Either we know of somebody who does this, or we do this ourselves. There is no in-between.

It happens to the best of us. The rookie mistake of going to the grocery store while you're hungry. Walking the aisles while our stomachs are rumbling. Our eyes get bigger than our stomach, and everything starts to look good - even food you've never had or liked before!

Shopping cart in the supermarket
Getty Images

Before you know it, your cart's full of about $100 worth of items more than you were intending to spend!

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A lot of snacks get thrown into the cart and you think "Man would I love to be munching on those right now! Just to take the edge off."

Woman eating tasty potato chips, closeup
Getty Images

Maybe it's that open bag of plump, juicy grapes that you have conveniently placed high up on the child seat of the shopping cart. Maybe it's a bag of chips. Maybe you're bold enough to start chomping on that bag of ready-made fried chicken wings!

So, if you're caught by supermarket employees, could the cops place you in handcuffs if they called them?

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Is it Illegal to eat while shopping in Pennsylvania?

The short answer is no, to a point, according to FindLaw.

The legality depends on the discretion of the shopkeeper, the nature of the food, and the time of purchase.

In the checkout line at the grocery store.
Bruce Mikells

Sure, you could be snacking on a bag of chips in Aisle 6, and they may monitor you on the camera. It's a fairly harmless thing. Just as long as you pay for it before you leave the store, you're not breaking any laws.

It can also depend on the nature of the food. A bag of Lay's chips is one thing, but if you're eating something that's priced depending on weight, that's another thing. If you grabbed yourself a bag of self-serve nuts that are priced by the pound, you can't remove .6 oz by way of your mouth before you pay for it.

This is a common sense thing. You most likely won't get arrested if you end up paying for it before you leave - but don't be obnoxious about it by having a picnic in Aisle 5.

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