Safeway Not So Safe for 2-Year-Old Girls With Absentminded Parents

When I take my two younger daughters to the grocery store, they sometimes pick a snack off the shelves and share it while we shop. I always make a point of having them save the wrapper so we can pay for the item when we check out—but not because I am afraid that otherwise I will be handcuffed and taken to jail while the girls are hauled off by a government-employed social worker. Fortunately, I do not shop at Safeway:

Nicole Leszczynski couldn't imagine that two chicken salad sandwiches would land her and her husband in jail and her 2-year-old daughter in state custody. But it happened five days ago, when the 30-weeks-pregnant woman forgot to pay for her snack while grocery shopping....

Famished, the former Air Force staff sergeant picked up the two sandwiches that together cost $5. She openly munched on one while they shopped, saving the wrapper to be scanned at the register later.

But they forgot to pay for the sandwiches as they checked out with about $50 worth of groceries....

"I asked to talk to a manager and he said it was against their policy to pay for items that left the store," she said. "The security guard said we were being charged with shoplifting."

Four hours later, a police officer arrived and read them their rights. A woman from the state Child Welfare Services arrived to take Zofia away.

While it sounds like the store's management is mainly to blame, it is astonishing that the police did not try to dissuade the guard or manager from having the couple arrested over a $5 mistake, especially since they knew it would mean separating a 2-year-old girl from her parents for the night:

A Honolulu police spokeswoman said it was procedure to call Child Welfare Services if a child is present when both parents are arrested. The store's management did not know the girl would be taken away, said Susan Houghton, a spokeswoman for California-based Safeway.

The national supermarket chain said it was looking into the incident. "It was never our intent to separate a mother from her child. That was a very unfortunate consequence to this situation," Houghton said. "We understand the outrage. We are concerned about how this was handled."

Leszczynski called the incident "so horrifying, it seemed to escalate and no one could say, 'this is too much.'"

[Thanks to Mark Lambert for the tip.]

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  • Hugh Akston||

    One more reason I only shop at Kroger stores.

  • Dudebro||

    The state giveth and taketh away.

  • Apatheist||

    HEB is where it's at.

  • SIV||

    If you're in West/South Central Texas. I do like the HEB. Kinda reminds me of the old "only in Fla" Publix.

  • ||

    how so?

  • ||

    A Honolulu police spokeswoman said it was procedure

    There's your answer, Jacob. Follow procedures, and you never have to make any decisions. I mean, what's some people spending 2 days in jail and a kid separated from her parents compared to getting yelled at for not following procedure?

  • ||

    "A Honolulu"

    That's an even shorter answer: it's Hawaii

  • Hugh Akston||

    I didn't realize Hawaii was the subject of Gulag Archipelago.

  • ||

    Hawaii is BY FAR the biggest left wing nannystate I am aware of. I came there from Mass. - a liberal state itself - and was amazed at the case law, etc.

  • ||

    There's a certain near libertarian streak in New England liberalism that you don't get in liberalism outside of New England (one major example being the extent to which the New England states devolve power to local government (which is arguably, owing to the widespread use of the town meeting form of government, closer to giving that power to individuals than devolving it locally elsewhere in the US)).

  • ||

    What do you mean? I lived in MA for a stretch, and I sure didn't notice it.

  • Peter A||

    The "libertarian liberals" are stronger in places like Vermont, NH and Maine. Or even Western Mass. But wherever you had large influxes of Catholics, like Eastern Mass, RI or CT, you just have corruption and statism. The Know Nothings were right in the long run.

  • BK||

    Rhode Island is smaller than the county my husband grew up in, how could you not have "stateism" in such a small place?

    And if Catholocism is to blame, why didn't you mention New York?

  • Alan Vanneman||

    It was the store manager (a capitalist, I suspect) who insisted on charging the woman with theft, instead of allowing her to pay for the sandwiches. He was only doing his job as a corporate drudge.

  • Alan Vanneman||

    It was the store manager (a capitalist, I suspect) who insisted on charging the woman with theft, instead of allowing her to pay for the sandwiches. He was only doing his job as a corporate drudge.

  • BK||

    By upholding the laws created by the state. And it was the state that took custody of the child, not the corporation.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    I dedicate this song to the store manager.

  • sayinitslow4u||

    There's a lot more that this song should go out to, on this page alone.

  • kinnath||

    Dumb and Dumber.

  • Greer||

    But they forgot to pay for the sandwiches as they checked out with about $50 worth of groceries....

    I think that's called stealing.

  • kinnath||

    I drove off from the local gas station one time after putting a 40 bucks worth of gas in my SUV. The clerk called my house and left a message on the machine to please stop in and take care of the tab.

  • ||

    Yes, some people give thieves the benefit of the doubt and allow them to make amends. But that's a gamble. And this woman lost. No sympathy from me.

  • kinnath||

    Since I've been buying gas at this store for about 19 years, they had some reason to believe that I just made a mistake.

  • ||

    "Since I've been buying gas at this store for about 19 years, they had some reason to believe that I just made a mistake."

    How a business chooses to enforce their rules is their prerogative. Personally, I think Safeway's approach is short-sighted and will likely cost them money in the long-run. However, I support whatever decision they choose to pursue to resolve this issue.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    However, I support whatever decision they choose to pursue to resolve this issue.

    Let me guess, you're the manager of a Safeway, right?

  • ||

    Had I been the manager, this would have never made the news. But every individual is different. She took a chance and lost when she encountered someone who wasn't as understanding as you or I. Them's the breaks.

  • BK||

    The store is not the issue, the police and child welfare system are. Why does someone need to spend the night in jail over $5.00, causing child services to be involved? The punishment for the crime seems excessive. The amount that is shoplifted should have some impact on the punishment, just as it does in other theft cases. The parents should have been allowed to pay the store, pay an expensive fine, and go home with their child.

  • ||

    The four hour thing is a nonstarter. They screwed up.

  • Supreme Generalissimo Fluffy||

    I will accept this when any error in posted pricing at the store vs. price charged at the register, or any accidental double scanning of items or miscounting of items, entitles me to have the entire staff of the store including all managers on duty arrested and held for theft as well.

  • ||

    The checker or person who makes those kind of errors doesn't usually profit from those mistakes. If it were proven that it was all part of an elaborate scheme to overcharge and line the pockets of the cashier (or manager), then they should be locked up...for a very long time.

  • robc||

    If it was PROVEN that the couple took the sandwiches as part of a scheme to line their own pockets, then they should be locked up. But since they apparently tried to pay....

  • ||

    She only attempted to pay after being caught! Most criminals try to make amends when they're finally nabbed. The legal system will have to sort this one out.

  • anarch-cat||

    I kan haz reciprositty?

  • robc||

    Or when a vending machine fails to deliver the product purchased.

    CEO goes to jail, right?

  • ||

    If there's some evidence to show that the machine was designed to randomly rip off customers at the CEOs order--by all means. Lock the crook up!

  • robc||

    Is there any evidence she attempted to steal? You cant have it both ways.

  • ||

    She was heading out the door with something she didn't own or pay for! How much more evidence do you need? Let me guess, you were on the OJ jury, weren't you?

  • Fatty Bolger||

    Apply your own standard, Danno. The store/vending machine company took money from the customer they weren't entitled to! How much more evidence do you need? Lock 'em all up!

  • ||

    A more relevant comparison would be putting a 12 pack of soda on the bottom shelf of the cart and just forgetting about it. Walking out with it is technically theft, but you have to be a really insecure statist twat to press charges over an honest mistake like that.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    Yes, some people give thieves the benefit of the doubt and allow them to make amends. But that's a gamble. And this woman lost. No sympathy from me.

    Are you a sociopath or are you just autistic? Why the fuck would a thief "invest" 50 dollars to steal a sandwich worth 5 dollars? A loss of 45 dollars isn't "stealing."

  • ||

    Taking something that's not yours is stealing, regardless of the value. And I think you're the one who's autistic since you can't comprehend the woman received $50 worth of groceries plus a $5 sandwich for free. So, she lost nothing (until she was arrested).

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    She attempted to pay for it. Ever hear of Mens rea?

  • ||

    So, if someone robs a bank, gets caught and offers to give the money back then it's OK? You're assuming this woman is being truthful. What if she's stolen hundreds of food items in this way and this is only the first time she's been caught?

  • Supreme Generalissimo Fluffy||

    Once again:

    I will accept this when any error in posted pricing at the store vs. price charged at the register, or any accidental double scanning of items or miscounting of items, entitles me to have the entire staff of the store including all managers on duty arrested and held for theft as well.

  • ||

    The checker or person who makes those kind of errors doesn't usually profit from those mistakes. If it were proven that it was all part of an elaborate scheme to overcharge and line the pockets of the cashier (or manager), then they should be locked up...for a very long time.

  • Supreme Generalissimo Fluffy||

    The checker or person who makes those kind of errors doesn't usually profit from those mistakes. If it were proven that it was all part of an elaborate scheme to overcharge and line the pockets of the cashier (or manager), then they should be locked up...for a very long time.

    All of those issues would be up to a jury.

    You have declared over and over that stealing is stealing.

    If someone takes away my property, that's stealing.

