Don't Eat Jellybeans At Albertson's Or You Will Be Arrested

A Florida man was arrested and charged with petty theft after eating $2 worth of jellybeans at a local Albertson’s. The man was caught by surveillance cameras reaching into a bin and putting “an unspecified number of jelly beans in his mouth.”

The deputy told a manager that the suspect had taken about 10 of the “raspberry-flavored” candies. The man denied taking more than two. He added that he’d been shopping at Albertson’s for 30 years and that he was just trying the candy to see if he wanted to buy it. The deputy “advised him that Albertson’s did not have free samples of candy and he should have known that if he had been shopping at Albertson’s for 30 years.”

The man didn’t buy any of the candy.

The store manager on duty told the deputy that he wanted charges brought against the suspect, who was also issued a trespass warning.

Another horrid criminal removed from our streets. Just because candy is in a bin doesn’t make it free. Unless it’s a Buttered Popcorn jellybean – we would kill for those.

Man arrested for eating jelly beans in store [Northwest Florida Daily News]
(Photo: SMN)


Edit Your Comment

  1. Televiper says:

    Petty prosecution of petty theft.

  2. spryte says:

    Okay, everyone knows you’re not supposed to “graze” from the bulk bins…but arresting the guy seems just a wee bit of an overreaction. I would think a warning from the store manager would probably be enough to thwart such a criminal as this…

    IMHO, the buttered popcorn jellybean has to be the worst idea man has ever concocted. I throw up in my mouth a little just remembering my one and only encounter with them…*shudder*

  3. mgyqmb says:

    Sometimes I wonder about the people who crack open a soda in the grocery store, drinking while they shop, then go pay for the empty bottle. My mom used to do that to keep me quiet, but it seems so criminal now that I read stories like this.

    I understand in this situation that the guy didn’t buy any…but still.

  4. Zombietime says:

    I bet the store has put up with grazers for quite a while. If everyone takes 10 jelly beans pretty soon it cuts into their bottom line. I never take stuff from the bulk bins because it’s stealing – just the same as opening a box of cookies and helping your self. It’s really lame petty stealing but the store has a right to protect itself.

  5. catnapped says:

    Wegmans will prosecute if they catch you eating from their bins (there’s signs all over that section plus they have surveillance cameras around)

  6. Lin-Z [linguist on duty] says:

    Couldn’t they have just let him pay for the jelly beans that he ate instead of starting the expensive court-going process?

    also: yes on buttered popcorn jelly beans.

  7. FishingCrue says:

    Eating from bulk candy bins would seem to me to be its own form of punishment. I mean I could understand if the candy was individually wrapped but jelly beans aren’t. God knows who else was sticking their hands in there.

  8. darkclawsofchaos says:

    small claims court is not very costly, but can be time consuming

  9. louisb3 says:

    The hilarious thing about this is that the store almost certainly lost an extremely loyal (thirty-year) customer over a few pennies of jelly beans.

  10. overbysara says:

    yeah… did they ever hear that saying about picking your battles? I mean really…

  11. swalve says:

    @louisb3: It’s their choice.
    @overbysara: Their bettle to choose.

    At Dominick’s in Chicago, (formerly owned by Safeway) they had a coin bin. Drop in a quarter and you get some quantity of bulk candy.

  12. Buran says:

    Oh, come on. There’s a time and a place to do this, and that wasn’t it. They could have asked him to pay a dollar and asked him to not do that again. This isn’t how you get loyalty.

  13. Ickypoopy says:

    It doesn’t matter how many jellybeans he took. Whether he took two, ten, or an entire scoopful. He took the candies and had no intention of paying for them. He adimitted it. He committed theft.

    However, this is would appear to be poor customer service. I do agree that having him arrested does seem a bit excessive, unless there had been prior issues with this person (Which there was no evidence of in the article).

  14. Rando says:

    @louisb3: pennies? these were probably jellybellies….$10 a lb LOL

  15. Obtusegoose says:

    That whole “I’ve been a shopper for 30 years” sounds pretty lame coming from a 34 year old; and stealing from candy bins is tacky and unsanitary. I think 5 or 10 years behind bars should curb his taste for jelly beans ;o) But seriously, they should have given him a warning or asked him to pay for the candy.

  16. cosby says:


    One of the big chains around me(can’t remember which one) use to have drink holders on the shopping carts that coke installed as a promotion. The idea was that people couldenjoy a soda and just pay for it with the rest of what they were buying.

    As far as this story goes one has to wonder about the officer that bothered to stop the guy. As far as the manager pressing charges it does sound like a good way to get some bad press. Yes what the guy did was wrong. If they had confronted me about it I would have offered to pay for the candy. Then I would go ahead and return everything elce I bought that day.

  17. kingoman says:

    I’m all for it — set the example. But I’ve become a hardass over the years with people like this. If we don’t come down on them, we cultivate a whole new generation that seems to think the behavior is acceptable.

    I can’t buy out of bulk bins anymore. Ten years ago I saw a man just standing by one repeatedly eating almonds out of it like he was at home eating out of a bowl. Hand in mouth, back in bin, back in mouth. Ick. I want to buy bulk, no packaging, efficient, etc., but now I can’t since I don’t know whose hands have been in there.

