked baguettes, we will grab 2 and munch on one while we shop
      never had a problem from the cashiers, when we hand them an empty soda bottle, they’ll confirm that we got it from their store, scan it, and offer to discard it for us

    • mobilene says:

      @spoco: I routinely grab a soda out of the refrigerated coolers at the checkout and drink it as I shop, and then have them scan the empty with my order. Nobody ever bats an eyelash.

      • LibertyReign says:

        @mobilene:

        There’s a Taco shop in the grocery store next to where I work.. I eat there almost every day…it is IMPOSSIBLE to buy a taco without walking through the store and by the cashier and out the front door.. THey also carry the same items in the Taco shop that they carry through the store so therefore I am often walking right out the front door with merchandise that hasnt even been rung up. Never had one single incident or even so much as a look because its a family owned and operated company with a modest inventory designed to accommodate the locals. Their prices SUCK, and I still purposefully shop there because I like to be treated like a customer..like someone who’s money pays your rent, not like criminal, or a vagrant, or someone who is looking to get something for free..

        I don’t even like walking in to a Kroger or WalMart with a friend..never mind the idea of ever giving them any of my money.

    • hi says:

      @Dansc29625: They have tables and food, and the Krogers I have been to also have a restraunt style area where you can eat. I used to buy pizzas when I was a kid and heat them up in the microwave and eat them at Kroger (small town, nothing better to do).

      If you are PAYING for the item it is not shoplifting ot theft.

      • LibertyReign says:

        @hi:

        Yeah like AM/PM? Sometimes when people are in a hurry and ar eon foot or on the bus they eat right there in between the microwave and the cashier.. you have to be a real asshat to make an issue out of this..

  7. bball123h says:

    “Every Saturday morning, Beth’s father walks to the neighborhood Kroger, eats some donuts, pays, and walks home.”

    Not defending Kroger, but maybe he should change the order to “father walks to the neighborhood Kroger, pays, eats some donuts, and walks home.” I’d bet that they’d be pretty suspicious of anybody who is eating food that they haven’t yet bought.

    That said, way to go all “hard cop” over $2 worth of donuts.

  8. Pigmann says:

    I love Kroger, even if the one in my town smells strange. I’d much rather go to Stinky Kroger than my only other option, Wal-Mart. I’m happy they seem to want to make this right. I am saddened though that there is a Starbucks attached to their Kroger.

    Also, that three donuts thing is probably something Dad should work on.

    • SpdRacer says:

      @Pigmann: The one @ my K-Roger is in the store, they completely remodeled the store to put it in.

    • rickinsthelens says:

      @Pigmann: Kroger has about 15 brands of grocery stores, plus convenience stores, plus Fred Meyer, which is an odd combination of clothing, food, furniture, jewelery, and outdoor goods. It doesn’t surprise me they partner with Starbucks. The Fred Meyer here partners with Tully’s.

  9. mythago says:

    A little confused here – the guy eats the donuts and THEN pays for them, rather than the other way around? Is the problem that somebody saw him eat unpaid-for-yet donuts or what? (Not in any way saying this justifies the treatmetn for alleged ‘shoplifting’.)

    • audemars says:

      @mythago: I don’t see how this is a problem. I regularly go into the store and when passing the check out stands grab a soda or bottled water and walk around drinking it. I usually pay for it, and never have any problems. Where I used to live they had these awesome little jalapeno poppers and I’d go and get an order of those and walk around eating them and then pay for them at the register.

      It sounds to me like that the holice in this story just didn’t see/care that he paid for the donuts after the fact.

      • mythago says:

        @audemars: They may not have seen, but I agree with supercereal – when somebody is eating out of the bins, it’s not ridiculous to be concerned they’re taking freebies. Your poppers came from the deli, right? So you got a bag or a tray with a bar code and price on it, which is a record of how much food they gave you. If you’re just diving in the bins, there’s no way to prove how many donuts or whatever you ate.

        Of course the store should have handled this better.

        • Cyberxion101 says:

          @mythago: As someone pointed out above, if they were looking at him closely enough to have come to the conclusion that he was stealing in the first place, then it stands to reason that they should also have been able to make note of the number of donuts the fellow consumed. So I don’t really think that this issue is how many he ate, but that some douche saw him eating them but didn’t see him pay for them. Sort of like how the story presents it actually…

      • jimconsumer says:

        @audemars: What do you mean you “usually” pay for it? Does that mean you occasionally drink it and don’t pay?

    • supercereal says:

      @mythago: To be fair, being dubbed a ‘shoplifter’ isn’t an illogical conclusion to jump to on the store’s part. I’m not calling anyone dishonest, but how can the store verify that you’ve only eaten one…or two…or three donuts while walking around? You may know that you didn’t steal anything, but not everyone in the world is as honest…which is why stores sometimes have to err on the side of caution.

      • godlyfrog says:

        @supercereal: It all comes down to how much the store trusts its customers and how willing it is to monitor its customers. If I walk into a grocery store with a drink that I’ve already paid for, how does the store know that I didn’t get it there unless they watched me walk in with it?

        Dad walks in, eats something he hasn’t paid for, then goes through a self-pay register to pay for what he ate. If he doesn’t have any contact with the store’s employees at all during his visits, how do they know he’s not stealing? Conversely, however, if they had such suspicions, they should have simply kept an eye on him during his visit to see what he does instead of accusing him without proof.

        • LibertyReign says:

          @godlyfrog:

          OK now Im starting to get pissed off..you are repeatedly saying that not knowing what the fuck is going is a good reason to assume someone stole… This is the essence of what is wrong with you and with Kroger

      • LibertyReign says:

        @supercereal:

        K then you are accusing someone of a crime when you have absolutely no basis for it whatsoever.. The employees either saw him eat the donuts or they didn’t.. you’re still being an accusatory over-zealous asshat whether you are the person who ratted him out for something he didnt do, or the guard who didn’t investigate the situation correctly before going off on an old man just tryin ta get some sugah

        and this is just off the top of my head, but how about trying customer service WITH security since you are not working for the DOD but working at a grocery store, how about a warning, or even MORE respectful, just a suggestion to pay first and then eat.. there were so many ways this could have been handled better

  10. Saboth says:

    I’ve never liked it when people walk around the grocery store snacking on things while shopping, then (maybe) paying when they check out. I worked at a store, and every night you’d find half eaten food/used bags hidden behind other boxes or tossed between shelves.

