Would You Buy A Stranger's Groceries?

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  1. moonlake profile image86
    moonlakeposted 10 years ago

    We were in line at the grocery store and the lady in front of us in one of the motorized carts, had maybe  $40. worth of groceries. Her card wouldn't go though and she said she thought it had money in it, maybe it would have by the next day. She had to put all the food back. We’re just trying not to act like we weren't paying attention. I'm thinking should we pay for her groceries. We get out to the car my husband said that he almost paid for her groceries but didn't know if he should. Worried we would embarrass her.  What do you think we should have done? We thought about her all day.

    1. profile image0
      Sarra Garrettposted 10 years agoin reply to this

      There is nothing like Paying It Forward and helping someone with some groceries.  Maybe those were her groceries for the rest of the week or month.  When you do an unexpected act of kindness for a stranger you have not only made their day but yours as well.  Remember, there are many people who are struggling not unlike myself.  Go with your gut instinct and pay for the groceries.  By thinking about her all day long you felt guilty for not helping out.  That's ok, someone else will come along and when they do and you can help, please help them.  I'm a firm believer in paying it forward, there is nothing wrong with it and it warms the hearts of the people you helped as well as your own.

    2. Jamie Brock profile image87
      Jamie Brockposted 10 years agoin reply to this

      moonlake- the fact that you wanted to help makes you a wonderful person... try not to feel guilty. I commend you for being so kind and caring. I am sure another chance will come along to help.   A couple months ago we had gone to visit my husbands Grandmother one day and she lives about an hour from us. On the way home, my husband said the car was really low in gas so went to go grab my wallet from my purse and it wasn't there...and my husband only had like 5 bucks on him.  We ended up stopping to get gas.. the prices were so high that we were not sure we were going to have enough gas to make it home.. we had already decided to drive the rest the way without the AC on to save every bit of gas we could in order to make it home but apparently, after my husband paid the 5 dollars and took our son to the rest room, the man behind us handed the cashier 10.00 and said to let my husband know when he came back out. As a result of this mans kindness, we were able to make it home worry free AND with the AC in hot Texas summer.  I thanked God for this man.. it was almost like he was an angel, helping us right when we needed it most.  I don't know if we would made it home without running out of gas that day.   I will never forget it.

    3. AEvans profile image76
      AEvansposted 10 years agoin reply to this

      Have had paid for another person's groceries before and always believe we should pay it forward. smile

    4. bac2basics profile image85
      bac2basicsposted 10 years agoin reply to this

      I think you should always help where you can and follow your gut feeling. If this instinct is telling you to help, and you are able to then you must listen to it. What we give to others always comes back in the end. Helping someone in need makes you feel good, not helping as you discovered, worries you for a long time. Next time follow your heart smile

      1. moonlake profile image86
        moonlakeposted 10 years agoin reply to this

        We actually are kind people but we're not forward people. We stay out of people's business so it's hard for us to walk up to a stranger and offer money, but we should have.
        I keep a bag in my pantry that I fill to give to the food pantry in our town.We've always  helped someone or animals.

        1. bac2basics profile image85
          bac2basicsposted 10 years agoin reply to this

          Hi moonlake. I could tell you are kind people otherwise you wouldn´t have been so upset for not offering help. Many would not have given this incident a second thought. Bless your hearts for giving to so many before, animals and people alike. smile

    5. profile image0
      Onusonusposted 10 years agoin reply to this

      My wife has done it in the past and at first I was a little torqued off, but later I got to the point where I sought those people out. The feeling you get by spreading kindness is well worth the 40 bucks.

    6. wtaylorjr2001 profile image60
      wtaylorjr2001posted 10 years agoin reply to this

      I think that your heart was telling you to do what you believe is the right thing. I don't think you would be worrying (thinking) about it if it weren't in your hearts to do it. Know yourself. If you are the kind of person who helps others, then be true to yourself. (yourselves) If something bad comes of it, rest assured that you have reasserted who and what you are; a good person. Please believe me that a good person is valuable in any day and age. If she experiences temporary shame, at least she has food. More importantly she will at some level know that there is at least one good person in this world. She met you. She is not alone. There is someone to lend a helping hand. In other words when you do something there are ramifications beyond what you perceive.  You can't know all of the ramifications of what you do, and simply judging based on what you perceive is ill advised because you do lack full knowledge of the your actions results. As I said, she may be both embarrassed and bonded.(Feeling in rapport, not alone, feeling bonded if in just a little way with another- I don't know the right words) Because of this uncertainty in the ramifications of our actions, I believe that we should be true to who we are, especially if we are good people.