  18. legotech says:

    When I was a grocery cashier, I never had a problem with the opened bottles of soda, it was the howler monkey parents that would toss up a banana PEEL, or an apple CORE and tell me to charge them. ???????

    Umm, its by weight, you’ve already fed your monster the fruit…exactly how am I supposed to charge you for this?

    Figure if everyone who walked through the produce department took just one strawberry or just one grape…its theft. Ask, the produce guys, they’ll be happy to help you out.


  19. cde says:

    @darkclawsofchaos: Small Claims involves neither arrest nor prosecution. Small Claims is civil court. The store is having the city/state prosecute them in criminal court. I just want them see them prove he took 10 and not 2 jellybeans.

  20. cde says:

    If you read the linked follow-up [], the deputy was off duty AND was the one who accused him of eating 10 jelly beans. What I want to know is if they arrested him before or after leaving the store (Or the last point of payment as is normally needed for shoplifting)

  21. zolielo says:

    No affect on the population of general customers with disproportional affect to an individual. Never the most cost effective move.

    Now if the store put the head’s of shoplifting grazers on pikes…

  22. 12monkeys says:

    He should have denied taking them and made the “deputy” wait around with a sand pail to collect the proof.

  23. JohnnyE says:

    I can’t stand people who put their grubby hands into bulk bins. The last time I went to Whole Foods, an elderly couple went straight for the candies in the bulk aisle, each grabbing out a “sample” and walking away from the aisle entirely (they obviously were not even bulk goods shoppers at all.) All I could think of was the line from Oscar Wilde, “These days old age is no longer a guaranty of respectability.” (Well, I though of that line and fantasized that such people with no impulse control and a complete inability to follow basic rules should be horse-whipped in the public square like the olde dayes.)

    At any rate, petty theft seems an inappropriate charge. Instead, a more apt charge should be some sort of threatening public health related charge — the punishment for which should be:
    1) Being forced to buy/pay for the entire bin of foodstuffs contaminated.
    2) Paying a fee to the merchant to clean/sterilize the contaminated bin.
    3) Paying a non-trivial fine, like a few hundred dollars (or the equivalent of something dangerous to the public, like speeding in a school zone.)

    Stores would probably make a mint “selling” bins of goods at a time to an endless supply of idiots who lack the discipline to tell themselves “No!” when presented with the slightest promise of pleasure.

  24. cryrevolution says:

    Having him pay for them & getting a scolding from the gen manager would have been sufficient. Arrest? Heh, that’s a bit much. Actually, more than a bit. That’s downright ridiculous. Why cause a scene & lose a customer over a few jelly beans? And I agree @JohnnyE: with #2, they definitely need to sterilize the bin now.

  25. catskyfire says:

    Bad PR, yes. But stealing – shoplifting, is a crime. If I took a butterfinger and ate it with no intention of paying for it to ‘see if I liked it’, that’s a crime.

    If you want to try something, you buy a few of them, then if you enjoy them, you buy more later. Or you make sure that when you go through checkout, you pay for it. (It may be by weight, but round it up because you should.)

  26. @JohnnyE: Quite so. This is pragmatic and addresses the main concern.

  27. Boberto says:

    These charges will be set aside from the DA/Prosecuter. The defendant will likely have to pay an attorney. Some will find justice in that, particularly the defendant’s attorney.

    Owning up to the transgression and apologizing is what would have stopped this whole thing from escalating.

  28. I’m put off by people helping themselves to food while they shop at a grocery store: drinking from a can of pop, opening a box of cookies, unwrapping a muffin they are about to pay.

    Pay first, eat afterwards: it’s a GROCERY STORE not a BUFFET.

  29. wring says:

    everybody loves raymond had an episode about this.

  30. wring says:

    @seawallrunner: lol i agree. some people just have no sense of shame. then again being humiliated in the store by being called on this ‘petty theft’ is punishment enough IMO.

  31. parad0x360 says:

    The candy in the store isnt free and unless they say to take a sample and try before you buy it is theft no matter how silly it may seem.

    If i owned a candy store and sold it via bins by the pound you could bet your last dollar I wouldnt want people sampling for free. Consider that 1/10 people take just a couple piece…in a day the bin could be empty and you would have made no money from it all. Little things add up.

  32. dazette says:

    Bulk bins that are directly open to the public are nasty. Even if they have scoops, people’s hands and sleeves are still reaching inside. How sanitary can they be? How long has the stuff inside been there and refilled/mixed? I don’t even buy my dog’s treats from bulk bins.

  33. CMU_Bueller says:

    @legotech: I always just charged them for a pound of the item.

  34. othium says:

    I have read a few stories like this lately. My personal policy is to ask the employee if I could pay for a small sample, if not – I don’t take any.

    Most of the time I avoid those areas because of the germs. Too many unwashed fingers groping the stuff.

    Don’t think I have ever been to the grocery store without witnessing someone taking a handfull of candy/nuts/etc. from the bins without paying. I’d like to see this stopped. It’s gross.

  35. PracticalMagic says:

    I Agree that there should be some hand slapping here. But geez, talk about clogging up the court system with nonsensicle bull****. Judge Judy would have a field day with Alberston’s.