    If it's stealing for me to take $55 worth of groceries and pay $50 - and the store can arrest me, and leave it to the cops, the judge and the jury to decide if I intended to do it or not - then it absomotherfuckinglutely would be stealing for the store to charge me $55 for groceries they marked as being for sale for $50. And I should be entitled to arrest them and let the cops, judge and jury work it out.

    That's only if stealing is always stealing and it's too damn bad - which is your prior position.

    I bet now your new position will be "Wah, that's not reasonable to let you arrest the people running the store!" Because your previous declaration was bullshit.

  • Resto Druid FTW||

    You misunderstand. Theft offenses are specific intent crimes, meaning you must intend to deprive (here the store) of its property permanently. HM was referring to the necessary of having a "guilty mind" (mens rea) when comitting such specific intent crimes.

  • ||

    If that's the case, she deserves a medal. Most people who do this stuff habitually start to get a record, police reports, etc. that's what we refer to as usual suspects. Did this woman have any such history? The other day a neighbor held some local scumbags prowling his neighbor's garage area at night. They literally have DOZENS of property crime arrests. Well known to us. Do you think we would be LESS likely to assume intent or more likely? Regardless, we didn't have PC for an arrest at that time (being just outside the garage well back from the road at o dark thirty was arguably a nonarrestable not in our presence misdemeanor, but that was a stretch even if it was arrestable). However, they did dump their motorbike when fleeing the homeowner who held them at gunpoint briefly and with some great detective work we eventually confirmed it as stolen (it had no identifiable VIN etc.) and a week later we arrested them for PSP.

    did store security really think she was a person who did this on purpose, let alone FREQUENLT but had never been caught, They had their options, But holding her for four hours was not one of them

  • ||

    ""They had their options, But holding her for four hours was not one of them""

    So the cops taking four hours to get there is the store manager's fault? I'm sure the store manager and/or a member of his staff had better things to do than hang out waiting for the cops to arrive.

  • ||

    No. But not letting her go is. The cops are under no legal duty to get there for a no emergent situation that quickly. The store is the one exercising force and they must use discretion. We have Walmart call us all the time when officers are tied up on details and we can't respond. They let the people go and then turn in the reports later. The store used the force. They needd to use the discretion

  • ||

    ""They needd to use the discretion""

    And they did. Albeit to their zero policy ends. I would think holding them for a period of time, then letting them go would open the door for civil suits than waiting for the cops to arrive. If you intend to have them arrested, you follow it to its end. If not, you don't hold them at all.

  • ||

    You think wrong, Again, they are the ones using force. The requirement it be reasonable rests with them. I've got a hint for you. There are circ's when it might take the cops 8 hrs or more. Wht if they had some sort of major incident? Those happen. The store owners are using force, they do NOT have the right to hold a person forever because the police are busy. Take a fucking picture of the person, you probably already have their I'd, make a copy. When they go out to their car, note the license plate, WHATEVER, but the fact that they were waiting for police is not dispositive. THEY MADE THE DETENTION,the burden falls on them.

    And like I said, we deal with store security all the fucking time. At least here, they are almost always contract employees from security companies hired by Walmart, Safeway etc. and they know this shit damn well

  • ||

    ""The store owners are using force, they do NOT have the right to hold a person forever because the police are busy.""

    Forever? Nice stretch.

    They do have the right to hold the person and wait for the cops. Where does it say they have to give up after a period of time?

  • Supreme Generalissimo Fluffy||

    If I get given the wrong change in your store, can I come in with a gun and hold you at gunpoint for days, if that's how long it takes the police to show up?

    After all, nowhere does it say I have to give up after a period of time. Right?

  • ||

    Who had a gun?

  • ||

    No they do not...its called unlawful detention...they do not have a right to hold you at all..you have no obligation to stay once you ask to leave

  • ||

    What I do find interesting is how wrong you think this is but when a guy having a seziure gets his wrist broke by a cop. You're agnostic.

  • No thanks||

    Eeww.

  • Apocalitarian||

    Do you practice law or just bust balls. You realize larceny is the deprivation of property from another with the intent to do so. Now, in our criminal justice system you need to prove these things beyond a reasonable doubt. Do you think she intended beyond a reasonable doubt to steal these sammiches while paying for $50 worth of groceries?

  • ||

    ""Do you practice law or just bust balls. You realize larceny is the deprivation of property from another with the intent to do so.""

    Neither. Proving intent is a trial issue. Stores will general set a threshold on when to make a stop based on how comfortable they are with the intent issue. That's why many stores will wait until you walk out the door before making a stop. When they do make the stop, the person stopped will almost always trying to bargin their way out by asking if they can pay.

    Admission of theft is not necessary to convince a jury or judge of intent. And people do spend money and steal at the same time. They think it makes their "I didn't mean to do it" more credible.

    I do not know if she intend to or not. At best she was being stupid for relying on the idea that she would remember to pay later while she ate something that was yet to be rightfully hers.

  • ||

    Grocery profit margins are very low. The store didn't profit $50 from their purchases. If their purchases were staple items [the lowest markup] then they might have only profited $5 from their $50 expenditures...not counting the $5 sandwich.

  • D cashier||

    I work in a grccery store our mark up is pretty much 30%. I would never call the police on this woman. Mommy brain at 30 weeks is very common, plus with a small child. Take the $5 and wish her well. I am canadian i guess we have more heart.

  • D cashier||

    I work in a grccery store our mark up is pretty much 30%. I would never call the police on this woman. Mommy brain at 30 weeks is very common, plus with a small child. Take the $5 and wish her well. I am canadian i guess we have more heart.

  • D cashier||

    I work in a grccery store our mark up is pretty much 30%. I would never call the police on this woman. Mommy brain at 30 weeks is very common, plus with a small child. Take the $5 and wish her well. I am canadian i guess we have more heart.

  • AblueSilkworm||

    And more squirrels.

  • Zuo||

    The last thing Hawaii needs is more thieving haoles. Fuck this entitlement-minded bitch and her kids too. I'll be sure to tell everybody I know that if they are stupid enough to find themselves in the armpit known as Canada, that they are free to take things without paying, since the Canadians are so generous and have no concept of property rights.

  • Hank||

    I think that's called stealing.

    Cute, but it's also called running a business.

    I daresay the $5 (including profit) sandwich is going to cost Safeway far more in the long run, and that's assuming they couldn't have recovered the $5 on the spot with a simple tap on the shoulder.

  • John Thorpe||

    She tried to pay after she realized the error.

  • Hank||

    Yes, I also read the article. I'm not sure what you're getting at.

  • ||

    She tried to pay after she realized the error.

    No, the article says that she tried to pay after she got caught by the security guard.

  • No thanks||

    And she realized the error when she was "caught" by the security guard.

  • SFC B||

    I can't imagine how it is the "store policy" to treat all merchandise that leaves the store as "sholifted".

    Over my two decades of buying things in shopping carts I've probably failed to pay for items on the bottom rack of the cart three times. Each time I went back into the store to pay when I noticed the item.

    Even during my six months working in a grocery store, as long as someone wasn't clearly trying to sneak out we were told to assume the best and not accuse anyone of stealing or attempting to steal.

  • ||

    Different stores have different policies regarding shoplifting. If it's a chain store, the company sets the policy for the store managers to follow. Some may put their job on the line to keep an accident from become more. Others will follow policy to the letter.

  • ||

    Any store mgr in his right mind would have said "you have held her for how long? For what? And the fucking cops still aren't here? Release her. Now". Assuming he knew what was going on, Theoretically as mgr his LPA's keep him in the loop

  • ||

    ""Any store mgr in his right mind would have said...""

    The thing reeks of zero tolerence towards shoplifting. Will Safeway get in trouble for it? Maybe, maybe not, my guess is they will settle to save face. Right or wrong, public perception means a lot in retail.

  • sayinitslow4u||

    Rigth! next time you foget to signal, check your blind spot, before changing lanes you'll be guilty of attempted murder (murder if you kill some one)

  • cynical||

    I was under the impression that mens rea is a requirement for stealing.

  • Food under lock and key...||

    ...and the horrible consequences.

    “You’ll know you’re among the people of your culture if the food is all owned, if it’s all under lock and key. But food was once no more owned than the air or the sunshine are owned. No other culture in history has ever put food under lock and key—and putting it there is the cornerstone of your economy, because if the food wasn’t under lock and key, who would work?" ~Daniel Quinn

  • ||

    You've been given permission to gambol across the Rio Grande -- now get out

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    This song is also dedicated to White Indian, et al.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    Is it saying shit again?

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    Sadly, yes. It thinks it's people.

  • ||

    Wow, they really couldn't look much worse here, could they? Pregnant young military mom and cute toddler daughter. If they were accompanied by some cute puppies they'd adopted from a shelter they could hardly be more fucking sympathetic. Oops, Safeway.

    They don't get a dime of my money anyways. Their prices fucking suck and I hate the stupid card.

  • ||

    What's your take on Walmart?

  • Devil's Advocate||

    A friend of mine claims the local Walmart is built on an Indian graveyard. There does seem to be some sort of horrible miasma hanging over it.

    A few weeks back there was an incident where two young women threw bleach and cleaning products at each other, sending one bystander to the hospital with serious eye injuries, other bystanders taken to the hospital with less severe injuries, and requiring that the store be evacuated and aired out.