    • teknowaffle says:

      @Saboth: I have issues with this as well because I have a feeling most do not get paid for.
      I won’t even let my friends do it when I am around.

    • mbz32190 says:

      @Saboth: I work in a grocery store, and I wish they would really stop with this. People open up sodas, chow down on bagels and muffins, etc, then leave all the trash around the store. This is a “high-class” market, so most of the people that come through the line are honest and will say “I ate one bagel” or something like that, but there’s a thief for every one of those. What is worse is we have flower holder things in the carts that fit a 20 oz. bottle perfectly, so people drink (without paying), then leave the trash in there.

      • jimconsumer says:

        @mbz32190: Sounds to me like your store is encouraging this by having what looks to be a drink carrier on the carts. If management doesn’t like it, maybe they should ditch the drink carrying carts.

    • samurailynn says:

      @Saboth: I don’t really like when people walk around grocery stores eating and drinking things, but it’s because I feel like it’s a little gross. You’re walking around touching things that lots of other people have touched, and then putting food into your mouth. Of course, I’m kind of picky about those kinds of things.

    • ShizaMinelli says:

      @Saboth: Did anyone at the store ever think to…I don’t know…put up a sign or something that says “All products must be paid before consumed”?? That way, when you saw someone doing it, you would be fine to boot them or demand immediate payment.

  11. Johnny_Roastbeef says:

    So did he actually eat the donuts BEFORE paying for them? I can see how that might confuse the security people.

    • johnva says:

      @Johnny_Roastbeef: Yeah, they aren’t exactly known for intelligence, so I can see how it might confuse them. But it’s not stealing if they don’t try to leave without paying.

      • audemars says:

        @johnva: I think he was an off-duty cop. At least that’s what I got. Unless it was spam, in which case yeah, he’s probably not very smart.

        Then again…nevermind I’ll stop bashing the police for now.

  12. HogwartsAlum says:

    Well cripes, the guy comes in there every freaking Saturday. You think someone would have remembered that he always eats the donuts and then pays. Seems like the security people aren’t the only nimrods who work there.

    • mythago says:

      @HogwartsAlum: This may be surprising but stores do, occasionally, hire new employees, and part of their training is probably not “Memorize every little quirk of every customer who ever comes through here.” The problem isn’t that the guy was stopped, but how it was handled by the security person.

      I used to deal with this irate assholes all the time when I was a bank teller. People would scream that I asked (politely) for ID before cashing a check because “I’ve been banking here for fifty years!” Well, dumbass, if you’ve been coming here fifty years you know that *I* have never seen you before, and I’d rather not give money from your account to anyone who asks for it.

      • HogwartsAlum says:

        @mythago:

        I get what you’re saying, and you’re right, but they don’t hire a whole new crew every week. The guard could have handled it much better, I agree. If he were paying attention, he would have seen that the guy paid. And the person he paid, assuming they were standing right there, could have said, “Oh, he paid for that; I just rung him up.”

        I used to work in food service, and I’ve been screamed at too. Many times.

    • Mary says:

      @HogwartsAlum: This is my problem with the whole thing. On the one hand, I don’t really agree with the (apparently common) idea that if you pay for it on the way out it’s fine. But on the other hand, he established a pattern, and if they had a problem with that pattern there were much better ways to approach him. He was a loyal customer, there are better ways to treat him.

      • HogwartsAlum says:

        @Meiran:

        Yes, very true. I’m not sure how I feel about the eat-then-pay also. If they didn’t like it, they could have quietly changed their policy. Apparently someone was okay with him paying after, because they always rung him up after he ate them, not before. As I said above, why didn’t that person speak up?

        Unless they had to go pee or something right then!

  13. JGKojak says:

    The issue is– retireve receipt from trash (as he requested)– OK, in the future, please pay for them first, sorry for inconvenience, end of story.

  14. NinjaMarion says:

    “I bought a doughnut and they gave me a receipt for the doughnut. I don’t need a receipt for a doughnut. I’ll give you the money, you give me the doughnut…end of transaction. We do not need to bring ink and paper into this. I just cannot imagine a scenario where I would have to prove that I bought a doughnut. Some skeptical friend: “Don’t even act like I didn’t get that doughnut…I got the documentation right here! (pause) Oh wait, it’s back home in the file under ‘D’ for doughnut.” ‘Cuz we all know what ‘D’ is.

    ~Mitch Hedberg

  15. whatdoyoucare says:

    My aunt works as a cashier at a grocery store. She says she has people who have eaten bananas and handed her the peel. How is she supposed to charge them for the banana when they hand her the peel?

    • ForrestWhitakersLazyEye says:

      @whatdoyoucare:

      Charge them for a banana? I think that’s what she’s supposed to do…correct me if I’m wrong.

    • johnva says:

      @whatdoyoucare: Depends on how it’s sold. If it’s sold by weight, that might be problematic, I agree, although they could probably come to an agreement by weighing a comparable banana (after all, although that’s a bit stupid, they ARE trying to pay). If it’s sold by “the each”, then there’s no problem.

    • kerry says:

      @whatdoyoucare: Punch in the code and ring it up as 1 banana?

      • RStui says:

        @kerry: Bananas, like most produce, is generally sold by the pound. I would rest my hand on the machine and charge them that. It’s ABOUT the same as a banana’s weight, and if not, consider it an “impatience premium”.

        • Outrun1986 says:

          @RStui: Possibly throw another banana on the scale and charge her for that, even though it wouldn’t be exact. Bananas are pretty much sold by weight everywhere here. Either way you would think they could pay for one banana before eating it if they really wanted to eat it in the store, that’s what I would do. Get the banana, go to the self checkout if there was one, pay and then eat the banana then proceed with the rest of my shopping.

        • Mary says:

          @RStui: Exactly, this is the same as picking grapes out of the bunch and eating them before you pay for it. If it’s sold by weight (and at my store, bananas are) then you’re stealing.