  36. @PracticalMagic: I don’t think she would. She’s fairly hardline about not allowing excuses, or “Oh, it was just this one thing.” She would probably slap down the offender for being a tool and say, “So, what? They’re supposed to turn the other cheek EVERY TIME someone compromises the hygenic integrity of these bins? I don’t THINK SO.”

  37. TedOnion says:

    Years ago before they all became bag n saves, I recall the bulk candy bins at Albertson’s had a small coin box attached to them so you could pay a dime for your snack or sample. That might be a better solution than having people arrested if they no longer have it.

  38. KJones says:

    Why would a store have an open-top bin in this day and age?

    First, for reasons of hygiene, people can and do stick their hands into the bins. Ask yourself, have you ever seen people wash their hands as a fast food restaurant before they eat? They don’t despite the fact that washrooms are available. Supermarkets don’t have washrooms, and their customers touch the same things as restaurant customers do. Yuck and double-yuck!

    Second, what is wrong with pull-drawer or spring loaded latches that drop the product? You stick a bag under an opening, pull a lever, and the product falls into the bag. It’s a hell of a lot cleaner, and harder to steal from. The supermarkets I’ve been to are forgiving if I say to a clerk, “I put too much in the bag…”; they usually take out the excess, provided the customer has’t stuck a hand in the bag.

  39. Jigen says:

    Old people love to steal grapes. I see them taking handfuls all the time. The best are the ones that make a few trips.

  40. MyCokesBiggerThanYours says:

    Um, yeah, the guy stole. He should be charged. What’s wrong with you people?

  41. SOhp101 says:

    First, if you’re gonna eat something from those candy bins, you put them in a bag, walk around the store and eat them as you go. Nearly every store has some type of surveillance around the bins.

    Second, he’s a scapegoat. What he did was wrong, but he was an idiot for admitting it.

    I never sample produce because that usually means eating dirty fruit, and it’s easy to smell, see and touch to see what fruits are good choices.

    @spiderjerusalem, PracticalMagic: She would criticize both the person and the store manager.

  42. MyCokesBiggerThanYours says:

    @Jigen: Grapes are slightly different. The taste fluctuates with harvests. Its reasonable to taste one to make sure the bunch is sour or something.

  43. DanGarion says:

    You steal you get in trouble. It’s as simple as that. If you don’t have to be prosecuted up to laws fullest extent, don’t steal. That’s pretty simple.

  44. marsneedsrabbits says:

    I think that prosecuting him was a bit over the line, but I really don’t think the store was wrong, per se. Maybe kicking him out and telling him not to come back would have been a better option.
    I just have very little sympathy for someone who plunged their grubby mitts in the jelly bean bin, fished some out & started munching. They have bags & scoops, neither of which it sounds like he used.
    Instead, he seems okay with exposing everyone to whatever he had on his hands at the moment.
    So I’m okay with him being prosecuted. He didn’t show concern for his fellow man, why should I care for him?

  45. XTC46 says:

    @MyCokesBiggerThanYours: No, it is reasonable to ask if you may sample one (some of the Safeways around here have guys in the produce section cutting up melon or citrus fruits to give as samples) But to just take some and eat them is theft.

    I think those bins are gross and don’t eat from them, but if they are a cause of loss for the store it means other prices will go up. So good for the guy, he deserved it.

  46. Thaddeus says:

    On the subject of drinks in stores, if they don’ want you having a soda, why do some of the newer shopping carts have drink holders built in?

  47. lizzybee says:

    @Thaddeus: Around here, it’s for your Frappucino that you buy at the store Starbucks stand.

  48. legotech says:

    @Thaddeus: Starbucks. When I worked that that grocery store, we got an in store Starbucks and then shortly after got those carts with the cup holders. They made LOTS of money offa that kiosk. (Oh, and the “baristas” at the Starbucks stores inside of the grocery stores? Just baggers and cashiers who are asigned over there)

  49. EtherealStrife says:

    This is petty theft. Plain and simple. It really isn’t up for debate, since the guy admitted to the theft.

    Personally I would’ve offered the options of: a stomach pump on the thief’s dime, payment for stolen items (rounded up to the nearest lb), or cuffs.

  50. BigNutty says:

    Stories like these always get the most responses.

    #1. You would be crazy to buy anything from an open bin these days.

    #2. Maybe this guy is someone they have not wanted in the store for a variety of reasons and this was their opportunity to serve him with a no trespassing citation.

    #3. There is obviously something else here we don’t know about.

  51. csdiego says:

    I have no sympathy at all for this guy. Snacking out of the bulk bins isn’t just petty theft, it’s a filthy unsanitary habit. That said, I don’t know if the bulk bins had big signs on them saying samplers will be arrested. That, to me, would be the first step.

    The only way I’d sample the buttered popcorn jellybeans is if they paid me. A lot.

  52. Jean Naimard says:

    The most disgusting are the bulk olive containers. They are always full of pits…

  53. ShadowFalls says:

    For all those that mention:

    “Pay before you eat. “

    Apparently you haven’t known any diabetics then. They do not have the luxury of waiting in line for minutes on end while their body is going into insulin shock.