  2. Rain Defence profile image81
    Rain Defenceposted 10 years ago

    You can't eat a 'being saved from embarrassment' feeling. You can eat food.
    I'm sure she would rather have eaten the food rather than being saved some embarrassment.
    However I would be suspicious of someone in a motorised cart anyway. Often they are driven round by people who are enormous and have eaten so much food they have made themselves disabled. They then get disability benefits which they use to buy even more food and the situation isn't resolved until they've eaten themselves to death. To someone like me who gets up early in the morning and works hard to make my own living, I don't really appreciate this.
    Of course not everyone in a motorised cart is this way, some are just disabled through no fault of their own, but the greedy ones spoil it for all as whether it's politically correct or not, I do tend to be suspicious.
    If she was thin and in a motorised cart, then yes feel free to feel as guilty as you like.

    1. Uninvited Writer profile image77
      Uninvited Writerposted 10 years agoin reply to this

      Don't be so judgemental about people you don't know. You don't know why that person is in a cart. They may have gotten large because they are disabled and can't exercise like other people. It's the same with handicapped parking, some people, like myself, have disability problems that are not immediately noticeable.

      1. Jamie Brock profile image87
        Jamie Brockposted 10 years agoin reply to this

        Uninvited Writer- I completely agree! Just because someone is large in size, it does not necessarily mean that they did it to themselves. There are medical conditions that cause obesity and it can't be helped unless the person is able to get surgery and a lot of people can't afford that. It's not nice to make a blanket statement about overweight people like that.

      2. MelissaBarrett profile image58
        MelissaBarrettposted 10 years agoin reply to this

        I had to use one of those the last 6 weeks of my pregnancy. (Blood pressure issues made it so I would faint if I was on my feet any length of time) I'm a big girl anyway... not obese but fairly large framed... and the swelling of pre-eclamsia added to the big belly made me appear very large.  You ought have seen the looks of disgust on other people's faces.  They didn't assume pregnant they assumed fat (until I stood up and it was an obvious pregnant belly). I developed a bit more empathy after that.

  3. profile image0
    Motown2Chitownposted 10 years ago

    I would.  I'd attempt to be as discreet as possible about it, because I understand that it might embarrass some folks, but, more often than not, they are grateful.  I'd rather pay for someone's gas or groceries than hand them cash.  I've even done that on occasion, though. 

    Try not to feel guilty.  It's a difficult decision to make on the spot like that.  I'm sure the fact that you guys even considered it means you're decent people.  Another opportunity will come to share that goodwill.


  4. justateacher profile image85
    justateacherposted 10 years ago

    I almost bought someone's groceries yesterday...a woman was ahead of me in line and had tried three types of cards already and none of them worked (debit card, credit card and a gift card) I was looking at the register to see what her total was and was prepared to pay when she pulled I out another gift card...that finally worked....I want going to make a big deal about it but I was going to signal the clerk and give her my card...

    1. profile image0
      Motown2Chitownposted 10 years agoin reply to this

      That's just what I mean by discreet.  Just hand your card to the clerk...best way to do it without making a fuss or a scene or even approaching the other shopper in a way that might embarrass them, IMO.

  5. moonlake profile image86
    moonlakeposted 10 years ago

    She was just a person that may have needed our help.

  6. MizBejabbers profile image89
    MizBejabbersposted 10 years ago

    That is a good question, and I don't really know the answer. I guess it would depend on the circumstances.My opinion would be that the person can wait one more day for her card to be recharged, if that was her problem. I think Rain Defence made a good point, and one that I had not thought about. If the person was elderly and had just a few staple items, I would consider it because some of them really operate close to the line. However, I would not pay for a whole cart full of food, especially if it contained luxury items like bottled water and convenience foods, or even large pieces of beef, which I sometimes see in the carts of food stamp recipients.  When my elderly mother was dying of cancer, she still cooked simple foods from scratch, like bacon and eggs or beans and cornbread until she became too disabled to cook for herself.

  7. moonlake profile image86
    moonlakeposted 10 years ago

    She was elderly. She had simple foods in her cart nothing. She had chicken, milk and bread things like that.

    1. MizBejabbers profile image89
      MizBejabbersposted 10 years agoin reply to this

      That would have tugged at my heartstrings. I probably would have helped her.

  8. ftclick profile image57
    ftclickposted 10 years ago

    I would probably approach them discreetly near the exit "after my purchase" and offer to pay for some of her necessities versus doing it in line with a crowd around. If it was a long line, then I don't know what I'd do on the spot.  Just recently, a company messed up on my direct deposit so funds sometimes don't get there when they are supposed to be there.