    Baltimore is such a classy place.

  • Joe M||

    That reminds me: did anyone else catch that "1000 Ways to Die" marathon on Spike TV last night? Some pretty amazing mishaps in those stories. One woman threw a tantrum at a lab after her boss/lover dumped. She threw a flask of some sodium compound into a metal sink with water and other chemicals inside it and caused an explosion, leaving a nice deadly cloud which she promptly inhaled, dying, after her face was horribly burned, of course.

  • R||

    I'm about 99.99% certain that all the stories on that show are completely made up. Or at least the few I've seen, since they seem to defy physics.

  • ||

    LOL, you believe that badly-produced bullshit?

  • ||

    I got my beloved flatscreen HDTV from Walmart online at a fucking awesome price and IIRC I think they shipped it for free, so they're aces in my book. But I do try to avoid setting foot in the brick and mortar stores, what with the miasma (good word by the way) Devil's Advocate mentions below.

  • Colin||

    That's what happens when you shop in union stores -- no thinking allowed, just follow procedure.

  • ||

    A Honolulu police spokeswoman said it was procedure to call Child Welfare Services if a child is present when both parents are arrested.

    -----------

    What about relatives? Or doesn't the State of Hawaii give a shit?

  • Joe M||

    "I asked to talk to a manager and he said it was against their policy to pay for items that left the store,"...

    A Honolulu police spokeswoman said it was procedure to call Child Welfare Services if a child is present when both parents are arrested.

    And of course, no one involved was capable of rational independent thought. I say everyone involved was in the wrong, both the authorities and the Safeway employees. However, here is a crucial difference:

    The store's management did not know the girl would be taken away, said Susan Houghton, a spokeswoman.... "It was never our intent to separate a mother from her child.... We understand the outrage. We are concerned about how this was handled."...

    Houghton said the company will review the police report and store security footage before deciding whether to press charges.

    No such review of policies from the Honolulu police.

  • ||

    Because there's no incentive, since the police department is mandated, protected, and insulated from shitstorms and errors by the power of law. Terrific, ain't it?

  • Joe M||

    Oh yes, of course, my point exactly. Safeway knows this is a PR disaster and is going to try like hell to make it right. HPD doesn't give a fuck, and doesn't need to.

  • ||

    As they say: don't shop where you eat.

  • Koan||

    Fuck Safeway, Fuck the cops, and Fuck Hawaii. America would be a much better place if all three disappeared.

  • Zuo||

    Shut the fuck up and get back to occupying whatever lameass mainland town you live in, parasitic loser.

  • ||

    The problem with this story is that they ate something before they paid. There is no such thing as an "accident." If they bought the damn sandwiches before they ate them, there would have been no problem. I hate when people walk around the grocery store eating crap before they pay for it. Grow up.

  • ||

    Still saving up to get that stick removed from your ass?

    I take it you have no small children, or the wife does all the shopping.

  • ||

    Yes, of course. Having children absolves people of all crimes. Sometimes, I forget.

  • ||

    I love the law and order types.

    Ze're must be ordehr.

  • ||

    Sorry, but stealing is a crime I have a little tolerance for. When people don't respect the property of others, civilization collapses.

  • ||

    So, you'll turn yourself in when you accidentally listen to music that wasn't paid for. Got it.

  • ||

    Uh, precisely when would this scenario occur? Music on the radio, TV and internet is paid for through advertisement, and I bought all music (and movies) I own. Are you suggesting it's a crime to overhear music someone else is playing too loud? If so, they should arrest the person distributing it, not the people who inadvertently hear it.

  • ||

    Sorry Danno, you've made it clear that intent has nothing to do with the crime. Stealing is stealing. No exceptions!

    I'll inform Sgt. McLaughlin at the 3rd precinct to expect you within the hour.

  • ||

    What a shame stupidity isn't painful. If it was, you'd be too busy writhing on the floor in agony to type your gibberish.

  • ||

    I'll bet your lips moved when you wrote that.

    Bored now. Ta.

  • EDG reppin' LBC||

    Intent has everything to do with stealing (theft). What this lady did would be considered conversion, which does not have have the intent element.

  • EDG reppin' LBC||

    It's called conversion. And I agree, it is annoying and rude. However, if I was the Safeway manager, and mom wanted to pay for the sandwich after her discovery, I would have accepted the money. But I do understand the company's zero-tolerance stance on conversion.

  • ||

    It's not conversion. She didn't use the sandwiches and then put them back without paying, she ingested them. If you keep the property, it isn't conversion.

  • Supreme Generalissimo Fluffy||

    If stealing is stealing, no exceptions, no tolerance, then I guess that means you would support my demand that I be allowed to arrest store staff if they total my purchase wrong.

    Or arrest the McDonald's staff if they get my drive-thru order wrong. Or short me on fries.

    Comcast admitted overcharging its customers in my area recently. When do I get to arrest the entire staff of Comcast.

    If stealing is stealing and it's too damn bad, then I should be able to arrest the thieves in each of those cases.

  • sayinitslow4u||

    I find it incrediable that you and the many like minded on this page are able to discern the guilt of these two with so little information and a great deal of assumption.

    I dedicate Mr. Mulatto's song especially to you.

  • ||

    Fwiw, the issue is not GUILT. the issue is PC. that is what is required for an arrest, whether it be citizen's arrest or otherwise (cops otoh can detain on RS but it must be short usually no more than 15 or 20 minutes, etc). The store was well w/in their legal rights at the outset even if I'll advised. 4 hr detention for a nonviolent misdemeanor with AT BEST mediocre PC is a fucking joke

  • Supreme Generalissimo Fluffy||

    Can I arrest the store staff if they make an error ringing up my purchase?

    If not, go fuck yourself.

  • ||

    Speaking as someone who has been pregnant twice, I can guarantee you that pregnancy often coincides with 'forgetfulness.' I started running a bath to soak in when I was six months pregnant, left the room and completely forgot about the bath. Luckily, my apartment manager was a more understanding person than this manager appears to be, or you for that matter. Do the world a favor - if you haven't already procreated, don't. Thanks, m'kay.

  • kinnath||

    I used to take my children shopping all the time. I would never let them pull stuff from the shelves let alone eat stuff in the store before it was paid for.

  • ||

    Well done. You clearly know how to do your job as a parent. Something most people can't seem to understand.

  • ||

    The kids didn't eat the food, the parents did.

    FWIW, I don't have a problem with what the woman did, since it's clear from this that her intent was to pay. If she didn't then she would have ditched the wrappers, like I have seen many a shoplifter do, even the stupid ones.

    Of course, this could be nothing but a blatant snow job at the behest of the lawyer to get public sympathy to his client, but I'll take it at face value for now.

  • kinnath||

    I have a huge problem with the parents behavior. They were dumb.

    I have a bigger problem with the store. Refusing to take payment from someone that obviously made a mistake is dumber.

  • ||

    Meh, I don't. She didn't intend to commit a crime.

    A smart business would have graciously contacted the woman while she was still shopping and asked he if they could ring up those sandwiches for her.

    Note that I said a smart business. This rules out Safeway by default.

  • ||

    How do you know this? What if she's a chronic kleptomaniac and this is her standard MO? Businesses have a right to deal with these types of people however they see fit. That doesn't mean I agree with it, but I accept and support their right.

  • ||

    Then hold her, formally trespass her and wait for cops. Don't hold her for four hours. PERIOD. they fucked up BIGTIME. Any reasonable store would have given her benefit of the doubt and or just trespassed her - iow, pay for it and don't come back

  • ||

    Easy Danny, you got a little spittle on the screen there.

  • Supreme Generalissimo Fluffy||

    Businesses have a right to deal with these types of people however they see fit.

    Then I should be entitled to deal with a McDonald's employee who doesn't give me my entire order any way I see fit.

    Unless you don't REALLY mean that anyone who is stolen from gets to decide if they want the perpetrator arrested or not. And I'll bet that's not what you really mean. What you REALLY mean is: "Some citizens, who own stores and businesses, get to deal with thieves that way - but OTHER citizens, who aren't as important and don't have as many rights, don't get to do that."

  • ||

    FWIW, when my wife busted my son for shoplifting a candy bar a few years ago, we made him go back into the store, get the manager, apologize, return the it AND pay for it.

    We haven't let him forget about that incident. THAT is stealing.

  • ||

    And if the manager said store policy was "zero tolerance" towards shoplifting and called the police, he'd be a dick.

  • ||

    ""And if the manager said store policy was "zero tolerance" towards shoplifting and called the police, he'd be a dick.""

    And you could, and that might be fitting. But the bigger dick would be the one that thinks they can consume something that doesn't belong to them.

  • ||

    How about just a tiny, tiny, tiny, bit of self-control. They simply had to eat right then because they were "famished"? Bullshit.

    My children don't eat at the grocery store. If they are "starving" I tell them to wait a few fucking minutes. Don't tell me you throw food at your children every time they say "I am starving"

    Sorry, but my idiot fat wife says this kind of shit all the time. The kids were starving and couldn't wait 30 minutes? I guess they are in training to be the future OWS crowd.