      • DidSomeoneSayCookie? says:

        @kerry:
        Produce is usually sold by weight. Did the banana-eater bring an extra up to the register as a sample-banana to check?

        I would guess that the people who agree with the pro-eat-then-pay routine have never worked in retail. IMHO.

        • johnva says:

          @DidSomeoneSayCookie?: I’m not saying I’m “pro” doing that. I’m saying that violating store policies is not a crime.

        • zlionsfan says:

          @DidSomeoneSayCookie?: FWIW, I did work in retail, albeit decades ago, and I don’t have much of a problem with the eat-then-pay routine, as long as they bring up something to scan that doesn’t have saliva or food remnants all over it.

          If someone did try that with me, I doubt I’d have had a problem with it. I was more concerned about the people who made no effort to pay than those who got the steps for paying in an unusual order. (And I was in college, so by “concerned” I mean “wishing they would do it when someone else was working”.)

        • LibertyReign says:

          @DidSomeoneSayCookie?:

          Just to be clear. I am against eating before paying. It’s disgusting, and uncivilized and its asking for trouble. That being said, I am also against hiring power-hungry ego maniacs as security guards, ESPECIALLY in a fracking grocery store.

          The issue here isn’t eating before paying, it’s how the guard treated a customer even if he really did believe he was stealing. It was a drastic over-reaction, and what the hell was the deal with not letting him fetch his receipt? That’s just being an asshole for asshole sake, because I can tell you personally, I wouldn’t offer to retrieve my receipt from the trash. I would have told him to fuck off and to get out of my way. Then I would go to the nearest competition to get my doughnuts and come back to that store just to eat them in front of the guard. I’m a prick like that though. Sounds like this chick’s dad is a nice guy.

  16. nbs2 says:

    I’ve never been to a store that had a problem with people eating the good while shopping, and even build little cafe areas so that you eat in one place rather than dragging food around the store. Dad was eating in a similar cafe area.

    As for what they can do to apologize? Let Dad rip the manager and rent-a-cop a new one over the P.A. system, at the front of the store, during business hours.

  17. kerry says:

    It’s all well and good that Kroger offered to make the situation better, but after the behavior of the manager and security guard, even with an apology I’d never want to return to the store. Loyalty like this should mean not being treated like a criminal, instead he’s left to squeeze an insincere apology out of management which probably won’t do anything to repair the damage done to his ego and opinion of the store.

  18. key2616 says:

    Many moons ago when I was a Kroger employee working in the bakery/deli, we saw this all the time. If we pulled something out of a case for someone, marked the price on it and handed them the bag, they could eat all of it on their way to the cashiers up front. If they served themselves, they couldn’t eat it. We had a hand-made sign basically stating that at one point, but it was taken down.

    My guess is that these doughnuts were in a self-serve case and that the old policy is still in place. That said, most Kroger employees would make sure to tell a regular to be careful about eating out of the self-serve cases. I know I would have.

    But, yeah, way to make your store look like a bunch of idiots, store manager and Paul Blart wannabe.

  19. 3drage says:

    I’ve never been to a Kroger, so this is only my mileage in the story, but the grocery stores where I live, I’d never think to eat the merchandise before I actually paid for it.

    The situation could have been handled much better by security, but I could see where in this economy people might frown on losing potential earnings because people eat before paying.

  20. geoffhazel says:

    I’d a been on my cellphone calling the cops if they accused me of stealing and wouldn’t let me defend myself.

    “My receipt is right in there. I can show it to you, if you’ll just let me”.

    Those are the times you are glad you use the “customer discount” card for all your purchases, b/c it prints your name on the receipt. After all, what if he just fished any old receipt out of the garbage can?

    • jimconsumer says:

      @geoffhazel: Screw “If you’ll just let me” … I wouldn’t have “gone upstairs” with those idiots to begin with.

      “Sir, I need you to come upstairs with me.” .. “Why?” .. “Just come upstairs with me.” .. “No. Say what you need to say right here, right now, or I’m leaving.” .. “You stole those doughnuts.” .. “Oh Reary, Fool?” – and I’d march right over to the trash can and remove it.

      Why, oh why, do so many people let others run all over them? He’s a stinkin’ store security guard. He can’t touch you. If he does, it’s assault, and in most states you have the full right to defend yourself at that point.

      Unless the guy is an actual cop, with an actual badge and a gun, I’m not going to do a damn thing he tells me. Hell, even if he IS a cop, if he’s being unreasonable (“No you can’t retrieve the proof of your innocence that’s sitting right around the corner”) I’m going to walk away, and if he touches me, I’m going to sue his ass.

      Stand up for yourselves, people. Stop kowtowing to ego tripping idiots. For crying out loud…

      • supercereal says:

        @jimconsumer: I normally wouldn’t have any issues with any of those concepts, but in a case like this where the products were apparently loose (individual donuts on a shelf, bulk candy in a bin, etc.), a recept wouldn’t necessarily prove innocence. Sure the receipt may say “Paid — 1 donut,” but who’s to say he didn’t eat 2…or 5…or 10 before he got to the checkout?

        But to a different point, I can’t stand the “I am a precious snowflake” types when it comes to people “touching” them. Someone tapping your shoulder, brushing against you, etc. isn’t “assault.” There’s standing up for yourself, and then there’s overreacting to something harmless and meaningless. “Ego tripping” goes both ways…

        • jimconsumer says:

          @supercereal: When I used the word “touch”, I didn’t mean brushing/tapping. I intended it to be used in context – as in, “I’m leaving now”, and the rent a cop tries to physically stop me – which isn’t going to happen without some fairly serious touching.

          Perhaps “touching” wasn’t quite the right word. I agree with you that being brushed against, etc, isn’t assault.

          • LibertyReign says:

            @jimconsumer:

            yeah accidentally brushing up against someone isn’t assault. We are talking about someone with a badge and an intent to stop you from leaving.. and when ever a copy puts his hands on you at all it’s assault unless you are under arrest.

            Just to be clear.. if you “tap” me, you have just crossed the line. I’m not going to ignore a person of authority. If you say excuse me sir, that is how you get my attention respectfully. Again..don’t touch me. If I were to ignore you completely, then so be it, you still don’t get to touch me. Am I going to sue for assault? No. Will I loudly and firmly tell you not to touch me again? You betcha. Then immediately refuse to follow your direction or to cooperate with you? Probably.