    When it comes to these food containers. I suppose it depends on location. At my local Albertson’s the jelly beans come out of dispensers, it would be more difficult then to operate a switch, it also keeps hands out of it. How many have tastes grapes before? People who buy fresh fruit can understand that the taste of grapes can only be determined by eating one.

    Whether he ate two or ten, does not matter. The Albertson’s manager overreacted illogically and earned the company bad press. Corporate isn’t going to like the bad press associated with this. The man wasn’t shoplifting is he had not left the store yet. You can not steal something from a store if it doesn’t leave the store. If he didn’t leave the store, the jellybeans in his stomach did not leave either.

    That right there is a successful arguing point for a lawsuit for false arrest and imprisonment, since he had yet to commit the crime before they arrested him. Sure it is a technicality but still rains true.

    There was no need for such a big issue here, at most make him pay a dollar and tell him not to do it again.

    You think this guy knowingly went into Albertson’s to go and steal some jellybeans? It wasn’t like his goal was to rip off Albertson’s just wanted to try some out to see if they are any good, doesn’t sound too crazy. Some don’t think about these things because stores like Albertson’s provide free samples often, they figure something so simple is ok.

    This is just another story of an idiot manager and a power tripping police officer.

  54. Parting says:

    @ShadowFalls: Don’t agree.

    If you’re diabetic, take couple, then just ask the sales rep to weight approximately how much you took and pay for that quantity. That’s fair and honest.

    A thief is a thief whenever he steals a little or a lot.
    He should be fined and be obligated to pay for the whole bin (since he put his dirty fingers in).

    And I’m sure if the guy offered to pay nicely, they would let him go with a warning.

    The store owes nothing to a thief.

    An HONEST person would ASK “Could I get a sample, please?” That’s COMMON courtesy.

  55. Parting says:

    He doesn’t need to go to prison and waste taxpayers money, but a 200$ fine and mandatory “How not being a PIG” should be the punishment in these cases.

  56. cde says:

    @chouchou: Read the follow up. He only got arrested because he argued over the amount he took.

  57. ArtDonovansLoveChild. says:

    When I was in HS, and the summer before college, I worked Bulk Foods for Giant (a Mid-Atlantic chain.) The number of people who used thier hands to take samples, or even put things in the bags, keep my from ever buying bulk food again. People would even do so from the coffee bean dispensers. Thankfully Giant basically eliminated the department.

  58. ShadowFalls says:

    Sounds pretty honest to me.


    You didn’t read everything I mentioned or everything everyone else mentioned either. I wasn’t just mentioning “jellybeans” but more along the line of things such as candy bars.

    Sure you are near the register, but the time needed to wait in line, pull out cash or credit before you can eat it would be ridiculous. Definitely since you need sugar soon and your body still needs to do some digesting.

    Also, there is no mention in the article about whether these are open air bins which are nasty and should be a health code violation, and dispensers which I have seen at local Albertson’s stores.

    Also a thief is a theif when he steals, if he didn’t remove the merchandise from their property, he didn’t steal it yet. They were already accusing him of shoplifting before he left the store.

    If I walk near the door with an item in my hand, am I shoplifting? Sure, in his case it is a technicality, but that means the difference between him getting convicted and being let free.

    There is no knowing what exactly went on, or if he even willingly offered to pay up for it or not. Why didn’t the store give an option rather than go after a loyal customer for a few jellybeans? The whole situation just sounds too stupid to have ever become an issue.

  59. ThePopoversAreDone says:

    I think he should be executed or
    at least life without parole.

    This kind of thing needs to be stopped!

  60. theneilcave says:

    I don’t really find the diabetic argument all that compelling… Having diabetes is that person’s responsibility, not the store’s, and he should plan ahead for those situations. Carry a small baggy with some snack in it if you need to worry about maintaining your blood sugar. That said, there are obviously exceptions and I would imagine it’s better than a diabetic person dying.

  61. Parting says:

    @ShadowFalls: Actually I read, that’s why I said that a diabetic can grab some candy bar, etc and eat it, then just weight or grab a similar candy bar and pay the amount that was owned. That’s called honesty.

    Same thing applies to people with kids : it’s ok to grab and give your kid a juice before paying at the cash, as long as you pay in the end at the checkout.

    And a loyal customer knows store’s policies. If the guy said that he was a customer for 30 years and didn’t know there was No sampling? In this case, either the “customer” is lying or he STOLE A LOT of candy in 30 years ;) I don’t know what’s worse. In both cases store lost money.

    And to get arrested : the guy had to be SUPER abusive, after he got caught. And probably profane and aggressive. I have trouble believing that a deputy on a day OFF wants to arrest a shoplifter and waste his free day.

    We don’t have the whole story, at least yet.

  62. ShariC says:

    The bulk bins need to have some modified technology applied to them to prevent both this kind of (very small) theft and the problem with people’s dirty hands in the bins. It should be possible to design a bin which allows you to put a bag under a nozzle and release a desired weight of food or candy into the bag. Something like this for coffee has been around for years. A really savvy machine could even spit out a label with a code for scanning at check out that had the price information embedded. Problem solved all around but it’d take an investment on the part of the stores or those who produce the bulk items (if they are in charge of supplying the bins).

    If the machines were savvy enough, they could even be designed to release a sample candy (just one) with the press of a button.