  • ||

    From the article:

    "But it happened five days ago, when the 30-weeks-pregnant woman forgot to pay for her snack while grocery shopping....Famished, the former Air Force staff sergeant picked up the two sandwiches that together cost $5. She openly munched on one while they shopped, saving the wrapper to be scanned at the register later."

    The math in the article is off, since we don't know if the husband ate the other sandwich or that she ate both. And I don't know about you, but I give 30-week pregnant women wide berth in pointing out potential problems.

  • ||

    Don't have kids, then, eh?

  • kinnath||

    Two kids, four grandkids. Letting kids eat food in stores before it is purchased is just bullshit. Parents need to be parents.

  • ||

    Anthony, If it were my store I would not care that some folk eat before paying, as long as any mess created would be minimal. I think that in this state of reality all people and businesses would best be advised to keep the coercive thugs (police, LEOs) out of their business and solve all conflict they are able to in house. This would improve many things in society. It is called taking responsibility.

  • Apocalitarian||

    if we look at this purely through the responsibility, the customer should have kept her shit together and made sure she paid.

  • ||

    What do you think happens when you eat at a restaurant? I highly doubt you pay first before eating

    Try again

  • ||

    Safeway is a restaurant?

    Try again

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    Keep on moving those goal posts, Gill.

  • ||

    Oh, I didn't realize that if you sold food, it could be consumed first because restaurants allow it. It doesn't matter the circumstances, selling food= a restaurant. There used to be a restaurant that provided food and gave you a grill to cook it yourself. I guess that means I can go to walmart and cook a steak with the grill and charcoal I haven't purchased YET because UR Cooks lets people?

    I wonder if I can down that bottle of whiskey at the liquor store before I pay for it? Bars let you!!

  • ||

    except that eating the food in the store before paying is ok. Note the store didn't have a problem with that.

  • ||

    So you've never eaten at a restaurant before? You eat before you pay.

    I hate when people sit around the restaurant eating crap before they pay for it. Grow up.

  • ||

    Today I went to Del Taco. I told them what I wanted, paid for it and then they gave it to me. Had I just grabbed what I wanted and started eating, I'm pretty sure I'd be in jail right now. Why's that so hard for some people to comprehend?

  • ||

    Beats me, but I agree with you. It might have been a stupid mistake on her part, but it still met the definition of theft.

    The stupidity was consuming a product before it was rightfully owned.

    Depending on the state and store, just consuming it before paying for it could be intent to commit theft. Sometimes stores won't stop you then because it harder to prove in court than when they walk out without payment. That's no longer intent, it's theft.

  • Supreme Generalissimo Fluffy||

    It might have been a stupid mistake on her part, but it still met the definition of theft.

    Then it's theft when a cashier makes a stupid mistake and charges me for something I didn't buy.

    Except I know you don't actually think that.

  • ||

    ""Except I know you don't actually think that.""

    I would call that theft too. I don't know if the cops or prosecutor would agree though.

  • ||

    You're comparing apples and oranges.

    It would never be considered theft if the cashier mistakenly scanned only two of your three packs of gum when you had a full grocery cart, and you left without paying for the third pack of gum. There's no way that's intentional.

    Concealing an item and then "forgetting" to pay for it? That's different. That would be like the cashier taking a $1 bill from the money you gave her, stuffing it in her pocket, and then saying you didn't give her enough money.

  • Supreme Generalissimo Fluffy||

    Who cares if she puts it in her pocket?

    It's "concealed" in the register, too.

    If the cashier charges me for 3 packs of gum but only puts 2 packs of gum in the bag, and then says, "Oh gee, I'm sorry, I made a mistake," why is that any different from this woman saying, "Oh gee, I made a mistake when I forgot to have you ring up this sandwich"?

    You may think it's more reasonable to believe the cashier's protestation that she just made a mistake, but fuck her. Stealing is stealing. That's what everyone in this thread is telling me. If stealing is stealing, then the cashier should get to endure being detained by force by me, then waiting four hours for the police, then not having her kid for a couple of days, then her arraignment, then her wait for a trial date - and when her trial date comes she can tell her fucking sob story about it just being an innocent mistake to the judge and jury. They'll probably believe her and let her off, since her story is so reasonable, and so then everybody's square. Right?

  • ||

    Stealing is stealing.

    However, you have no right to decide what happens on McDonalds property. Therefore you have no right to use any part of it for detainment. And it is apples to oranges in that you placed an order, the amount you paid was according to that order. You and the company had interaction, a verbal agreement if you will about a transaction. There was no prior communication between Safeway and the customer about buying sandwiches prior to the event. Your analogy is not apt. But again stealing is stealing. How it gets handled becomes a matter of law.

  • Supreme Generalissimo Fluffy||

    However, you have no right to decide what happens on McDonalds property. Therefore you have no right to use any part of it for detainment.

    What are you, high?

    If my neighbor breaks into my house and takes my TV and carries it into his yard, are you saying that I can't pursue him?

    If that's the case, then why are Safeway employees allowed to follow their customers out of the store and off the property?

    Since Safeway's people feel like they can bring people back INTO the store, I'll just pistol whip you fuckers until you leave the store and come to my property for me to hold you, while we wait for the police.

  • ||

    ""If my neighbor breaks into my house and takes my TV and carries it into his yard, are you saying that I can't pursue him?""

    Pursiut is diffent from detainment. But sure you can go after him.

    ""What are you, high?""

    Not at the moment, check back later.

    ""If that's the case, then why are Safeway employees allowed to follow their customers out of the store and off the property?""

    It was a security guard that stopped them. Perhaps I missed it but where does it say the stop was made off property?

    ""I'll just pistol whip you fuckers until you leave the store and come to my property for me to hold you, while we wait for the police.""

    Again, who's got the gun?

    All I was saying is your McDonald's analogy isn't apt.

  • ||

    ""If my neighbor breaks into my house and takes my TV and carries it into his yard, are you saying that I can't pursue him?""

    Pursiut is diffent from detainment. But sure you can go after him.

    ""What are you, high?""

    Not at the moment, check back later.

    ""If that's the case, then why are Safeway employees allowed to follow their customers out of the store and off the property?""

    It was a security guard that stopped them. Perhaps I missed it but where does it say the stop was made off property?

    ""I'll just pistol whip you fuckers until you leave the store and come to my property for me to hold you, while we wait for the police.""

    Again, who's got the gun?

    All I was saying is your McDonald's analogy isn't apt.

  • Nils||

    The problem with this story is that they ate something before they paid

    Sounds like what I do when I go to a restaurant.

  • ||

    +1

  • ||

    Four hours later, a police officer arrived and read them their rights.

    That's the part I find disturbing. They had to wait four hours at the store before being arrested.

  • ||

    She should sue, IMO, that's a Prima Facie unreasonable length of time to be detained by store security for a nonviolent misdemeanor. 30 to 45 minutes MAX. if we can't respond in a timely fashion (many stores din't even call they just refer case to prosecutors directly or write the case for us to pick up later) they NEED to let the person go. even If they didn't handcuff her and let her use bathroom etc. 4 hrs is RIDICULOUS for a store detention prior to police arrival. FULL STOP. END OF STORY

  • ||

    I don't understand how people can be so willing to stand around and take this shit. If it had been me and the store was unwilling to take restitution for my mistake I wouldn't have waited around until the police came, I would have just left and let the store try to get the cops to come after me.
    Heck I refuse to show my receipt when leaving Walmart and its like. Darn near evertime the clerks threatens to call the cops on me. Even when the police have been parked in front of the store.

  • ||

    The law is that IF the store security has PC to detain you for a crime (note they need PC not reasonable suspicion) and you resist, you just upped the charge from mere theft to ROBBERY. that is pretty much an automatic arrest, as it is a felony. The detention by store security must be reasonable, based onPC AND nlike cops, they do not have civil immunity.

    Most store security, knowing this, make sure they have very strong PC before physically restraining . Usually, they have all the PC on video when we get there, multiple witnesses, etc. and iris a slam dunk case. Store security in most states, or any agent acting as such absolutely has the right to detain for crimes committed on their property, as all private property owners do... As long as they act "reasonably". I have responded to at least a half dozen cases in the couple of years where private homeowners detained people at gunpoint with no complaint from us.

  • ||

    Sure, BUT, it took the local cops 4 hours to get there - obviously it wasn't a high priority. How much more effort would they be willing to put in to track this woman down?

  • ||

    That itself is UnReasonble, The store is absolutely wrong to hold her that long, the police have no legal duty to respond more quickly. The store as the people holdicng her DID have a duty IMO not to xtend it unreasonably for a nonviolent misdemeanor AT MOST.

  • robc||

    If it is unreasonable, at what point can you just walk out? 1 hour?

  • ||

    That's a tough question. I'd ask to use a phone. Call the local police yourself and explain the situation. Frankly, the longer you get held the better your chances to wn your civil suit. No easy answer. No bright line, but 4 hrs IMO opens them up to liability PERIOD

  • ||

    ""but 4 hrs IMO opens them up to liability PERIOD""

    How so if they are waiting for the authorities to arrive?