            We are turning into a society where you can’t do certain shit UNLESS you are wearing a badge. This is a very very very dangerous road to be on. Not only is it dangerous, but in America its particularly disturbing because our society is supposed to be built on holding authority to a HIGHER standard. Authority figures are supposed to be purposefully and specifically restrained and limited in their activities.

        • mythago says:

          @supercereal: Exactly. Eat half a dozen donuts, walk up to the cashier and say “I’d like to pay for those two donuts I just ate.” What? You say somebody saw me eating donuts I didn’t pay for? But here is my receipt!

          • LibertyReign says:

            @mythago:

            Uhh… what?

            If they saw you then obviously the receipt would PROVE you’re a liar, and how would have a receipt to bring with you when you are going to pay? You get one AFTER you pay wherever I shop..

            I think you should be penalized from posting for 15 days based on that nonsense..

        • LibertyReign says:

          @supercereal:

          Uhh… whatever you say dude.. just don’t fucking touch me.. especially if you are wearing a badge of any kind…

          I’m not a snow flake, I’m a man with an invisible barrier of personal space. They teach you about that in kindergarten. Don’t put your hands on me.. end of story..

      • LibertyReign says:

        @jimconsumer:

        Amen brother. This is why more and more cops and guards act like this. Americans have become spineless. The other countries around the world used to make fun of us for having a short fuse and being quick to anger over small injustices that they have to put up with on a daily basis. Now they make fun of us for being fat dumb and lazy.

        This is why I get so angry when other people submit to things.. things like searches and other fascist policies. I don’t care about you so much as I do about me. When you act like a little coward then it becomes acceptable for everyone to be treated like a coward, and it becomes more and more difficult to act like a man with a spine and self-respect.

        Every time you stand up for yourself in today’s society you are “starting trouble” “looking for attention” “wearing a tinfoil hat” or you are with “Al Qaeda”

    • samurailynn says:

      @geoffhazel: It’s probably not likely that someone else bought the exact same items and threw the receipt into the same trash can. If he could tell them before getting the receipt out that “I paid $X for Y” and tell them where the receipt was, it seems that would be pretty good evidence.

      • LibertyReign says:

        @samurailynn:

        The investigation of the incident was not on this jerk’s list of priorities. The opportunity to FINALLY act like a tough guy who’s in charge over someone else..that’s what this was all about.. Not only is he a guard, but he’s a guard at Kroger’s which means he doesn’t often have the chance to “act like a guard” and throw his weight around. Reading this article I get the impression this guard just couldn’t WAIT..to finally get to “throw the book” at the “Donut Burglar”

    • goodywitch says:

      @geoffhazel: That’s the reason I toss the receipt after I leave a store. Every time.

    • Sure I could agree with you, but then we'd BOTH be wrong. says:

      @geoffhazel: @goodywitch: @Saboth:

      That’s the “other” Shrink Ray

  21. Elcheecho says:

    i don’t get why the cop didn’t just let him get the receipt out of the trash. he didn’t want to walk downstairs?

    • LibertyReign says:

      @Elcheecho: He didn’t want to verify if he was a thief. Are you really that sweet and innocent that you don’t know how “cops” think?

  22. VonGeist says:

    Alton Brown of Good Eats fame had the same thing happen to him. The best part is that it happened AT the store he regularly filmed at. To his credit, not once did he pull the “Do you know who I am?” thing. He gave his defense and sat there while they told him never to come back.

    And he never did. Never filmed another show at that store.

  23. Pixelantes Anonymous says:

    He should obviously sue for $21M.

  24. Phil McKinney says:

    Unless you are on fire and the only way to quench the flames is a bottle of Mountain Dew: pay for your groceries before consuming them.

    The way this was handled with Kroger was unfortunate, BUT if this “regular” would purchase the donuts first and kept the receipt until he was done consuming them there would not have been a conflict.

  25. thrashanddestroy says:

    I’ve known and witnessed people who would eat or drink something taken from the shelves with the intention of paying for it later, but I just don’t feel comfortable with it. True, while you aren’t technically stealing, the product isn’t technically yours either…not until you’ve purchased it. It isn’t something I do and, I’ll admit, I feel embarrassed when I’m with someone who does.

    Still, definitely don’t agree with the rent-a-cop. Standard retail security procedure calls for the suspect to pass the last point-of-purchase before a stop can be made. Sounds like he jumped the gun to me.

    • LibertyReign says:

      @thrashanddestroy:

      jumped the gun.. AND verbally chastized a sweet old man.. a sweet PAYING old man at the same time..

      I think smart careful people agree…buy.. THEN eat..

      but shame on this guard.. if I were the guard I would feel compelled to apologize IN PERSON

  26. Outrun1986 says:

    I can’t imagine eating groceries before paying for them regardless. There is always the option to pay before eating, and then eat them right away while you are still in the store or shopping if you were that desperate. Even I have never been so hungry where I wanted to eat something right in the store before paying for it!

  27. Burgandy says:

    This is simple. Once you pay for it, it is yours. Go ahead and eat it. Not paid for means not yours yet. Don’t eat it if it isn’t yours.

    • speedwell (propagandist and secular snarkist) says:

      @Burgandy: If the cop didn’t see him pay for them after he ate them, the cop probably wouldn’t have seen him pay for them before he ate them, either.

      Frankly some guy bringing a bag to the table, eating donuts, throwing the bag away, and walking out of the store without paying, seems to appear ten times more suspicious to me.

    • LibertyReign says:

      @Burgandy:

      Actually it wouldn’t have worked in this case. He paid, so obviously the employees were NOT paying attention. He would have had to exit the store completely before eating for it not to have been an issue. This is normally understandable, however not when you have a dining area in your store.

      There’s no way around it. Kroger needed a big glass of stfu in this case.

  28. bohemian says:

    So they could put forth the effort to humiliate and threaten a customer but they couldn’t be bothered to go look for a receipt or check the security cameras to see if he went up to the checkout?

    They deserve every bit of bad press they get for this.