  63. RvLeshrac says:


    Everyone is a “thirty-year” customer when they’re trying to do something that doesn’t fly.

    I work at a business that has only existed since the late 1980’s, and you’d be surprised at the number of people who say they’ve been shopping with us for 25+ years.

    We also have records of every transaction ever made under a name/credit card, and frequently have people saying that they’re “good customers” when the system actually shows that they return items on a near-1:1 ratio.

  64. RvLeshrac says:


    If you’re a diabetic, don’t you take your medicine with you?


    That’s why grocery stores have very liberal return policies. You don’t like something, you return it.

    If every one of 1,000 customers eats a single grape, that’s a *huge* amount of money down the drain – and if you’re “testing” bunches of grapes, you’re probably taking more than one.

  65. marsneedsrabbits says:

    Re: Diabetes:
    Every pharmacy department in the world probably sells glucose tablets. The ones I have are orange flavored & are in a little packet that fits in my purse. They’d easily fit in a man’s pants or jacket pocket, too. They are what diabetics should carry to prevent going into shock.
    However: If I somehow didn’t have them, I would eat the candy or drink the juice & then pay for it. It has happened & I had no problem paying for the item afterwards.
    Diabetes is not an excuse to steal nor is it an excuse to dirty the bin with grubby hands or get snarky when asked to pay for the item.

  66. SwampAssJ says:

    About once a week we get a guy like this who will bite a candy bar then not want to pay for it because he dosn’t like it or they claim their soda is flat after drinking half of it while walking around. If he’s been shopping there for 30 years he should know better then to sample something. You wouldn’t pop open a bag of cereal to see if it tastes good then buy it.

  67. Secularsage says:

    I’m actually surprised at the lack of people insisting that Albertson’s is out to get the consumer on this thread. Where’s the outrage? Where are the people making long-winded argumnents with half-understood ideas about the law to try to defend this unfortunate soul?

    I’m glad not to see any. A thief’s a thief. The store probably should have quietly had him pay for the items and leave, but chances are good he was a repeat offender and they were waiting to nail him. The whole “sampling” excuse is ridiculous, since Jelly Belly makes sample packs you can buy.

  68. iamlost26 says:

    10 jelly beans for 2 dollars? Are you kidding me? I was at Vons today and bought about 25 jelly beans for 37 cents. And I think the unit price was more than $6.99/pound.

    Obviously this store is just trying to make an example of other “samplers”. The only question is whether or not the punishment fit the crime.

    But hey, I’ve seen a McDonalds call security on someone using a water cup to get Sprite.

  69. dantsea says:

    Oh, Florida.

  70. samurailynn says:

    @legotech: My mom told me that when I was little she used to give me a tomato (yes, I know I was a strange kid) to eat while we went through the store. However, she would grab two tomatoes of the same size and ask the cashier to charge her for the one I hadn’t eaten. I guess at least she realized that the leftovers didn’t weigh as much as the original.

    @ShadowFalls: All of the diabetics that I have known tended to keep some small food item with them just in case their blood sugar got low, they didn’t run to the grocery store every time, knowing that they would have to wait in line.

    Also, maybe this guy should start shopping at Safeway. From what I hear (and from what I’ve experienced) if you ask, they will open just about anything in the store for you to sample. I’ve even heard of people getting a small sample of certain meats to take home and cook to see if they like it before buying a whole meal’s worth.

  71. loueloui says:

    Don’t eat anything at Alberton’s or you will be headed for severe gastrointestinal distress.

  72. doctor_cos wants you to remain calm says:

    I wouldn’t eat packaged food from Albertsons, let alone bulk food. That is a nasty place.

  73. alexanderpink says:

    I’m not surprised he was arrested…a few yeas ago I was shopping in an HEB store…I was pretty broke at the time (still in college) and HEB had a store policy called “freshness guarantee” which stated that if you found an expired item on the shelf, you would receive a non-expired item of the same kind for free. My friend told of the policy (he was a checker there), saying people always take advantage of it. So my friend and I were shopping at HEB, and looking through the items on the shelf for any expired items, and the manager came over and said he knew what we were doing and that we needed to leave or he would call the cops. Well, we said we weren’t making a mess of things (he claimed we were and we weren’t) and that we were just shopping and following HEB policy. He left without further comment, and about 10 minutes later a police officer showed up. He told us we needed to leave, and when we asked him if we could explain, he arrested us and took us to jail. Were were charged with criminal trespassing…the 2nd officer to arrive said he would clearly not have taken us in on such a stupid occasion, but the 1st arriving officer apparently gets the right to exercise professional discretion or not. This resulted in 24 hours in jail, and eventual probation for 6 months, 40 hours of community service, and a fine of about $500…all of this was on the advice of my court appointed attorney to take deferred adjudication so I would not have a conviction on my record. I wish instead I would have publicized this event and gone to civil court as well as fighting this in criminal court, but I was in college, poor, and pretty busy and wanted to be done with it. Suffice to say, it is not surprising that stupid managers overreact…if I can be arrested for following store policy, I am not at all surprised someone can get arrested for petty theft. The manager in this case obviously overreacted, the store should have just asked him to pay for it and told him it was stealing.

