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Essay About Letting Kids Snack at the Store Without Paying

Confession: I Let My Kids Snack at the Grocery Store Without Paying For It

I have a confession to make: I allow my three kids to snack at the grocery store and not paid for the food. I can hear the police sirens now! But I know I'm not the only mom who justifies this indiscretion once in a while.

Here's the thing: I spend hundreds of dollars at the grocery store every week to feed my big family. No, I don't think this entitles me to steal from the store, but if my kiddo happens to eat a banana every so often, I'm not going to feel guilty that I didn't save the peel and present it at check-out. Or if my children complain that they're starving, as all kids do at the grocery store, and I let them each pick out a bagel to nosh on to save my sanity so I can complete my shopping, I refuse to think I'll go to hell as I swipe my debit card to pay for our $300-plus food bill (minus said bagels).

Sh*t happens, and yeah, I end up saying "yes" to them splitting a muffin in the bakery department . . . after they've asked me 45 times.

It's not like I let my kids eat a few cookies out of a box and then put it back or sneak a full meal as we peruse the aisles. I'm talking about a piece of candy or an apple. And not even during every shop! This is a once-in-a-while occurrence. There have also been countless times I 'fess up to one of my kids already having finished a smoothie or a bag of chips. Whether we end up paying for the orange my little one just had to eat that very second or the two extra gummy worms my oldest sampled before we closed up the bag at the pick-your-own candy bar, well, I guess it all depends on how frazzled I feel by the time I'm done shopping.

I'm not proud of this habit. I'm just keeping it real, and I know tons of moms do the same thing but just won't admit it. And if you've never done it, give it time. Your day will come, probably when your kids have whined from aisles 3 to 13 about how famished they are in between crying incessantly that their tummies hurt from lack of food and bemoaning how they're going to die if they don't eat something NOW. Either that, or you might just open a bottle of wine right there in the store and start chugging.

On the other hand, I do talk to my kids about shoplifting so they know it's serious. In fact, one time one of my kids ratted me out at the register, loudly asking why we weren't paying for a snack she'd inhaled somewhere around the soft drinks section. I'd honestly forgotten about it and ended up fishing the wrapper out of the bottom of the cart so the store clerk could ring it up. "Good catch, honey," I muttered. What I was really thinking: Um, I just shelled out $400 to shop here! Couldn't this store at least offer free cookies for kids?

Bottom line: I don't enter a store thinking about the freebies we can score while we shop. Most of the time, I bring snacks for my kids when we run errands. But they typically finish what I've packed before our car even leaves the driveway. So sh*t happens, and yeah, I end up saying "yes" to them splitting a muffin in the bakery department . . . after they've asked me 45 times. If saving the wrapper so I can pay up another 85 cents on top of my insanely high grocery bill isn't exactly a priority, arrest me. But don't. Because then you'll have to handcuff half of the moms in the country, and I'm pretty sure there are bigger fish to fry. Which, of course, I would pay for . . .

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