  29. mikey07840 says:

    At my local supermarket, they have a prepared foods/deli/sandwich shop with a register and seating area to eat. Unfortunately, the register is never open. I have been told by the people behind the counter to eat, save the packages when done and just pay at the front registers in the front of the store. It seems that each market has different policies.

    • LibertyReign says:

      @mikey07840:

      Not really. That’s an excuse for piss poor uncivilized behavior. This was not a matter of policy. This was the guard’s fault and was instigated by the original complaint which itself was over-zealous and hasty to say the least.

  30. waltcoleman says:

    wait…shouldn’t the officer be eating the donuts?

  31. Corporate-Shill says:

    Eating products in a grocery store prior to purchase can be illegal (theft) depending upon state law and and how the product is labeled/sold.

    Example would be bag-yourself bunch of grapes sold by WEIGHT yet those same grapes, packaged by the store with a weight sticker, would be legal to eat and pay later (if allowed by state law).

    Being packaged by the store with a weight sticker does not automatically allow eating in the store.

    State laws can prohibit eating of food stuffs in the grocery store IF the state is especially aggressive in the laws defining a restaurant (which requires food service permits not normally required by a grocery store).

    IF allowed, be courteous. I don’t want to see your scraps and garbage on the floors in the grocery store.

  32. legwork says:

    I don’t know the layout of Krogers but my reading of the letter says the tables and Starbucks inside the store – before checkout – make this situation very easy to repeat. Add a little emplooyee stupidity (if there were indeed “witnesses”) and popo-douchery = 1 retail black-eye.

  33. legwork says:

    I said “employee”, damnit! I’m sure I did. Pretty sure. Oh, look. Firefox objects but but thinks dammit is okay. And then society crumbled…

  34. Chongo says:

    The guy definitely does not deserve to be treated like that, but maybe a future compromise would be to pay for the donuts FIRST and then go ahead and sit down and eat them. Then everyone wins.

  35. RandomHookup says:

    Two words for OP: Paragraph breaks!

  36. Anonymous says:

    In California, what the security guard did was a crime. A felony punishable by 15 years to life in the State Prison.
    Why?

    Because he literally kidnapped your father. He held him against his will upstairs, and had no right to do so.

    In California, you MAY arrest for a misdemeanor as a citizen, but a crime MUST have been committed by the subject being arrested. If a felony, the subject may be arrested if you reasonably believe he committed a felony AND a felony WAS, in fact committed.

    This guard is a citizen, and subject to compliance with those laws of arrest.

    • LibertyReign says:

      @GwynethCabage: It isn’t detention if you stay willingly. I agree with the Dad. I personally think this guard should be fired. Forget an apology. That being said, you are being absurd, and you make it more difficult to defend our position with that douchebaggery.. no offense..

  37. Judge_Smails says:

    The ole man should have said “Here, let me give the doughnuts back to you..” and then stuck his finger down his throat and puked them up all over the rent-a-cop’s face.

  38. edrebber says:

    More than likely the customer got the last doughnut that the security guard had his eye on.

  39. skrolnik says:

    All these comments, and no one’s brought up the fact that the donuts at Kroger are mediocre at best? At least at my local Kroger anyway.

  40. ShadowWylde says:

    when i lived in california i seem to recall it is illegal to eat an item in a grocery without paying for it first.

    there is a law related to the hospitality industry which covers this. you are technically stealing when you open a package and eat the contents before reaching the register to pay for it.

    in a restaurant you have had interaction with an employee who is processing your order prior to payment. there is a control mechanism. in a grocery, you have not interacted with anyone from the establishment.

    something to ponder: there are self serve kiosks for items like olives. i bet people snag a few without paying for them at all. how can they since they are purchased by weight? or what about an apple or a banana? sure you can hand the cashier the apple core or the skin, but again, those items are by weight.

  41. Sean Burdick says:

    This pisses me off. I hate seeing people eating food off the shelves as they shop. If you want to eat, go to a restaurant, or wait until you pay. There is a certain order to things in life. And just because you intend to pay afterwards doesn’t make it ok. If this were the case, there would be more tables, and waiters.. OH WAIT! That’s a restaurant!

    Stop being classless citizens and wait until you cross the register to eat.

  42. DonutLovinDad says:

    Hi, all. I’m Beth, the letter writer and Donut Lover’s daughter. First off, I want to say thank you guys for a) cracking me up and b) considering this matter so thoughtfully. I know there are a million worse situations and causes out there, but for a few days, this was mine. You want to feel like someone’s looking out for the little guy, you know? To clear things up, I want to say my dad doesn’t have a weight problem. :) He just really likes donuts (but not enough to steal them!) He’s also 57 years old, so just old enough to consider walking to the ol’ corner store a considerable workout.

    Also, as far as the receipt being his, the Kroger U-scans at “our” store (ha!) include video monitoring, so with the receipt numbers, security was able to review the tape.

    Now, as to the fundamental questions at stake, were my dad’s actions (eating the donuts before buying them) wrong? I do understand an employee being alarmed at seeing my dad stroll up to the donut case, take a few out, and sit down to eat. I even understand that employee reporting my dad to a store manager. BUT I think things went wrong when the officer didn’t follow my dad to see if he paid for the donuts and when he didn’t allow my dad to retrieve the receipt from the trash. Plus, it was STILL there (among just a few items) when I returned an hour later. If I was a cop, I’d be hightailing it to the trash (with the customer) to follow the “innocent until proven guilty” mantra. Even if I was a crappy cop, I’d be a jerk, tell the dude to leave, and then check the trash out of curiosity.

    All that being said, I know my dad will never feel comfortable going back and innocently enjoying a few fat-laden pastries without a care in the world. I really don’t want to go back either. Aldi, anyone?

    • LibertyReign says:

      @DonutLovinDad:

      Exactly. This is why you were well in your rights to be upset, and why this is ultimately Kroger’s black eye. There’s no way around it. Even if your dad HAD stolen the donuts this guard handled it incorrectly, and refusing to allow him to retrieve the receipt? Well this closes the argument right here. It is a clear expression of the guard’s intent: to be in charge and to not take no for an answer.

