SNACK ATTACK: Donovan Bruton,6, grabs a banana while shopping with his mum at the Bli Bli IGA.
SNACK ATTACK: Donovan Bruton,6, grabs a banana while shopping with his mum at the Bli Bli IGA. Warren Lynam

To taste or not to taste? The supermarket dos and don'ts

A BOX of free fruit caters for kid who want something to eat while their parents shop at the Bli Bli IGA but half-eaten bags of grapes presented at the counter tell a different story about the manners of adult customers

To taste or not to taste is one of the great debates of supermarket etiquette. And how much is too much is another one.

The word from IGA Bli Bli manager Regan Jensen and etiquette specialist Patsy Rowe is that tasting, within reason, is okay.

"We have a policy here that if someone wants to try something, we're more than happy to cut something off or let them try a piece of something," Mrs Jensen said.

"(But) There's a difference between someone who genuinely wants to try something and someone who wants to have a feed as they go. Grapes have a high theft rate. You'll see a bag of half-eaten grapes put on the counter.

"As supermarket people, we get a little bit frustrated in the degrees that someone goes to try something."

Mrs Rowe, author of Manners for the Millennium and Business Etiquette, among others, said tasting was okay - "How else are you going to find out?" - as long as it was not excessive.

"It's stealing in a sense but one grape is not going to send Coles to court after you. It would be better if the supermarket put in a tasting box or basket, though."

Mrs Rowe also agreed that testing fruit and vegetables - a squeeze to see if the produce was soft or firm - was within reason but should only be done by genuine buyers and children should be discouraged from touching loose fruit and vegetables for hygiene reasons.

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Do you stick to supermarket etiquette?

She is also not a fan of loose children and said parents were well advised to place young ones, especially toddlers, in trolleys for their own safety.

Mrs Jensen said the free fruit for children while their parents shopped had been working well since it was introduced in the store about four months ago.

"They quite often get to the check-out and hand us a core. It's amazing how many kids are happy to much on an apple or a banana as their parents walk around," she said.

And she said most customers did not take too much liberty with tasting.

"Generally speaking, the majority of our customers are gorgeous and do the right thing. It's only a minority that do the wrong thing."