  74. Red_Eye says:

    WTF Is with this society nowadays, oh I’ll just download this song here while I read my illegally produced ebook copy of Harry Potter and eat a few stolen jellybeans.

    I understand that its under $2 worth of jelly beans but when every item in the store goes up a penny then those of you who said they jumped the gun prosecuting better not bitch.

  75. spadefoot says:

    I’m not defending the guy who ate the jellybeans, eating something you don’t pay for is stealing. While it’s the normal pattern to pay for items before you use them at the grovery store, that’s not true everywhere. At a resturant, one routinely eats items THEN pasys for them. Admittedly, it’s not the norm for other types of stores, but it’s not like it’s unprecedented or anything.

    On the other hand: I have an 18-month old daughter. Frequently, when we go grocery shopping, we will grab a small box of graham crackers or something similar for her to munch on while we shop. We always pay for them when we check out (since we have the container, it’s easy for the clerk to ring it up. This past weekend, my wife was shopping without me and grabbed a container of anumal crackers to feed my daughter while she shopped. A short while later, my wife noticed a strange man follwing her through the store. She eventually went to the assistant manager of the stra and asked if the person following her was the store’s Loss Prevention (LP) person, which the manager confirmed. Assumedly, the LP guy had seen her open the container and figured she was going to fed my daughter some and then drop the box off somewhere, unpaid for. All told, he tailed her for around 20 minutes. I find it had to believe, in the sizable store, than nothing more valuable than a box of animal crackers (whice she was going to pay for anyway) was stolen.

    So the store: A) probably lost something more valuable in that time period and B) creeped out my wife, as she thought she might have a serial killer following her.

  76. Spencer says:

    I don’t buy from bulk bins because of one old man some years ago I saw sneeze into his hands (it sounded like a pretty goopy sneeze too) and then just reach in and grab some fresh rolls from a bulk bin.

    That said, that this guy got busted for a few jellybeans is ridiculous. It’ll get tossed for sure, but what a stupid-ass strain on our ALREADY strained legal system.

  77. jrdnjstn78 says:

    @alexanderpink: Wow. I can’t believe they did that to you but then again you have to blame the manager and I bet he over-exaggerated about what went on. I work at HEB and have been there 16 yrs.

    I think it was a bit harsh that they arrest this guy but then again I bet they wouldn’t have if he didn’t lie about shopping there for the past 30 yrs. when he is only in his 30’s. If Albertons had done nothing I guarantee this guy would’ve been eating those jellybeans again. They should have told him to pay and banned him from that store.

    When I’m at work I see all kinds of nut shells, apple cores, banana peels, peach pits, etc. on the shelves. We have a cold and hot deli and I find fried food bags on the shelf without the food in it. I find empty soda cans, beer bottles, frappichino (sp) bottles, etc lying around. Women open tampon boxes and take out a couple or they open up a thing of pads to feel how soft it is. All that has to go to shrink. Yes we can tape it up but how many of you want to buy a thing of pads that has been taped up?

    We lose so much money on people just taking “a little sample”. Why do you think prices go up? People don’t realize that we lose alone in the grocery dept. around 2 truckloads of product every 3 months. That’s alot of stuff.

    If you figure 20 people take $1.00 worth of produce to sample every hour for 10 hrs. a day, that’s 200$ a day. It would increase on the weekends because more people shop. Anyways $200 by 7 would be $1400 a week. Yeah it seems petty but yeah it adds up.

  78. “We just want the charges dropped. We don’t want that on his record,” Sue said.

    If you don’t want a record of being a thief then don’t steal.

    The man told his grandparents that the deputy was going to let him go with a warning until he defended himself after the deputy accused him of eating more than two jellybeans.


  79. ShadowFalls says:


    Last time I checked, diabetics are not perfect people and still forget things. Not everyone remembers at all times to bring candy with them or their little tablets.

    It is more of an issue for guys since women tend to carry a large storage facility also known as their purse along with them. Whereas guys empty their pockets, those purses don’t get emptied all so often.

    Also, last time I checked, I didn’t mention at any time it was ok to steal things just because you are a diabetic. You still pay for it, But what if you were eating the candy and were accused of stealing right there before you even left the store?
    That is what they did to this guy, accused him of stealing before he even left the store.


    Apparently you are unfamiliar with what a diabetic is.

    When it comes to grape testing, it is the only way to really know how the grapes taste. Other fruits you can tell from various other means. Also, many stores will not allow for you to return anything from a produce section, more particularly, pretty much anything you weighed.

  80. ihateauditions says:

    I’m shocked at the number of people who are defending this arrest.

    The arrest will cost taxpayers somewhere on the order of $1,000+ to prosecute. It will cost Albertson’s a minimum of several hundred dollars.

    It’s bad business sense to prosecute such “theft”. It’s bad public policy to allow prosecution of such “theft”.

    @CATNAPPED: You must have a very different Wegman’s than I do. Mine not only has no signs saying no sampling, I’ve had an employee at the olive bar actively suggest I try one when I had a question about one of the olive types.

    In fact, your experience is so different than mine (and so different than the general Wegman’s experience) that I tend to think you’re lying.


    That said, I just want to re-iterate that I am shocked at the number of short-sigted vindictive idiots who support thousands of their tax dollars being spent on the prosecution of a jelly bean thief. Even if you think he was wrong, that is freaking insane. It’s like you hate money.