  9. LetitiaFT profile image76
    LetitiaFTposted 10 years ago

    I don't know what I'd have done on the spur of the moment like that, but your question has prompted me to think about it, and if ever it happens, perhaps I'll offer to pay, suggesting (but not expecting) the person send me a check to cover it when they get the chance. It would spare the person embarassment and an extra trip to the supermarket.

  10. bulama2 profile image60
    bulama2posted 10 years ago

    I have been in this sort of situation lot's of times. You never know how people are going to react when you help pay. I have had ones who were very thankful, there were one's who blurt out and tell me to f... off and there are some that we'll come back for help whenever they see me again or hang around where I shop. So I usually act on my instinct. If I strongly feel I should help, then I help. If I feel bad about not helping then I try to do something good to someone else on the way home or talk about it with my partner or anyone else to make me feel better. Anyway, I also think that you should act on your instinct.

  11. PaisleeGal profile image79
    PaisleeGalposted 10 years ago

    I would help the person if I could afford it myself, without hesitation. Giving the cashier my card with a simple gesture is all it would take. Doing it before the person had to leave without the purchase. Especially since she was only getting items of necessity and not luxury type of things. I have been on the receiving end of giving on a couple of occasions during some very rough patches in my life about 20 years apart. You never forget a blessing, whether it's a simple type of thing like someone letting you go ahead of them in a check out line or a big thing like paying your rent. Anyone who gives without expecting anything in return will be blessed somehow, somewhere...  when you least expect it! Moonlake, you'll get another chance soon. Go for it and you'll be the one really blessed.

  12. fpherj48 profile image60
    fpherj48posted 10 years ago

    Going on instinct and past experience, had I the money in my purse to cover this woman's groceries, I wouldn't hesitate for a second.  It would not even occur to me to "judge" her in any way.  The fact is, if she was a scammer, so be it.   I "pay it forward," based upon my own beliefs and because when I see a need.......I will always try to help.   When acts of kindness and generosity are given......it comes from the heart....not a place of judgement and/or analysis.   This sort of thing is strictly a personal choice.  There are those who will offer their hand and there are far too many who would look the other way.   IMO, looking the other way, is not an option.

  13. ThompsonPen profile image65
    ThompsonPenposted 10 years ago

    I think that would have been a beautiful act to play out. As Sara Garret said, Paying if Forward is amazing, and I don't think a lot of people do it. I once went into a coffee shop and gave ten dollars to pay toward whoever came up to the counter next's bill. It felt awesome. I really enjoyed the opportunity to do a deed that would be seemingly random to the next person. If I have the change on me, I like to put it in parking meters. About this time last year I found out I didn't owe as much on a bill which provided as service to me that I believe greatly in. I donated the difference between what I thought I owed and what I actually owed and my heart was singing.
    It is amazing how doing a good deed can just make you feel amazing. I was for a while trying to do a good deed a day, but it is difficult when the opportunity doesn't always arise. I had one day when I was on a bus, and when the bus stopped to let some one off, the guy sitting in front of me threw his candy wrapper or whatever out the bus door! If you saw me, you would know instantly that I'm an advocator of the earth. I took the bus all the way to my destination, but instead of taking the bus back, I walked back and picked up all the trash I found along the way, including litter bus bug's wrapper. It felt good, but it also felt little. I live in a pretty clean town, so I didn't accumulate too much trash, and I knew that there are other areas which need it so much more.
    I guess the moral of the story is do good deeds when you can. It'll make your soul lighter and it's amazing how much you smile afterward. And the fact that you were both thinking of paying for that woman's groceries is a beautiful thing in itself.

  14. Pages-By-Patty profile image69
    Pages-By-Pattyposted 10 years ago

    Yes, I've done that before. It was only a few bucks and we were the only two in line so it wasn't a big deal.
    This week I was at the gas station. Some poor older man was at the register and said discreetly, "I need .97 cents worth of gas on pump 2." The guy in front of me then told the clerk to make it $5.97 and put that purchase with his own. Almost brought tears to my eyes. Nothing like random acts of kindness to realize that they shouldn't be all that random.

    1. ThompsonPen profile image65
      ThompsonPenposted 10 years agoin reply to this

      That's so sweet!

  15. Uninvited Writer profile image77
    Uninvited Writerposted 10 years ago

    If I had the money, yes I would.