      Even if you are a fascist who thinks this type of behavior is acceptable for security personnel, you may be a great cop, but you have failed as a human being.

  43. PLATTWORX says:

    “Every Saturday morning, Beth’s father walks to the neighborhood Kroger, eats some donuts, pays, and walks home.”

    I have to agree. He means well, but is technically eating donuts BEFORE paying for them and it is theft in that order. Why his he not paying first to avoid all of this? Also, when is eating three donuts a good end to a workout? LOL

    • LibertyReign says:

      @PLATTWORX:

      *sigh* I’m getting tired of posting this. If they didn’t see him pay, what difference does it make what order he does it in. Is this like some kind of logic puzzle that only geniuses can figure out? It seems pretty obvious to me.

      This comes down to two things:

      1. putting a dining area AND a U-scan in your store

      2. hiring assholes as guards

      End of story..

  44. Tijil says:

    At my local Fred Meyer (owned by Kroeger) there is a Starbucks near the entrance, with tables for patrons clumped in between the Starbucks and the Fred Meyer Deli. The bakery is just beyond the deli, and that’s where they keep the doughnuts and similar goodies trapped.

    The self-checkout is about a 50-60 foot side trip, not on a direct line to any exit, from the tables, or about 70 feet from the Starbucks counter.

    Since the store DOES have an area to consume drinks and edibles, INSIDE the story BEFORE one closely approaches any register where one can pay for them, they essentially invite this sort of activity.

    The folks at the Starbucks register either can not or will not check out products from the rest of the store, and one passes by the tables on the way to from the bakery to the self checkout.

    Personally I pay first, but I can easily understand the logic of not.

    In any case, the secutity drone was wrong on a number of counts. He had no direct observation of her father shoplifting anything, he did not allow any defense (getting the reciept), and he unlawfully detained her father.

    Were it me, I would probably be on the phone talking to dispatch to get the police there.

    No, let me change that, I would probably not have meekly followed the rent-a-cop to his lair, and if he laid a hand on me I would have dropped him where he stood, THEN called the police.

    Have a nice day,
    Tom

  45. Boulderite says:

    The way I look at it is… If you haven’t paid for it yet, it isn’t “yours” and you don’t eat and or drink it.

    Whenever I am thirsty at the grocery store and I grab a drink, I pay for it before I open it and I hold on to the receipt. This way there is no question about whether or not I paid for my item. And most customer service desks will ring you up with one or two items.

    • LibertyReign says:

      @Boulderite:

      Yeah that’s a really great point. So great, I agree with it and do things that way myself.

      It also has nothing to do with how the situation was handled BY KROGER EMPLOYEES..

      ???

  46. Michael Ortega says:

    Yeah, sorry but I agree he should have paid before he ate. Back in the day at my first job ever I worked at PickNSave and a friend of mine was fired for drinking a coke while in line. Times are a changing and the trusty world of “leave it to beaver” are gone.

    • LibertyReign says:

      @Michael Ortega:

      ..and therefore I think we should verbally abuse any and all people who frequent Kroger’s regardless of whether or not they can provide a receipt..

      Time are changing. The days of treating people with common courtesy and respect are gone.

  47. You hate your job but you're still working there? says:

    This reminds me of something that happened while I was still working on Kroger. A woman grabbed a small bottle of Coke from one of the refrigerators near the checkout line and started drinking from it while she waited for her turn with the cashier. Once she was being run up, however, the cashier scolded her for stealing. The woman was infuriated, and cussed us both out for falsely accusing her of shoplifting. Then she went to pay for her food and her credit card was declined.

    Not only did she leave a cart and a half of food that I had to return to their proper shelves (not a huge deal, this happens frequently), but now we were stuck with half a bottle of coke that was written off as a loss.

  48. Sam Terry says:

    The fact that he paid with the U-Scan gives even less credence to the store’s actions. Obviously there was no weight measurement or anything to verify his purchase, as he was able to pay for the donuts without ever setting the actual product on the scanner. What if he had set down 3 donuts and only paid for 2? There is an implicit trust between the store and the customer here to begin with. Not saying people don’t take advantage of that all the time, but it just makes their overreaction all the more unjustifiable in this situation.

    • LibertyReign says:

      @Sam Terry: Yep.. and don’t forget to throw in the dining area which implies to the customer “Here.. take a load off, enjoy a refreshment..”

  49. erin_w (formerly femme_dork) says:

    For all the people complaining about the man eating donuts as a reward for his walk…it’s once a week. And he’s walking them off. That’s kind of a petty thing to get fixated on. If the OP’s father lives with her, it’s a mile there and a mile back. Give the guy some credit…

  50. physics2010 says:

    Yep..he could have randomly picked a receipt out of the trash showing he paid for the donuts. Yup. Just gotta dive right into this donut receipts only trashcan. Its not like they don’t have 40 cameras in the store, and definitely the Uscan area is under surveillance.

  51. baristabrawl says:

    Holy crap, I shop there. I was just there the other night buying bread. Wow.

  52. ShirtMac says:

    Sue the rent-a-cop like the door guy at that Wal-Mart is doing to the cop that pushed him around.

  53. UnnBabble says:

    I know this is a different situation, but back in the day when I worked at CVS a coworker of mine was fired after picking up a drink in the back of the store and opening it on the way to the front to pay for it. A loss prevention manager saw it happened and the guy was in the office and fired within 20 mins.

  54. Justifan says:

    doesn’t jive, or the dad has no balls. seriously if you had dropped the receipt in the can you’d just grab the stupid security guard by the freakin arm and lead him to the garbage can. if that doesn’t work you demand video footage.

    you freakin force them to prove you didn’t pay for it if you are innocent.

    • LibertyReign says:

      @Justifan:

      I agree that people not standing up for themselves is a problem, and affects us all. Let us not blame the victim though. K?

  55. Christovir says:

    A Kroger manager tried to arrest me in 2003. I used the U-scan and didn’t use their bags, because I avoid wasting bags. I waved to the U-scan overseer while paying to make it clear I was paying, just not using their bags. The manager chased me down in the parking lot, and accused me of theft. After insisting I had paid for the items, he agreed he would take me inside, check their records, and not call the police if there was a record of my purchase (my receipt was already in the car, and I could not find it in the dark.) I waited in a chair inside the Kroger while the manager checked the U-scan records. The records confirmed my story, and, bizarrely, the manager was incredibly angry at me. He told me to leave and never come back. If I had known about Consumerist at the time, I would have written in.

