There are times when I'm at the supermarket and I would like to drink one of the store's drinks before I purchase the drink. Or maybe I want to give my kids something in the store so that they stay calm while I do my shopping. I fully plan on purchasing whatever I eat/drink and I see that it's normal for other people to do this.

The question is: Is this permissible? And if not, is there any way I can do this? (e.g. ask an employee if I may start drinking the drink before I buy it? Maybe an individual employee does not have the right to grant me that right?)

  • 2
    I have often wondered how this is NOT theft.
    – rosends
    Commented Sep 26, 2017 at 16:01
  • 2
    I would advise against doing this anyways - what happens when you get up to the counter and realize you left your wallet at home?
    – ezra
    Commented Sep 26, 2017 at 17:04
  • 3
    @rosends Meshikha is Koneh Deorayta. You've cemented the transaction by taking the object, even if you still have to pay. Remember the store wants you to acquire the items in it. This isn't like taking someone's property against their will intending to pay them back. This is just finalizing the Kinyan earlier than usual.
    – Double AA
    Commented Sep 26, 2017 at 17:49
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    @DoubleAA As noted by rosends, that's only where the daas makneh is as such. If an armed robber takes the merchandise before you check out, would you still pay? If you change your mind about a product, can you put it back on the shelf? (The store owner would presumably rather have money than merchandise, which is why he has a store.)
    – Loewian
    Commented Sep 27, 2017 at 3:43
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    @Loewian I don't agree with 2 at all. If I start drinking something I would never put it back on the shelf. If an armed robber stole it I would be obligated to pay, though I could see how some people would dishonestly decide they wouldn't be caught and so not bring it up in the confusion/aftermath. You are of course right that 1 is less than perfectly clear in many cases.
    – Double AA
    Commented Sep 27, 2017 at 13:59

1 Answer 1


Good question as many are not aware of the Halacha. It depends on the owner's opinion. The source is Shulchan Aruch (Yo"D 359).

So, if it is supermarket policy that it is allowed, you can, otherwise it is a Gzeila. Furthermore the above is true for Goy & Jew owner alike.

However, for supermarkets many Achronim state that the Halacha is that if you raise the product in order to pay you Buy (Kinyan) it with a condition that you would not change your mind before actually paying, since it is fair to say that the supermarket owner agrees.

  • 1
    Where in Shulchan Aruch Yo"D 359 specifically is this case dealt with?
    – Double AA
    Commented Sep 26, 2017 at 17:37
  • @DoubleAA - See "אסור לגזול או לעשוק אפילו כל שהוא, בין מישראל בין מעכו"ם. ואם הוא דבר דליכא מאן דקפיד ביה -- שרי" and not only it is Gzeila if the owner does not agree, even if you intend to pay more than the product's it is forbidden ("אסור לגזול אפילו ע"מ לשלם דבר יפה ממנו " there, mark 2). Commented Sep 26, 2017 at 17:47
  • Which Acharonim are you citing in your last paragraph? That's the only relevant bit here.
    – Double AA
    Commented Sep 28, 2017 at 18:57
  • @DoubleAA - the Psak that after Kinyan by raising (Hagbaha) was made, if one changes his mind before he pays, then the Kinyan is cacnelled "Lemafre'a" can be found in the Netivois Mishpat (Rabbi Yaakov Lorberbaum). Commented Oct 1, 2017 at 5:07
  • Re the last par., I highly doubt this has practical applications, at least in the U.S. Most supermarket aisles are not actively monitored other than by cameras, perhaps, that are rarely live-monitored. Most store owners would suspect your stealing the item if they were watching you do that. I think you'd have to tell the owner you were going to buy it and verbally get his / her permission. I think this could also be a problem of marit ayin, as others may think the store allows free sampling. Esp. if you are "sampling" a loose product such as from a bin of corn chips. (Sanitary probs. too!)
    – DanF
    Commented Aug 3, 2018 at 21:19

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