  16. HeartandSoulMom profile image60
    HeartandSoulMomposted 10 years ago

    Yes, I think you should have paid for her groceries.  That said, I've missed many similar opportunities.  I think later, well, I should have done this..or that.  I suppose if we condition ourselves before a situation occurs, or do what you are doing, ask ourselves the questions and know the answers, so that if it occurs again, we'll know what we will do without even having to think about it.

  17. vocalcoach profile image94
    vocalcoachposted 10 years ago

    Absolutely!  Anytime I am faced with an opportunity to help another human being I step in.  If I'm "duped" in the process, so be it. I'd rather take the chance and possibly help someone, than to wonder if I missed putting food on someone's table.

    I've received so much loving and kind help from others in the past, I welcome the chance to pay-it-forward.  Like I said - if I've been scammed, so what?  Chances are I'll never know and meanwhile I take comfort in knowing I've done the right thing.

    I like this question.  We've become a cynical nation and need to reverse that - right now.

  18. CrisSp profile image76
    CrisSpposted 10 years ago

    Certainly! The person may refuse my offer but at least I tried and initiated the gesture. I did it once  (small amounts), the woman's money wasn't enough to pay her loaf and so, I paid for her total bill instead and told her to keep her money. Boy, nothing feels like it. I mean to be of help, however, small it is. And just like what vocalcoach said, never mind if get cheated, I did my part. (:

  19. moonlake profile image86
    moonlakeposted 10 years ago

    We were the only ones in line at the time. After she left the cashier said she wished she could have done something. She couldn't afford it and knew the store wouldn't agree to letting her have the groceries. As far as her being a scammer that never entered our mind. If you help someone you help them, you don’t look at what you think they might be.
    I always do simple things like giving my coupons to the people behind me in line. I saw teens counting their money worried if they would have enough for their item. I handed them my coupon they were so excited. It wasn’t much but it made them happy.
    Next time I will step up, they can always say no.

  20. Dame Scribe profile image60
    Dame Scribeposted 10 years ago

    I don't let 2nd thoughts or doubts take over. I offer, and have offered help to various people. Sometimes I was taken advantage of but most times, it was greatly appreciated. I prefer to think of it as a moment of truth - help or not to help. I prefer to believe that helping others, helps me and mine too. Naive? maybe, but I like that fuzzy wuzzy feeling lol

  21. aviannovice profile image86
    aviannoviceposted 10 years ago

    Yes.  I have done so.  I was a police officer, called on a shoplifting complaint, on ironically, Thanksgiving day.  It was an older couple, who obviously were trying to put together a Thanksgving meal.  The manager was intent upon having them charged for the crime.  I asked how much money they needed, as they actually went through the checkout and declared most of what they had.  I gave the manager the $3.00 or whatever ridiculous amount it was, and marked the crime "no complaint to issue," as I paid what was due.

    1. Uninvited Writer profile image77
      Uninvited Writerposted 10 years agoin reply to this

      That was a great thing you did smile

    2. ThompsonPen profile image65
      ThompsonPenposted 10 years agoin reply to this

      I have a friend who was border line homeless a few years ago, and she and her boyfriend got caught shoplifting some food, I think it was a sandwich between the two of them, and the store owner did press charges. She has gotten a job since, and worked in it the last three years, but they recently fired her because they said that they only just discovered the theft charges for the sandwich. She's just about to complete her schooling for nursing, and now she's unable to get a job. All because she was starving and needed something to eat.
      It was a really good thing what you did. If only my friend had some one as kind as you to help her out

  22. Globetrekkermel profile image62
    Globetrekkermelposted 10 years ago

    Hey avian that is so nice.So sweet of you.

  23. Globetrekkermel profile image62
    Globetrekkermelposted 10 years ago

    My husband and I was in Paris a few years ago. It was cold winter and we were standing in line in a convenience store to buy a few snacks and drinks to bring to our hotel room.Infront of us is  an elderly French lady somewhere in her 70's who bought a few groceries.She did not have enough money to pay for her groceries and  she was fidgeting with  her wallet looking for bills and coins to pay.My husband and I felt sorry for her ,we offered to pay for her groceries something like 12 euros.She did not think I speak French .She was so happy she gave me and my husband a hug. That felt good.

  24. Stacie L profile image89
    Stacie Lposted 10 years ago

    If I had the extra money and thought they deserved it I would. I have given strangers change in the past and they were a little embarrassed to take it.