  81. @ShadowFalls: No one has suggested that diabetics shouldn’t eat something if they’ve forgotten to take something with them. A diabetic could show the store employee their medical badge and explain they needed to eat something and are going to pay for it.

    From the article:

    The deputy, who was working an off-duty detail, confronted the suspect after he had paid for the rest of his groceries and asked him if the candy was good.

    He was confronted after he went through the check out. The guy had no intention of paying for what he ate.

  82. It’s bad business sense to prosecute such “theft”.
    @ihateauditions: Even if it stops people from stealing in your store?

    It’s bad public policy to allow prosecution of such “theft”.
    At what dollar amount should we be allowed to prosecute thieves? Is it legal to steal unless it costs over $50? $100?

    I don’t know why you’re putting theft in quotation marks. The guy admitted to eating at least two after he went through the check out line. He took something without paying for it.

    The arrest will cost taxpayers somewhere on the order of $1,000+ to prosecute.
    Isn’t at least part of that the thief’s fault?

  83. ihateauditions says:

    RECTILINEAR PROPAGATION: I don’t know why it is you’re pretending that this is a tough problem. It’s not.

    If the police are called for trivial matters they often show up and simply advise all parties to work it out amongst themselves. In many areas if you call in a traffic accident, they don’t show up and do a report unless there is an injury or a car that isn’t roadworthy.

    I am suggesting that the police use some common sense to say “Albertson’s, if you want to sue this man, or bar him from your store, you may do so, but we’re not wasting taxpayer dollars on it.”

    It’s cheap. It’s simple. It’s effective.

    And that’s ignoring the fact that a sane store policy could start with a non-police response anyway.

  84. ihateauditions says:

    Oh, and RECTILINEAR PROPORTION: no, that waste of public money is not the thief’s fault.

    There was no reason to believe that this sort of response would be incurred, as jelly bean theft is ludicrously common, and arrest is so rare as to merit national attention.

    As such the fault of the thousands of dollars of wasted taxpayer money can be put firmly on Albertson’s and on idiots who think that it’s a good idea to waste $5,000 to recover $0.02.

  85. csdiego says:

    People whining about how they need to grab something from the shelves to eat while they shop because they are diabetic/children/clueless:

    Whatever happened to eating at home before you go to the store? Or waiting until after you get home? Or carrying something with you for emergencies?

    I’m diabetic too, at least a borderline case, and I know what it’s like to have crashing blood sugar. I’ve still never eaten something in the grocery store before paying for it.

    Even if it weren’t theft, it’s just disgusting bad manners to walk around eating something. I know everybody does it, but it’s still disgusting, tacky, and totally unnecessary. Were you born in a barn?

    I wouldn’t usually side with a business wanting to call the cops on somebody, but anybody who defends in-store sampling needs to grow the hell up.

  86. ihateauditions says:

    > anybody who defends in-store sampling needs to grow the hell up.

    Anybody who defends the use of thousands of dollars of public resources to recover a few cents of damages needs to grow the hell up.

    Honestly. I wish there were two tax rates, one for vindictive moralists who love the police, and one for sane people.

  87. ihateauditions says:

    CSDIEGO: You disgust me far more than any jelly-bean sampler ever could.

    I simply cannot believe how many people want to spend THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS of public money to prosecute somebody for less than a dollar of damages.

    Warn the guy. Bar him from your store if you want. But the real travesty here is the amount of public money (and police time) that is being wasted over a few jelly beans.

    I don’t like jelly bean samplers, but I have better things to spend my money on than giving them a criminal record. But hey, maybe you like paying taxes more than I do.

  88. csdiego says:

    @ihateauditions: That’s just it. Nobody who knows me would ever call me any part of “a vindictive moralist who loves the police.” Grocery-store snackers give civil rights a bad name.

  89. Consumerist Moderator - ACAMBRAS says:

    There have been times I’ve entered a store and wanted to carry a soda or bottle of water that I’ve already bought elsewhere while running errands, but I certainly don’t want the store to accuse me of shoplifting said soda or water. I would rather get a cold bottled drink at the store and have the cashier scan it while I’m checking out. I’ve never been chastised for enjoying part of the drink while shopping, as long as I present the bottle to be properly scanned when I pay for everything else.

    That said, a bottled drink is the only thing I’ve ever opened in the store. If I had tried to open a package of cookies or sample fruit as a kid, my mom would have beaten me black and blue — once for stealing the fruit and again for littering (leaving the apple core, peach pit, or whatever lying around).

  90. cde says:

    @jrdnjstn78: Then factor in how much produce you didn’t sell and compare the two. You probably would have ended up throwing it out.

  91. cde says:

    @Rectilinear Propagation: What medical badge? Not everyone (or most)who have diabetes have a card. There’s more then one type of diabetes, not all which require super-urgent-I’m-special doctor’s notes or verification by the state.

    @csdiego: You’re the first to bring civil rights up. You give humanity a bad name. Seriously, “were you raised in a barn?” because people eat walking around? Were you raised a fascist brainwashing camp?