  • ||

    Because that is not a "get out of liability card" given an UNreasonable detention. It is, at best, a factor in the totality of circumstances, IMO, it's CLEARLY EXECESSIVE/UNREASONABLE based on the totality, to wit not the best fucking PC, a nonviolent apparently cooperative misdemeanant, no apparent ID issues, etc. It's called TOTALITY OF THE CIRCUMSTANCES and it is how REASONABLENESS is determined under the law. We DEA, with it all the fucking time

  • ||

    It will be interesting to see how it plays out. But part of the totality of the circumstances is the cops arriving in a non-timely fasion for whatever reason not known to the store manager.

    The whole 4 hours as unreasonable is your opinion. I would be more inclined to agree if the store manger knew in advance how long it was going to take. But sometimes you're thinking any minute they will show up. Next thing you know 4 hours went by. It might be that the store manager wouldn't have played that way knowing it would take that long.

  • ||

    ""the police have no legal duty to respond more quickly""

    That maybe true. But it still the cop's fault for them taking their time. At what point is the store expected to say, oh well, we are not going to do anything. A store detaining you because they are going to have you arrested, then letting you go 4 hours later without charges sounds ripe for a civil suit. No?

  • ||

    It is not in evidence tha the cops were "taking their time" . You have no idea what other details they were tied up with. Like I said, thisshit happens all the time. Walmart et al catches a shoplifter, they call us. If we get tied up... They... Wait for... RELEASE THE PERSON. happens all the fucking time, but stop assuming shit not in evidence.

  • ||

    ""but stop assuming shit not in evidence.""

    Did that strike a particular nerve? I meant that they took a lot of time to get there, I'm didn't mean to imply they were lazy or indifferent to the call.

  • ||

    Entirely unshocking to me... I am a former Hawaii cop. It is a left wing nannystate extraordinaire. This sounded like "the stupid" all the way around, yes, technically in Hawaii a shoplifting arrest is a "citizen's arrest" and the police are just acting as agents of the store... However, at least when I worked there we DID have discretion to NOT take a citizens arrest ESPECIALLY if it would seem, as here, that there may not have been criminal intent ... Intent is the essence of the law . But then, I did not work HPD.

    To what extent , the blame lies w/Safeway vs. HPD vs. CPU I don't know, but it sounds like idiocy all the way down the line.

    This wasn't a clear cut case, She didn't jam the sandwiches down her pants and walk out the door. If safeway insists on being assmunches. , you refuse the CA, Release the mom, and tell them you will refer the case to prosecutor''s. Safeway does have the right to have the woman formally trespassed, with the understanding that if she comes back in violation of that CIVIL notice, she can be arrested for trespass, and she has every right to contact the media and explain what horse's asses Safeway etc. are

  • ||

    She didn't jam the sandwiches down her pants and walk out the door.

    So it's ok to jam sandwiches into your mouth and not pay, just not your pants? Right.

  • ||

    Neither is "ok". One is far more strong evidence of intent, though. PC reasonableness, etc as I try to explain are based on TOTALITY OF THE CIRCUMSTANCES... She did not confess intent to store security and she made no apparent moves to conceal her eating of the sandwich, That is much less compelling evidence of intent than stuffing it inside your pants

  • ||

    Sorry, but I was taught that you never use or consume something before you'd paid for it. Granted, the store over-reacted. But this whole incident could have been avoided if only the customer had employed a little common sense.

  • ||

    You've obviously never been a caregiver for a toddler, Danno.

  • ||

    Why's that matter? I expect the same behavior of kids that I do of adults. Besides, it was the mother (the person who should know better) who was at fault here. Not one of her kids.

  • ||

    I pray that you never have been, Tonio.

    You are actually supposed to, you know, say "no" to them.

    A man who does not discipline his son hates him

  • kinnath||

    Grow up; be the adult; not that fucking hard to do.

  • Paul||

    You've obviously never been a caregiver for a toddler, Danno.

    I dunno, I was a caregiver spermdonor parent for a toddler and I don't allow consumption of packaged food in the stoor until we've paid for it.

    But I'm kind of a prick like that.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Book 'em.

  • ||

    If even Dunphy disagrees with you, you're beyond being reasoned with. Danno, meet WI; WI, Danno.

  • ||

    Those are not mutually exclusive, I didn't say the woman was "correct" for consuming the stuff before she left the store. I said that there was ample reason to assume no criminal intent and this, it was ridiculous that it got this far. Did store security have the right to detain her pending police arrival? Yes

  • ||

    ""I said that there was ample reason to assume no criminal intent and this, it was ridiculous that it got this far.""

    We prosecute all shoplifters equally.

    ""Did store security have the right to detain her pending police arrival? Yes""

    Then what grounds would they have to sue?

    Could it have been handled differently, sure. But sometimes it's company policy the store manager must follow else risk losing his/her job.

    It's expensive tutition to learn it's not smart to consume something which is not yours. She may have intended to pay, but she didn't. Therefore she set herself up to be at the mercy of company policy regarding theft.

  • ||

    Again, the 4 hr detention was unreasonable imnsho, Read my other posts on this topic. Again, we have times when we cannot respond in a timely manner to Walmart et al for shoplift details. They RELEASE the person and turn in their report (and videotape usually) later. That's how it works when you are not a fucking moron

  • ||

    Did the store over-react? Of course. But this situation would have never arisen if the mother hadn't foolishly eaten something before paying for it. This isn't the first time I've heard of this happening to someone, so I understand it's a gamble and would never do it.

  • ||

    So apparently you never ate at a restaurant.

  • ||

    so you have never been to a restaurant before?

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    Sorry, but I was taught that you never use or consume something before you'd paid for it.

    You've never eaten at a restaurant, I take it?

    Dumbass.

  • ||

    Of course, a supermarket is just a restaurant you wander through with a cart, gorging as you go and paying when you're full! How foolish of me not to realize restaurants and supermarkets are exactly the same!

  • ||

    you just said eating before consuming is stealing, but now you want to back out of that statement?

  • ||

    I get bills from my gas, electric and water companies every month, reminding me to pay for the resources I consumed the previous month.

    I'm going to take a wild guess here that Danno was the store manager.

  • ||

    Of course, one rule applies to everything! How foolish of me to not realize life is so perfect and simple. Consumers should make all the rules, and businesses should be forced to go along with them. Got it.

  • ||

    And when I don't pay my bill, my utilities will send me another reminder and probably a couple more. Then, they'll take me to court for my non-payment and seek a judgement and a lein.

    Better that they just come and lock me up when the check gets lost in the mail.

  • Supreme Generalissimo Fluffy||

    The Price Chopper near me has prepared food, a salad bar, self-serve bagel bar, and seating to eat.

    So there at least, yeah, a supermarket is in fact a restaurant.

  • ||

    So there at least, yeah, a supermarket is in fact a restaurant.

    And who gets to decide? The store owner or the customer? Also, do you pay for the food first? Ever been to the cafeteria? They must exist in some alternate universe where you pay for your food before you consume it?

    As Danno mentioned, can I go into McDonalds and grab food and eat it before paying for it? Cause restaurants let you do it?

  • Supreme Generalissimo Fluffy||

    If McDonald's takes my money and fails to give me every item I pay for, can I detain everyone at the store at gunpoint and call the cops?

    The day I can do that, I'll cut the Safeway people some slack here.

  • Supreme Generalissimo Fluffy||

    And who gets to decide?

    I think the wide range of different delivery and service options we've covered in this thread alone pretty much demonstrates that you can't just assume that everyone should know how a particular institution does its selling.

    Did Safeway get this woman to sign a disclosure acknowledging receipt of their shopping rules? No?

    How about soda fountain stations in the eating area of fast food restaurants? To save on labor costs and speed up transactions, fast food restaurants now make customers get their own damn drinks. One problem, of course, is that some chains allow all customers free drink refills and some don't. So you tell me - is it reasonable for a chain that doesn't allow free refills to watch a customer take a refill, wait for them to drink it (while saying nothing) and then have security grab them and hold them for arrest when they leave?

  • ||

    Well, you are the who said you were "taught that you never use or consume something before you'd paid for it." Sounds like you're the one who doesn't make distinctions between restaurants and stores.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    Did the cops follow her home and shoot her dog for good measure?

  • Spoonman.||

    FYI, Jacob, if you shop at Tom Thumb (you live in Dallas right?) that's also Safeway.

    Randall's in Houston is the same and their stores are pretty annoying. Oldest eggs ever.

  • Paul||

    The national supermarket chain said it was looking into the incident. "It was never our intent to separate a mother from her child.

    Bone to pick: Safeway didn't take anybody's children away. There's another agency with the power to do that, but its name isn't coming to mind.

    Leszczynski called the incident "so horrifying, it seemed to escalate and no one could say, 'this is too much.'"

    Welcome to modern day America, where everyone follows procedure, and no one uses discretion or common sense.

  • ||

    Welcome to reason.com where the ignorati believes that anecdotes prove NOBODY ever acts contrary to the way they did here, the very point is that if this cascade of idiocy did not occur you never would have heard about it, just like the scores of thousands of times shoppers, cops, and/or store security deals with incidents. Histrionics is par for the course I realize. This case IS atrocious, it is also UNusual, which is why it's here.

  • ||

    I haven't seen any cop-bashing on this thread, just outrage AT THIS PARTICULAR INCIDENT -- what was THAT for?

