How Consumers Shop, Steal and Sample

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How Consumers Shop, Steal and Sample


According to a new poll released by, 25 percent of shoppers admit to having stolen from a grocery store, and 36 percent said they tend to “sample” while shopping, with food, candy and gum identified as the items taken most often. These findings imply that rising prices at the grocery store may be a reaction to this consumer behavior.

The poll also revealed that older consumers are more likely than younger consumers to return “extra change” when a cashier makes a mistake. Only 57 percent of those between 13 and 17 said they would return the change, while 96 percent of respondents between 45 and 54 said they would give the money back.

Additional findings from the poll indicate:

  • Sixty percent of shoppers prefer grocery stores, while 19 percent go to mass merchandisers, 6 percent visit warehouses, 4 percent go to a farmer’s market, 3 percent prefer “mom and pop” stores, and 1 percent shop online.
  • Thirty-one percent of respondents use self-checkout lanes, while 69 percent prefer “regular” lanes with a cashier.
  • When asked how often they shop, 36 percent of respondents said they shop once per week, 26 percent a few times per week, 24 percent a few times per month, 6 percent said they shop every day, and 8 percent only go once per month.
  • In terms of preferred payment methods, 25 percent of consumers said they pay with cash, 19 percent with a credit card, 5 percent use food stamps, and 4 percent write checks.
  • When asked “who does the shopping,” 81 percent of women said that they do, while 64 percent of men claim to do the shopping.

Full details of the poll are available on