    • LibertyReign says:

      @Christovir:

      Yeah. He was mad because he felt like he may have been acting like an asshole, and the tape proved that assumption to be correct.

  56. boxiom says:

    I do shit like that all the time. Grab a coke out of the fridge in the 20OZ bottles and drink it while im shopping, then pay for it at the end. I remember someone telling me they somehow LOSE money from this.

    I dont see any harm in it.

    • LibertyReign says:

      @boxiom:

      That’s because there isn’t. If you want customers to shop at one end and pay at the other then don’t put food racks and dining areas at the entrance. You can’t feed off of people’s impulses for profit and then chastise it when it doesn’t suit you.

  57. Margaret Powell says:

    I thought everybody knew that you have to pay for something before you eat it in a grocery store? Where is it okay to eat the food in the grocery store first and then pay?

    I can see that it is the poor guys ritual, but maybe he could walk over to pay first and then eat it?

    • LibertyReign says:

      @Margaret Powell:

      It’s not O.K. It’s gross. It also is irrelevant to how the guard reacted.

      Again. Paying BEFORE would have had NO effect. Nobody saw him pay… LOL!

      RTFA!

  58. c_c says:

    So his exercise routine is to walk 2 miles and eat 3 doughnuts? So he burns maybe 200 calories and then eats about 600 calories, for a net loss of -400 calories. Being a Notre Dame alum, he must be following the Charlie Weiss workout plan:
    [3.bp.blogspot.com]

    Seriously though, the least Kroger could do is apologize and buy him some doughnuts.

  59. rickatnight11 says:

    When we were kids my dad would take us to the grocery store and buy the biggest box of ice cream sandwiches. We’d wander the store pounding them down and exploring the cool store there (I mean what kid DOESN’T like the lobster tank!?!) and eventually make our way to the front and pay for an empty box. We got some humorous looks from the cashier but no one seemed upset.

  60. mariospants says:

    I don’t want to get into trouble by blaming the OP’s dad but he’s got to change his buying habits. From now on, pay for your freaking donuts FIRST, dad. Employees can’t monitor the guy 24×7 until they’re assured he paid for his donuts, and they can’t just assume he’s honest (I see these self-entitled blowhards walking around with their grocery cart, stuffing their faces and then dumping the wrapper all the time). It’s totally his fault for behaving in non-conformist manner (a bit of sarcasm intended there) but I can’t deny that the rent-a-cop should have checked with the donut cashier.

    Since he paid for the donuts in cash, it’s not like he’s being inconvenienced by a complicated electronic transaction if he decideds to get another one or a muffin for mom after he’s already paid once before.

    Kroger’s cop went over the top but at least he didn’t press charges.

    • LibertyReign says:

      @mariospants:

      Wow.. RTFA..

      He would need to pay first and then LEAVE before eating.. Paying after wasn’t the problem..so all this moral pontification about whether or not its ok to eat first is completely and totally irrelevant..

      • mariospants says:

        @LibertyReign: I disagree. The employees can’t babysit the guy, they must have thousands of customers and he’s not playing by the rules (this isn’t a sit-down restaurant where you’re stuck inside until you pay up). They can’t monitor him 24×7 so when he comes in, grabs 3 donuts and proceeds to slowly munch them (probably reading a newspaper courtesy of the store) you’re expecting them to watch him until he gets up and leaves. That’s expecting way too much. If he came in, grabbed and paid for his donuts BEFORE he ate them, then security could have moved on instead of wasting his time. What of this do you not understand?

  61. glennski says:

    This situation was mishandled for sure, but most supermarkets don’t want this going on. Sure there’s a dining area, it’s where you go after you pay for your items.

    The guys not a thief, but there are people out there who try and take advantage of situations like this unfortunately. Old sweet lookin people in grocery stores were almost always the worst. Supermarkets don’t want to be operating on an honors system when it comes to checking out.

    • LibertyReign says:

      @glennski:

      LOLOLOL!!! THEN DONT INSTALL A U-SCAN AHAHAHAH!!!!

      and you obviously did not

      R
      T
      F
      A

      Nobody saw him pay..if he went to pay, then came back and ate, he still would have been stopped when he got up and left… holy shit..

  62. wolfw says:

    Ridiculous You pay for things and then use them. Maybe he shouldn’t be banned from the store just given a lesson in manners.

    • LibertyReign says:

      @wolfw:

      ..or been denied the opportunity to provide a receipt, or have been called a thief, or had the manager back up the guard’s bullshit actions..

  63. glennski says:

    oh btw, if you do want some food before paying, go to a safeway grocery store, and ask about the taste of something, whether it’s fresh or not, something like that, they have to offer you a sample of it.

    Stupidest thing, if you get mystery shopped and don’t offer to cut up a 10 pound watermelon for a mystery shopper who asked if the water melons were any good you fail your shop, and incur the wrath of management.

    • LibertyReign says:

      @glennski:

      Considering the obesity of major food chains these days, I find this policy refreshing..not stupid..and it makes me want to find a safeway just to give them some of my money..

  64. Anonymous says:

    How does being a Notre Dame graduate mean one cannot be a thief? Not to mention a “financial planner”. Look how much money has been stolen or otherwise handled dishonestly by those in the financial industry in the past year. Beth’s father probably IS a donut thief. At the very least, her defenses ring extremely hollow.

    • LibertyReign says:

      @ChandlerChryses:

      I think the implication was that a college graduate who advises other people how to manage money can afford some Kroger donuts.. but A+ on nitpicking on the completely irrelevant..

  65. pwillow1 says:

    For some stores the paying-for-the-item still doesn’t mean it belongs to you. I purchased an item at Best Buy once, and after checking out, I asked the cashier where the restroom was.

    He told me and added, “You cannot take merchandise into the restrooms!”

    I reminded him that the stuff in the shopping bag was now my personal property, not store merchandise, and I was going to take it into the bathroom if I wanted to and I invited him to voice his objections.