  • ||

    It was in response to the histrionic nonsense that starts with "welcome to modern day America" by Paul

  • ||

    Except there's pretty much every justification imaginable for Paul saying that. But sure.

  • ||

    No, there is not, Literally scores of thousands of routine shoplift incidents get handled by security cops etc. every year. I work with cops who have walmarts in their district who sometimes deal with 4 or more a week. No problem. Most big stores like walmart contract out to pretty well trained contract store security agents who are very well schooled in liability concerns and to when in doubt, err on the side of caution. They are almost always unarmed and quite reasonable. These CLEARLY were not. 4 hrs is FULL STOP unreasonable

  • robc||

    one instance justifies Pual's comment.

  • ||

    The exception makes the rule?

  • ||

    No, it doesn't ...he histrionicallyclaimed , and I quote "everyone does" this, so ONE incident is far from proof, Hth

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    This was a bad business decision on the part of the Safeway manager. Now the chain has to expend energy on damage control, since most consumers will most likely find this ridiculous.

  • ||

    "That's the part I find disturbing. They had to wait four hours at the store before being arrested."

    Union-secured Donut Hour can't be compromised, you see? Fuck the job!

    "Did the cops follow her home and shoot her dog for good measure?"

    +1

  • Paul||

    In defense of the cops (in this rare case) they were hopefully too busy out dealing with real crimes.

    Safeway's store management should have used discretion here, and they failed utterly in this regard. Surely they know the difference between a real shoplifter and an absent-minded parent who eats stuff in the store before paying for it (which as a Parent I never allowed because I was always afraid there'd be some kind of situation where-- and this is just an example, but where I would forget to pay for something, and then I'd be answering to shoplifting charges... but this is totally a hypothetical-- just an example).

  • ||

    That IMO is Prima Facie unreasonable. Store security Does have the right to detain onPC and under HI law she must submit... However, a 4 hr detention was IMO CLEARLY UNreasonable if that's how long it took cops to arrive. Store security could write the report, photo her, and let her go, cops come later and take the report. In many jurisdiction store security sends the cases directly to prosecutor's no cops needed as long as they have good I'd on the suspect. If the cops were too busy to respond w/in 30 or at max 45 minutes, IMO the store security should have released her. That is what any civil liability conscious agency would do IMO

  • Raston Bot||

    I imagine thousands of bored moms from across the country are ripping Safeway customer service several new ones right now.

  • ||

    As they should. The four thing is absolutely 100 percent inexcusable. No store in their right mind would hold somebody prior to police arrival for a nonviolent misdemeanor that long. Se should sue BIGTIME. PERIOD. FULL STOP.

  • Raston Bot||

    I know. It's deserved. Still, makes me shudder at the thought. Like great whites tearing into a whale carcass.

  • ||

    I agree, obviously the thing with the kid was a typical government debacle (aided by private industry, as it so often is).

    As for the shoplifting, as the manager (or even owner) I'd be inclined to give them the benefit of the doubt. But the #1 excuse people use when they get caught shoplifting, is that they forgot to pay for the item. If you let everyone go who used that excuse, your profits would evaporate and your store would close.

    There's no way to know who's telling the truth or not. As with kinnath's story above, the only real way to know is to have developed a prior relationship with that customer. Sometimes consumer loyalty has its benefits, as does shopping with local businesses...the kind where the owner is in the store most of the time.

    I'm glad that nobody seems to be saying that because someone is in the service, they should be given things for free, or automatically exonerated of any suspicion.
    But of course I'm reading this at Reason, I doubt that situation obtains at other sites.

  • ||

    I am telling you they absolutely had the right to detain her. They did not have the right to do so for 4 hrs and I hope they get their arse ripped for that in court. As a subjective matter, they should have used common sense, and either wrote the report and released her (turn it over to cops later or prosecutors) or just trespassed her ( given her written notice she was no longer allowed to be on property) and/or said "this sounds like an honest mistake. Pay for the sandwiches and please if you are going to do this again. At LEAST notify a cashier or pay for it first or something. "

    A 4 hr detention is IMO FULL STOP CIVILLY ACTIONABLE, PERIOD. IT's insane

  • robc||

    Any chance of criminal action? kidnapping maybe?

    I mean, we cant go making exception for Safeway because they didnt mean to kidnap.

  • ||

    Again, mens rea and intent matters. It is one thing to prove in a civil court by a preponderance of evidence to a majority of jurors that Safeway unreasonably restrained her based on the time restrained, nature of the offense suspected,etc. It is another thing entirely to prove beyond a reasonable doubt unanimously to 12 jurors that the detainers had the criminal intent requisite for unlawful imprisonment. Those are very different things

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    As with kinnath's story above, the only real way to know is to have developed a prior relationship with that customer.

    Or perhaps the idea that someone who already paid 50 dollars for groceries would have no motive or benefit to shoplift a 5 dollar sandwich.

  • ||

    Exactly. And often, store security have their own databases of people etc. and share even with other store's. Did they REALLY THINK she had any criminal intent here? I mean, c'mon,

  • ||

    Or perhaps the idea that someone who already paid 50 dollars for groceries would have no motive or benefit to shoplift a 5 dollar sandwich.

    Um, what? 10% is a pretty good rate of return.

  • SFC B||

    I think the difference between "shoplifter claiming they forgot to pay" and "absent-minded parent" is the latter come back in to try and pay.

    If the clerk had flagged the manager who then stopped the mother outside of the store to say she left without paying and they were going to call the cops it would be one thing. This is the person coming back in and saying "I'm an idiot and forgot to pay for this".

  • ||

    There's no indication in the original article that she returned to the store voluntarily and offered to pay. It sounds like she got stopped by security guards on the way out (though that's not explicitly made clear).

    If she really had voluntarily returned to the store I can't imagine she and the reporter wouldn't have played up that fact.

  • ||

    I agree. That sounds like a reasonable conclusion

  • kinnath||

    Perhaps it's a generational thing.

    When you pick up something in a store, it's still owned by the store until you pay for it.

    It's not a restaurant; you're not being served with the expectation of payment at the end of a meal.

    It's not just food either. I don't open any package before I pay for it.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    It may be a question of etiquette, but I think we can agree that a breach of etiquette should involve the threat of imprisonment and taking one's children away, right?

  • kinnath||

    For me it's more than etiquette. You haven't concluded the transaction; it's not your property.

    But yes, the store manager was completely fucking stupid to press charges in this case.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    You haven't concluded the transaction; it's not your property.

    I don't think we disagree there; however, I would say that on Solon would argue that one shouldn't be given the opportunity to complete that transaction before charging them with any sort of theft.

  • ||

    They were given the opportunity to complete the transaction when they went through the checkout counter.

    If there's no penalty for getting caught stealing beyond having to pay for the item, then you're rewarding stealing. If you make it out without getting caught, you win. If you don't, you tie.

  • kinnath||

    Also note, that once the manager decided to have the couple arrested there was little the police could do.

  • Cliché Bandit||

    I would like to point out that I open egg catons to make sure the eggs arent broken and I always check boxed merchandise in other stores to insure everything is included (unless shrink wrapped then I assume I will be ok BUT i ahve been screwed by that before too)

  • ||

    A round of a applause to everyone involved. The parents for not being able to wait a few minutes because they were "famished" - near death I suppose from not eating for weeks, which explains why they forgot to pay...

    The store for being dicks for not simply letting them pay after they told them about their mistake. There clearly was no intention to steal so no real crime?

    The police for putting them in jail and handing the daughter over to Child Welfare Services. Although that's probably the safest choice given the kinds of parents/families police usually deals with...

    The sandwiches must have been pretty awesome though, at 2.50$ each.

  • squishua||

    Famished, the former Air Force staff sergeant picked up the two sandwiches that together cost $5. She openly munched on one while they shopped, saving the wrapper to be scanned at the register later.

    But they forgot to pay for the sandwiches as they checked out with about $50 worth of groceries....


    The consequences were overblown, but the author seems to be making excuses for her with that final "forgot to pay" part. Believe it or not, there really are people who routinely mac down on deli food while shopping and INTENTIONALLY "forget" to give the cashier the wrapper.

    A friend of mine does this every time he goes to Safeway or Albertson's - he gets a chicken tender or potato wedges, eats them while he shops, then either ditches or pockets the wrapper. Many here will be shocked, SHOCKED, to learn he pays for the other stuff he picks up, which could easily be $40-$50.

  • kinnath||

    Why is he still your friend?

  • squishua||

    Um, because I don't give a shit if he gets himself into trouble, mommy?

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    cool anecdote, bro.

  • ||

    How unsanitary, eating food in a supermarket. All the shopping carts are covered in years of filth for starters.

  • Robert||

    Right. Get the filth home and then eat it.

  • ||

    Wash your hands and eat off a clean surface.

  • Robert||

    Yesterday I had 2 prescriptions filled at Rite Aid. They were having some trouble at the prescription counter, requiring someone from another part of the store come to OK transactions. When they got to me after some delay I used a debit card, and one of the people behind the counter said to do something so that I, the customer could leave. That being one, I left.