    @Consumerist Moderator – ACAMBRAS: Best reason for not “carrying around an emergency snack”. Nowadays with all the receipt nazis and jellybean-theif prosecutions, there’s no doubt they will try to charge you with shoplifting for bringing your own drink.

  92. CWasko36 says:

    @ihateauditions: By your logic the police should only pursue crimes of theft where the loss outweighs the cost of prosecution. Therefore, any theft less than a couple thousand dollars should get a warning or store banning. Should stores only pursue thefts of $2, $5, $20? Where do they set the limit? The person stole, admitted it, and then was only arrested after he argued with the off duty officer (about the number of jellybeans). He should have apologized immediately and offered to pay up. He gets no sympathy from me.

  93. csdiego says:

    @cde: Wow, now I’m giving humanity a bad name, just because I was taught to sit down before eating? Only in America.

    I’ll say f*** tha police with the best of them. I’ve still got no sympathy for this guy.

  94. edrebber says:

    The Police and the district attorney are the ones who decide who to arrest and prosecute, not the store manager. They can take the manager’s opinion into consideration, but the manager has no legal authority.

    Most stores have 0% tolerence for shoplifters, and will always insist that the shoplifter be prosecuted. The deputy was an eyewitness to the shoplifting. The decision to arrest was made by the deputy.

  95. bookling says:

    @cosby: If they had confronted me about it I would have offered to pay for the candy. Then I would go ahead and return everything elce I bought that day.

    Seriously? You’d be so mad that the store caught you stealing that you would take back any other profit they might have made off of you?

    It may seem silly, but stealing is stealing, not to mention that sticking your hand into the candy bin is pretty gross. You can’t allow people to steal just because it’s “only” a $2 loss — as others have pointed out, all the little losses really add up, probably because it’s easier to get away with than stealing a big-ticket item.

    Again: it may seem ridiculous to prosecute for such a small loss, but the store was well within their rights to do so. And if he was such a regular, it’s certainly conceivable that he was regularly “sampling” other things, but they were able to catch him this time.

  96. YerBuddy says:

    I found a guy hanging out by the salad bar. He was taking handfuls of baco-bits and snacking loudly. Seriously, how does one make those sounds with baco-bits? But he did. I ran into him later when his wife did a slip and fall at the cash register as she attempted to turn her cart that had easily 2 carts worth of food in it. He came over and started yelling at the manager, while still eating more baco-bits.

  97. ihateauditions says:

    CSDIEGO: Say what you want, but you have openly stated that we should spend public money on the prosecution of jelly bean theft.

    This isn’t about civil rights, it’s about sane laws.

    I am for sane laws, you are not. You are of the mind that all problems should be solved via a law, rather than the numerous sane, simple, cheap options.

    You’re smart enough to realize that this is a stupid, stupid opinion so you try to distance yourself from it, and claim it is not what you believe, but facts are facts.

  98. csdiego says:

    @ihateauditions: Where did you get the idea that I think arrest and prosecution is the best way to handle the jellybean snacker? I’m not shedding any tears for him, but that doesn’t mean I support the use of Your! Tax!! Dollars!!!! to lock him up.

  99. ihateauditions says:

    BOOKLING wrote: Again: it may seem ridiculous to prosecute for such a small loss, but the store was well within their rights to do so.

    Legally perhaps, but this is because the law is poorly written. The store should not have the right to stick the public with thousands of dollars of bills for prosecution because they had a disagreement over between 2 and 10 jelly beans. Especially when they did not even attempt to solve the issue on their own.

    This was a gross abuse of public funds. Anybody who claims otherwise loves big government to the point where I simply cannot even begin to empathize with your opinion.

  100. ihateauditions says:

    CSDIEGO: I’m done arguing with you. You clearly stated that you side with the store, in that they chose to stick the public with thousands of dollars of bills, rather than simply ask him to pay and leave.

    Now you’re pretending you didn’t do so.

    Perhaps you aren’t for big government. Perhaps you’re just a liar. Either way, I’m done. There is no point in arguing with somebody who claims they didn’t say something the said a few posts ago.


  101. ThePopoversAreDone says:

    What’s DIAF?

  102. csdiego says:

    @ihateauditions: Now I’m supposed to Die In A Fire?

    Wow. I hope you get some help with that condition you’ve got.

  103. theneilcave says:

    Here’s what I’m for- consequences.
    The situation described above obviously is all around ridiculous. The man stole a very small amount. He was confronted about it, and handled it incorrectly. Will it cost more to prosecute him than the product he stole? Yeah.

    I understand your point about the how ridiculous that is. However, stealing is a crime that should not be tolerated. That means sometimes people will have to be punished, even if the stolen good had very little value.

    Obviously throwing the book at this guy is a vast overreaction, but I would think some sort of little bitty slap on the wrist would be appropriate.

  104. ThePopOversAreDone says:

    I don’t like bacon bits.

    There’s something wrong about them.

  105. ThePopOversAreDone says:

    How big of a book would you be throwing?

  106. edrebber says:

    @ihateauditions: It was the off duty deputy that made the decision to arrest the shoplifter, not the store manager.

  107. S-the-K says:

    If they have you on camera for reaching in and grabbing a fistful, then you didn’t have just a couple.

    At the Publix, at their bulk candy display, they have a coin box where you put a quarter if you take a sample.