LESLEY KEATING: Eating isn't necessarily cheating in supermarkets

What do you think the average shoplifter looks like? Someone sneaking tins and packets into their handbag with an eye on the CCTV maybe? Not necessarily.

Sunday, 16th July 2017, 8:01 pm
Updated Tuesday, 12th September 2017, 12:22 pm
SNEAKY Shoppers are finding ingenious ways to steal

Supermarkets are apparently writing off about three per cent of revenue against shoplifting, much of which relates to shoppers eating while they do their shopping or finding other ingenious ways to steal.

The other day in my local supermarket, I saw a woman casually open a packet of biscuits, hand one to her grizzling child and then put the packet back on the shelf. But she’d be horrified if she was called a ’shoplifter’.

She later gave the child a French baton to munch on too. No wrapper, no proof.

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Some people regularly graze their way around supermarkets but if they pay at the till, no crime has technically been committed.

I’ve been on the receiving end of this type of ‘theft’ and it’s a beyond-annoying experience.

I recently bought some headache tablets, got home and found I’d spent £4 on a lovely, empty packet!

It’s quite astonishing the things people do. I saw one shopper put a half-empty drink bottle on the conveyor belt only to be asked by the cashier if they’d like a new one as ‘this appears to have leaked’. Result!

I was also fascinated by a women recently shoving as many extra spring onions as she could manage under the elastic band of a standard bunch to make a massive bundle which was probably the equivalent of at least three.

Was she doing it covertly? Not a bit. She was making a great show of choosing them. I tried the cyber death glare but it went straight over her head. She had no shame, but rather a lot of spring onions.

The law states that you have to intend to defraud the supermarket to be committing an offence, so when you’re simply eating and paying later, it hardly constitutes a crime.

But if you’re going to help yourself to something, pay for it.

And please don’t put an empty Nurofen packet back as it could result in a headache for more than just the supermarket.


Do you believe in fate? A few months ago I was following family history trails and wanted to see my grandmother’s birthplace.

Being in a very rural part of the country, there weren’t any hotels but on Airbnb I found a really lovely annexe to an old cottage which seemed very close to where she was born.

After booking, I was sent details and had to look twice at the address.

It transpires it wasn’t just near my grandmother’s cottage – it was the very same cottage!

The lovely couple who owned it insisted on showing us around. I was overwhelmed. They even had a daughter called Phoebe, the name of my great aunt who had once lived there more than 100 years ago.

What are the chances?


I used to work in advertising so I know that media buyers have a challenging job, particularly in finding a synergy between the TV programmes scheduled and the adverts they have to buy air time for.

But I couldn’t help but laugh the other day.

ITN ran a story about the very lucky American teenager who had woken up while camping in Colorado to find a bear actually chewing his head!

He’d miraculously fought back to escape with his life and missing just a few clumps of scalp.

What do you think came on during the next ad break? The advert which features a man with a gigantic rapping bear eating Müller rice pudding.

It was probably completely unintentional, but wickedly genius nevertheless.