    A few hours later they phoned me frantically saying their cash register was short the amount of my transaction at closing, and could I come and pay while they kept the place open for me? I said I didn't have enough cash for that. A few mins. later they called again saying that was OK, I could use my debit card. I really didn't feel like going out to do them that favor, but I did. When I got there, they didn't act in the least apologetic, and I tried to work out some sort of compensation; for one thing, I didn't think I needed the full vial of drugs, so could I sell them some back? But they laughed and said no, and the pharmacy was closed anyway. I'm really poor right now, owing money on rent and health insurance and utilities while expecting a payment that's been delayed, and I asked to split the amount owed with the employee whose head was in the noose for this. They reacted with contempt. I was entirely too nice a guy about it and let my debit card be used for cash in the amount they'd mistakenly rung up earlier. Fortunately a check with my bank revealed that I had not been debited for the previous amount.

  • Supreme Generalissimo Fluffy||

    My question is how they knew she didn't pay.

    Obviously they had to have seen her before she left the store.

    Why not have the cashier say, "Did you pay for that sandwich?

    To me, this is like watching someone who put toilet paper in the rack under the cart walk through the checkout counter and forget to get it scanned, and continuing to watch them as they leave the store - while refraining from saying, "Hey, you forgot the toilet paper!" - and pouncing on them when they leave the store.

    REAL shoplifters hide shit all over their bodies, or change bar code tags on big-ticket items, or walk in with receipts from a previous purchase and grab the same item. They don't eat a sandwich and then walk out with the wrapper in the child's seat of their cart.

  • squishua||

    My question is how they knew she didn't pay.


    Store security usually works like this: the security guard observes people and notices they eat something / stuff it in their pockets or whatever. He watches them go though the checkout and if they don't pay for it, he stops them when they try to go through the exit. Only then do the clerks and managers find out about it.

  • Supreme Generalissimo Fluffy||

    Well if that's the case I want to amend my above scenarios to say that I should be allowed to note in real time that a cashier is making a mistake in ringing up my order - but rather than bring it to her attention or complain to a manager, I should be allowed to smile evilly and let her complete the sale, then walk out of the store, and then come back with a gun and handcuffs, arrest everyone, and make them sit around for however long it takes the police to decide to show up.

  • ||

    This happens all the time at stores that have a "correct price guarantee" which gives you double the money back or whatever if you're overcharged for an item. Nothing wrong with smiling evilly and letting someone hang themselves.

    There's also the possibility that:
    (a) the store doesn't want to piss off people who (illegally) do what Matt was discussing, and
    (b) they have persistent problems with people doing this, and feel the need to punish shopeaters beyond merely having to pay the price that everyone else does.

  • Supreme Generalissimo Fluffy||

    I don't want my money back.

    I want them arrested.

    Safeway wouldn't take this customer's money after the fact.

    So fuck the store, fuck the cashier, and fuck the store manager. I don't want a refund, I want them arrested.

    Oh but wait - that's not reasonable. Right?

  • ||

    In most states the law says that as soon as you conceal an item in a store, you've committed shoplifting. They don't have to wait for you to leave the store.

    Now it's possible that stores don't enforce it that strictly because they don't want to unnecessarily piss off customers, but they don't have to wait by law.

  • Supreme Generalissimo Fluffy||

    That can't be true in any state where there's an Aldi.

  • Supreme Generalissimo Fluffy||

    And in case anyone wonders why that can't be true, it's because Aldi doesn't provide free shopping carts or grocery bags, and actively encourages customers to bring their own cloth bags in to be used both as shopping "basket" and as checkout "bag". You walk through the aisles, putting stuff into your cloth bag, and then take the stuff out to pay at the checkout.

    Strictly speaking, every last item shopped for in this way is "concealed" for part of the time it's in the store.

    Any such law as Tulpa describes is just another example of the myriad ways in which economic actors who unilaterally assert that they are "stores" suddenly gain all sorts of transactional rights that other participants in its exchanges don't have. Retail stores and hotels are as bad as unions when it comes to usurping transactional privileges that spit in the face of equality and liberty.

  • ||

    While this is correct, most loss prevention agencies, by policy will still wait until they leave the store, or at least pass the registers. Furthermore, most require their agents to maintain "constant surveillance" from the time the concealment is made until the person goes past the registers. In California, if you enter the store with a concealment box (fake bottom) and stuff items inside they will charge you with burglary since they can prove intent to commit the crime w/in was made before you entered, Different law fromWA. regardless, yes... Most penal codes consider concealing with the intent to avoid payment as a crime, although as I said loss prevention agents around here are concerned with liability and cost/benefit analysis. One BAD incident or costly lawsuit trumps hundreds of good cases

  • ||

    When I take my two younger daughters to the grocery store, they sometimes pick a snack off the shelves and share it while we shop.

    I call this stealing.

  • ||

    Let me add:

    When you pick up something in a store, it's still owned by the store until you pay for it.

    It's not a restaurant; you're not being served with the expectation of payment at the end of a meal.

    It's not just food either. I don't open any package before I pay for it.

    as said by Kinnath above.

    Having said that, Safeway went overboard. I agree with Dunphy's analysis. Sure Safeway had the right to approach them and perhaps maintain them long enough to to trespass them for a non-violent misdemeanor. But after a certain time, this became kidnapping and I hope Safeway learned their lesson.

  • robc||

    this became kidnapping and I hope Safeway learned their lesson.

    If by learned your lesson, you mean felony charges for the store manager, if you think its kidnapping, then I agree.

  • A Serious Man||

    I work at a grocery store, failing to make sure the customer has paid for everything is generally the cashier's fault. Last time something like this happened at my store the manager gave the customer a $5 discount coupon for their honesty. It's not rocket science to figure out the most rational course of action in a case like this.

  • ||

    It's the cashier's fault that they didn't know the woman had clandestinely eaten a sandwich in a faraway section of the store and stuffed the wrapper in her purse?

  • ||

    That's horse shit. Detaining a criminal for the authorities when you have evidence of their crime is not kidnapping, I don't care how long it takes.

  • Supreme Generalissimo Fluffy||

    Right, but I know you don't believe that.

    If you believed that, you would back me up 100% if I went into a McDonald's with a gun and detained everybody if the drive-thru clerk didn't give me my fries.

    But you wouldn't back me up. You'd say, "WAH! Fluffy, that's not reasonable!"

    But if the Safeway people don't have to worry about what's reasonable, why the fuck should I have to?

  • ||

    Again, that's not stealing. McDonalds didn't take anything from you and hide the evidence.

  • Supreme Generalissimo Fluffy||

    Dude, they took my money.

    The money and the item are absolutely equal halves of a single transaction.

    That's the whole point of having a price.

    That's the essence of each and every sale that has ever happened, ever.

    This sandwich = that five dollar bill.

    They're the same.

    Taking the sandwich without giving McDonald's their five dollar bill is exactly the same (without limitation or exception) as taking my five dollar bill and not giving me the sandwich.

    Would it be theft for me to walk into McDonald's and take their fries and not give them $1.50?

    If so, then it's theft for them to take my $1.50 and give me no fries.

    It HAS to be, unless we're just going to openly declare that the sellers of physical items have rights, but the people walking around paying money for physical items have no rights.

  • ||

    +1

  • ||

    Indeed. I remember "sampling" some pistachios while my mom was shopping and as soon as she saw what I was doing she grabbed me by the arm, left the cart in the fruit section, and dragged me to the customer service desk to make me confess to stealing and pay for the nuts. Needless to say I never did it again.

    Not to impugn Mr Welch's parenting, but that's a behavior that really shouldn't be tolerated in little kids.

  • Supreme Generalissimo Fluffy||

    Right, but now you can't do that.

    On the basis of this Safeway's action, it wouldn't be safe for me to do that.

    Whatever object lesson I would be imparting I'd have to impart by giving my kid a solid ass-kicking at home, after the fact.

    Because bringing what the kid was doing to the attention of Safeway would get him a juvenile criminal record.

    I now know I can't use the occasion to teach my kid a lesson and set him straight, because the Safeway won't assist me in doing so. They will choose instead of deploy the full weight of the criminal justice system against a child, and the cost imposed there will so grossly outweigh the actual offense that I would be forced to help him evade Safeway's clutches.

  • solid ass-kicking||

    Civilization Culture is enforced by violence, starting very young.

  • tom harvey||

    Isn't there a strain of libertarian who would say: why involve the police? The party that has harmed you (slightly, and almost certainly inadvertently) is sitting right in front of you, willing to negotiate restitution. Work it out privately!

  • ||

    We don't know all the details here. Have these people been making the same "mistake" over and over again? Have other people been making this "mistake"?

    Those of us with good paying jobs who sit at a computer and argue with strangers on the net might think $5 is a trifle, but for a lot of people it's not.

    And there's no evidence the offenders were willing to negotiate. Offering to pay for something you just got caught stealing is not negotiation. It's perfectly reasonable to expect some penalty to discourage such behavior in the future.

  • Supreme Generalissimo Fluffy||

    Offering to pay for something you just got caught stealing is not negotiation. It's perfectly reasonable to expect some penalty to discourage such behavior in the future.

    Well, then, when a store makes an error and overcharges me, if the manager offers to refund my money I should be entitled to say, "Offering to pay back what you just got caught stealing is not negotiation," and have the store cashier and/or manager arrested.

  • ||

    The difference is that the store didn't steal anything from you. They told you an amount to pay for the items and you voluntarily paid it.