  25. tillsontitan profile image88
    tillsontitanposted 10 years ago

    I've been duped many a time but know it will happen again and again.  Judging by the items you mention that were in her cart, she didn't appear to be a scammer.  Two things (as everyone else has mentioned) we can't judge who  is and isn't honest, and second, we need to have the cash to be able to pay for someone else's groceries.  That is not always possible when the amoutn is $40!  I have often given someone a dollar or two but have never been in a position to pay out $40.  Bottom line as all seem to agree is, IF you have the money, pay it forward.

  26. seanorjohn profile image74
    seanorjohnposted 10 years ago

    Yes I would and I am sure many others would too if it could be done without fuss. Supermarkets should all have a suggestions box for consumers. It would be brilliant to ask the question " How can I pay for someones food bill when I spot someone at the checkout who is clearly struggling. " One problem in England is that very often the needy shop at different stores to those better off. I live in a market town where rich and poor alike buy fresh veg etc in a massive indoor and outdoor market.So, this would perhaps make it easier to help out if traders were approached beforehand.  Some of the market traders are brilliant at undercharging or throwing in free stuff to the elderly. So, they are already recognizing the duty to help those in need.

    Congrats to Moonlake for starting a great discussion.

  27. brimancandy profile image80
    brimancandyposted 10 years ago

    I used to be a cashier at a major grocery chain, and although most people are fairly honest, we had a few elderly ladies that would pay the crying game to get people to pay for their groceries. Of course, they would have some money to pay for some of their items, but it seemed they would set aside the I can do without stuff, just in case their cries of sadness did not get rewarded. Usually on big ticket items like a 500 count bottle of vitamins, or worse case cigarettes, or large quantity of bulk candy.

    Always using the "I guess my grand children will have to go without that wonderful candy, their precious little faces will be so sad." Um...at your age, your grand children would be adults by now I think. And since you came through my lane a couple days ago and did the exact same thing, I think your grand kids should have plenty of candy. Why don't you skip the cigarettes they're bad for your health anyways. Also, I told one of our normal ladies, we have cameras watching every inch of this store. And, then she goes...oh by the way..I have some vitamins in my purse. I'm so forgetful! Ha ha ha....right. One lady even tried the sob story to get someone to pay for her pharmacy drugs!! At $150.00.

    Some of the ladies are also known shop lifters. But, I don't think it's because they are crooks. They do it because they want the attention. Once you start to explain to them what they are doing wrong, they will want to talk your ear off, and sit in their little motorized chair and just smile at you. I had one lady doing her crying act, and I asked her if I would like to get a manager, and the tears stopped like shutting off a water faucet. Just ring up my items so I can get out of this dump! So sad! LOL!!

    Seriously, some need help, but a few know exactly how to play people.

  28. profile image52
    Pegah-txposted 6 years ago

    A few years ago, I was on the line of cashier and I got some groceries with my mom. There was not enough money in the card and the person behind me asked if he can pay for it. I said "Ohh you are so kind thank you very much. I have money, just this card does not have enough money. These are not necessary groceries, but thank you so much!". The gentleman was with his wife and he said with low voice "I know you have money, but I really want to pay". I said "Oh thank you. There is no need for that". But he insist and paid for it. I was so grateful and thanked him a lot and his wife. I told to myself that I will be like him and if someone needs something and s/he does not have enough money I will always pay for them. I was 19 at that time and my family was living on government assistance at that time.. Today, I was in a grocery store. The guy in front of me bought some things I did not know how much was it for. His card was not going through. He was well dressed.. We acted as if we were not paying any attention to him. Then he left his grocery items at the cashier, and he went to side of the store and talked on the phone. I said to cashier that I want to pay for his grocery but cashier told that he can't let me pay because first I need to get permission from the customer. I went to the guy I said quietly "Excuse me, would mind if I pay for your grocery?". He said "No, I can't do that to you". I insisted but he said he can't do that to me. I said "People did that for me before". He said "No, thank you"... I really did not mean to embarrass him, I said quietly so other shoppers would not hear it. But I feel really bad because I afraid I made him embarrassed. If I did not ask him, I would feel guilty but now that I asked and he rejected I wish I never asked so he would not be embarrassed.. I think at the end offering to pay is better.. but we need to do it quietly so other shoppers would not hear it..

  29. profile image0
    mothersofnationsposted 6 years ago

    Absolutely, if you can help then you should. You never know what kind of situation someone could be in, even if they're well dressed, (they could've been unemployed prior to and still need a hand.) Same goes for the homeless. Circumstances aren't ours to question. Anyone can fall on hard times and there are so many people in the world who have the means to help but don't.

    We're all God's children. The Lord asks that we love one another as sisters and brothers. So even if the person refuses, your intentions were sincere and you've done the right thing. God bless you all...


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