    He didn’t.

    • LibertyReign says:

      @pwillow1:

      Just another side-affect of giving doormen the impression they have police powers.. and yet another symptom of our cowardly society..

  66. IndyJaws says:

    The first thing that went through my head when I saw the headline was “I wonder if that’s the Kroger near my house.” I am not remotely surprised that it was. This Kroger is the singularly most unfriendly Kroger I’ve ever been to – which says a lot, because, at least in Indianapolis, Kroger stores as a whole are generally unpleasant. Before anyone accuses me of generalizations, I’ve lived in Indianapolis for 40+ years and have been to many, many of their locations.

    The other thing about this particular location is that it is always dirty. This makes no sense, since it is the nearest grocery to one of the wealthier areas of the city.

    Even though it’s the closest grocery to my house, I avoid it like the plague. The only time I go there is to buy loss leader items. If they’re going to treat me like crap in a dirty store, I’m only going to buy things from them that make them lose money.

    To the OP: I realize that it’s convenient, and you have a history with the store, but please, please give them up. They’re not good for you. Shop at Marsh or Meijer on 96th. Meijer typically has lower prices and Marsh is locally-owned (and has incredible customer service). If you have to go to a Kroger, go on up to 116th. Kick this loser of a store to the curb!

  67. Huabtais says:

    Here’s an Idea, PAY FOR YOUR CRAP BEFORE YOU EAT IT! Honestly if he’s been sitting there eating donuts for a while how can he prove that he didn’t eat more than he paid for? Why would you eat them first and then go pay? That’s so stupid.

    • LibertyReign says:

      @Huabtais:

      LOL! Are you an idiot? How does paying firs tprevent you from walking out of the store WITHOUT paying after you are done eating? It’s WORSE..it makes you look like MORE of a thief..stop using your personal opinion on eating a grocery store to justify a guard’s ABUSIVE actions..

  68. Dan25 says:

    This is ridiculous. You should buy the goods before you consume them. Kroger may have over reacted, but that still does not justify what he did. Im sure that the old man had good intentions, but the food is not yours until you pay for it. And the same goes for all the posters that said they do similar things. Just because you do it doesn’t mean its right or okay. And to the jackass who said the rude comments about cops, you are an idiot. You are insulting people that protect our safety. You’re a big man there keyboard warrior. Unless you’re still 15 years old, its not cool to hate cops anymore. They are people just like you and me.

    • LibertyReign says:

      @Dan25:

      Hey..that’s a really great post..and still completely irrelevant.. he was stopped for eating in the store and walking out.. not for paying after eating..

  69. Keliken says:

    This man used the self-checkout right? When I lived in Murfreesboro, TN I shopped at a Kroger and used the self-checkout. I had to weigh everything before paying. How did this guy eat his doughnuts and then pay for them? It has been a few years since I’ve shopped at a Kroger. Do you print a UPC at the doughnut location?

    • Tijil says:

      @Keliken: At mine the bags you put the doughnuts and rolls into in the self-serve area of the bakery have 4 digit product codes that are entered onto the self checkout touch screen.

      After you enter the four digit code it then asks you how many and you enter that number.

      If you have a bakery person bag your items (they cannot accept payment), they put a label with a scanable code on the bag. Those labels are simply scanned at the self-checkout.

      Normally at that point it will instruct you to place your item into the plastic bag, but you can tell it to skip that and then pay via card or cash.

      ====

      One suggestion for the stores to help eliminate this exact problem of customers eating before paying:

      Put the tables for consuming food and drink OUTSIDE the registers and self-checkout instead of 70 feet INSIDE as they are at my local store… Duh!

      Tom

      • LibertyReign says:

        @Tijil:

        They want you to come in and sit down and eat.. it encourages impulse buying..this is about the guard..not the policy, or the sequence of payment..

  70. flyromeo3 says:

    its not shop lifting if you dont exit the store geniuses. Secondly, dont they have video cameras in place to back up their claim of theft?

    I frequently visit indianapolis and people out there do things differently than in NY. So eating your donut and paying for it shouldnt be a problem.

  71. Anonymous says:

    I have shopped at this store – There is a cafe type area with tables literally 15 ft from where the donuts are, and in general most of the items you might consume at this area are in the same area as the donuts.

    Maybe a sign clarifying what you can eat in this area and can not should be posted?

    Also, Marion county indiana, where this store is located, has an interesting system. Most rent-a-cops actually have police powers. They have a program that allows you to obtain the status of Special Deputy Sheriff. These individuals have been granted limited police powers to adequately perform police duties for private employers. The employer just has to pay a fee, and have insurance.

  72. btdown says:

    Your dad is a crook. Eating the donuts before paying for them is crazy. Oh wait…your dad is special…not like everyone else and can just go around doing what he wants. Then he cries like a victim when someone calls him on it. Your old man (and YOU apparently for defending him) need to get with the program.

    • LibertyReign says:

      @btdown:

      crook –
      [krook]

      a dishonest person, esp. a sharper, swindler, or thief

      Let’s review.. he was honest about his purchase, he paid for it, you can’t steal something without leaving before paying for it..

      hmm

      You also obviously didn’t read the post. He paid, and no one saw it..so paying first, would have been irrelevant..

      therefore..

      your post – see slander

      slanâ‹…der
        /ˈslændər/
      -noun
      1. defamation; calumny
      2. a malicious, false, and defamatory statement or report
      and..

      btdown -

      -adjective
      1. lacking in knowledge or training; unlearned
      2. lacking knowledge or information as to a particular subject or fact.
      3. uninformed; unaware.
      4. due to or showing lack of knowledge or training

      Now, the next time you think you want to verbally attack a senior citizen and his daughter..just save us all the typing and STFU..

  73. Tonguetied says:

    Maybe the gentleman pays for the doughnuts after eating them because the U-scan is toward the front of the store and the doughnuts and the tables are toward the back. He picks up the doughnuts, eats them at the nearby table and then pays on his way out the store….

    • LibertyReign says:

      @Tonguetied:

      Applying logic to a problem is hardly a solution..

      You’re probably a donut burglar just like this crooked old man..

      /sarcasm