    If it didn't match the sum total of the price tags that were on the items when you took them off the shelf, that's on you for not keeping track. Maybe you could sue them for fraud or false advertising or something like that, but it's not a criminal matter.

    Now, if they said you had to pay $6, you gave them a $20, and they only gave you back $4, then you'd have a criminal complaint and could have them arrested.

  • Supreme Generalissimo Fluffy||

    Now, if they said you had to pay $6, you gave them a $20, and they only gave you back $4, then you'd have a criminal complaint and could have them arrested.

    Except I couldn't have them arrested, because the police would refuse to make any such arrest.

    I double dog dare defy you to produce any evidence that any store employee or manager has been arrested for such a crime anywhere in the US in the last twenty years.

    Because it doesn't matter if a store steals from you - because all citizens are equal, but some are more equal than others.

    If it didn't match the sum total of the price tags that were on the items when you took them off the shelf, that's on you for not keeping track.

    That's not actually true in any of the states I've ever lived in.

    The price tag is considered an open offer to sell.

    If I swap price tags and get the cashier to charge me a lower price, that's considered theft.

    If it's theft to trick the cashier into charging me less, it's theft for the store to trick me into paying more.

  • ||

    Yes, but you'd have to show intent. This woman didn't unintentionally consume the sandwich which belonged to another.

    They could have arrested her as soon as she unwrapped the sandwich.

  • Supreme Generalissimo Fluffy||

    Not if I could show that they ever, even once, accepted payment from any customer for an item consumed while shopping.

  • ||

    Bullshit. The fact that you've let lawbreakers off in the past does not mean you have to do so forever.

    If I punch you in the arm every day for a year, and then suddenly on the 366th day you punch me in the face when I do it, does that mean you've committed assault?

  • Supreme Generalissimo Fluffy||

    Wrong.

    It means that you have established that you previously did not consider it theft if someone ate an item and paid you for it after eating it.

    As has been covered elsewhere in this thread, there are plenty of venues in the US where you eat first and pay before leaving. If you have let other people eat first and then pay before leaving, and you don't have from me a signed statement saying I understand that's no longer your rule, exactly how do you have a reasonable expectation that I'll know that's not your rule?

  • ||

    The whole eat first pay later, pay first eat later is a red herring. Tell me about the place that will let you eat and leave the establishment without paying.

    They may not have you arrested, but you past the threshold for what's considered theft if they want to push the issue.

  • WE NEED GOVERNMENT...||

    ...TO PROTECT OUR PROPERTY RIGHTS!

    Food under Lock and Key is property.

    So don't eat, unless you have wage slave tokens to pay.

    "The free market means that those without money to buy what they need do not have the right to live." - John McMurtry

  • ||

    While I think this is overreaching by both Safeway and the government, I absolutely ABHOR this practice and condemn people who eat things they pick up without paying for them. It's stealing! It isn't yours yet, you haven't paid for it. If you're so famished, go pay for it first, keep the receipt and then eat while you shop. I totally agree with Kinnath on that score.

  • ||

    That makes three.

    Having worked at a convenience store during the leaner times of the late 90s, it was astounding how often people "forgot" to pay for things they grabbed off the shelf. It's like we had one of those flashy things from MiB installed on the beer cooler.

  • ||

    Lol ... Points for stylr

  • 16th amendment||

    I wonder how much it costs the cops to arrest her and store the kid. No problem. They can put another measure on the November ballot to save our police and social services.

  • Food under lock and key...||

    “The agricultural revolution just consisted of doing something full-time that people had been doing part-time for thousands of years. The real innovation of our revolution wasn’t growing the food, it was locking it up. Your revolution would have ground to a halt without that feature. It would grind to a halt today without that feature. There’s only one way you can force people to accept an intolerable lifestyle. You have to lock up the food.”

    Food Under Lock and Key
    ~Daniel Quinn
    www.lejournalmural.be/english-.....lla-1.html

  • Civilization = Prison||

    “As long as the food remains under lock and key, the prison runs itself. The governing that you see is the prisoners governing themselves."

    ~Daniel Quinn
    Prison
    www.lejournalmural.be/english-.....ntent.html

  • CalvinistCapitalism = Religion||

    If any would not wage slave, neither should he eat.

    ~2 Thessalonians 3:10

    Wage Slaves, obey your earthly masters with deep respect and fear. Serve them sincerely as you would serve Christ.

    ~Ephesians 6:5

    Christians who are wage slaves should give their masters full respect so that the name of God and his teaching will not be shamed.

    ~1 Timothy 6:1

    I will not content myself to answer, that if it be difficult to make out property, upon a supposition that God gave the world to Adam, and his posterity in common, it is impossible that any man, but one universal monarch, should have any property upon a supposition, that God gave the world to Adam, and his heirs in succession, exclusive of all the rest of his posterity.

    ~John Locke, On Property

  • ||

    Boycott Safeway. I will not shop there anymore. Too many other places to buy food than Safeway. Which is not safe at all. Houghton said in another article that Safeway will review the police report and video to determine if there will be any charges filed. Mail in your safeway cards. Bastards.

  • Boycott Capitalism||

    Because the police protected property.

    Weird shit at Reason some days.

  • squishua||

    Maybe the Kochtopus owns shares of Kroger.

  • Copernicus||

    in Hawaii the word Aloha has many meanings Hello, Goodbye, Love, respect, etc.

    Apparently it also means: "Fuck you, make a mistake and we own you, bitch"

  • ||

    We'll see who owns who. I wouldn't be surprised if this woman makes out far better than Safeway does, when this shit is over and done with

  • ||

    Nowhere in these comments have I seen a mention of the husband. The wife had the excuse of forgetfulness due to pregnancy. What was the husband's excuse. You would think at least one of them would remember. Though I agree that Safeway could've handled the situation better, the couple is not blameless. She should've paid for the sandwiches before eating them. Mistakes made all around.

  • cynical||

    His mistake is that he was a man, and completely zoned out in between leaving the car and returning to it. I can attest to this from experience. I'll pay attention to the little one, but the shopping itself I pretty much ignore.

  • Copernicus||

    Why was the husband arrested? The arrest of both parents led to the calling of Child Protetion, etc. etc.

    The wife should have remained to wait for the cops (or not). The husband should have taken the kids home to watch Spongebob.

  • ||

    I blame the idiots who actually waited four hours for the cops to show up as if the safeway could place them under arrest.

  • ||

    If you want to eat a sandwich in the store without paying, here's how you do it.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=43Cg-ggsVC4

  • ||

    I am from Canada. Do they have compassion ? Did they consider for a child ? it was a big deal for Safe Way ? it will become big deal for a family future? We would like to know the name of the Mananger and his family background ? Passionate customers should gathering in front of Store. We denounce their kindless heart.

  • ||

    Unlawful detainment...they should sue

  • ||

    Update.

    Safeway drops the charges

    http://entertainment.verizon.c.....hp?rip_id=&ps=1020&page=2

  • Zuo||

    Danno is right in this thread. This stupid haole bitch never had any intention of paying. All you douchebags trying to defend this piece of waste are pathetic left-wing cunts, with no respect for the most basic tenet of libertarianism. If some fat white bitch with smelly kids wandered into your garage sale, and wandered off with some items without paying, would you be so willing to believe she "just forgot"? Or is it only the eviiiiil corparashunz who are supposed to let a bunch of shit-brained lowlifes to tread all over their property rights?

  • ||

    Well, this is like claiming the Castle Doctrine to make stepping on my lawn a capitol offense. Ya never know - some jerk with a dog was just here crapping in the yard, and I'm sick of cleaning it up.

    It's the same kind of stupidity that makes it standard procedure to send the SWAT team in to shoot the family dog when delivering a warrant for an unpaid parking ticket.

    At the end of the day, as a single parent, I'm certainly going to consider the consequences of walking into a Safeway/Randalls/Tom Thumb with my kiddos, if I'm risking them going to foster care for 48 hours, plus having to pay a bondsman and hire a defense attorney if the manager and/or the security rent-a-tard decide to be a complete douchebag over a $2.50 sammich.

    Yup, you're in the right to be a jerk about it. My right to see you do it to someone and decide that your competitor is a cheaper and less risky place to shop, otherwise I'm going to make sure that my family is covered when I risk entering your store, have an attorney on retainer, kids at a relatives, etc. (nah, the Randalls here costs 0 more than the HEB for basic groceries, anyway. I already drive past two Randalls and an Albertsons to get to an HEB)

    Yep, I get annoyed at the people who graze in the produce section, with no intention of paying for the grapes they tasted. However, the stores that I've shopped in don't seem to overtly mind (and I've asked when picking up items from the deli) if my kids and I snack on the fries or nuggets in the store).

    HPD deserves a kick in the ass over sending both parents to jail. The arraigning judge should have kicked someone in the ass for being so thickheaded. CPS should have kicked someone in the ass for wasting resources that are needed for real problems, plus the unnecessary trauma to a child.

    This smacks of the zero-tolerance policies that have police arresting kids for making handguns out of cheese sandwiches and saying "bang". It's carried to an unnecessary and unhelpful extreme, and all it does is encourage other douchebags to litigate the crap out of every perceived injury and slight, and I can certainly say we've got too much of that.

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