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Produce Saving Strategies: Too Extreme?


Reading your comments on yesterday’s post: Extreme Couponing Tip: Weigh Produce & Save 10%, gave me a topic that deserved to be discussed here.

Is it okay to de-stem or take the tops off produce sold by the pound in order to reduce their weight?

Your comments got me really thinking on this.  I will say that I’ve never ripped the top of a pineapple, and I don’t think I’ve ever cracked the stem off of a broccoli crown, BUT I always look for the crowns with the least stem and if I find a bruised banana in a bunch, I’ll rip it off and buy the rest.   So where’s the line?  I mean, I don’t think any of us are peeling our oranges before placing them in a bag, right?  LOL!  What do you think?

Now, I’m going to venture a guess that there are many of you who have strong opinions on the matter, so let me remind you to keep your comments respectful!  Don’t throw tomatoes!

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103 thoughts on “Produce Saving Strategies: Too Extreme?”

  1. Diana says:

    Here’s a tip I found out by accident…it’s not produce, but…I live in South Louisiana and for an occasional treat, my husband & I will visit a local chain grocery, purchase a pound of raw shrimp and have the store steam it there for free. In the process of steaming, the shrimp “lose some weight” so we actually pay for a little less than a pound. I know it’s not much, but it makes us feel like we’ve gotten a better deal.

  2. Kris says:

    I have to say that I have never seen anyone chop/break the stems off of Broccoli or the top of a pineapple.. But I have seen several women shucking their corn right in the produce section. It doesn’t bother me really because I think to each their own but it also doesn’t make sense to me if you’re not paying by the pound but by piece.. For instance 50cents a piece.. then why shuck it there? Are they avoiding trash? Anyway.. I have also removed a bad banana from several. Why should I pay for bad produce? I have also moved grapes from one bag to another because some were bad and I replaced them with good ones. I think that’s not a matter of “saving” money.. it’s a matter of refusing to purchase bad produce! ;)

  3. ThriftyGal says:

    I don’t know about you guys but I find the pineapple to be a much sexier fruit with the stem on!

  4. I check through the strawberries/raspberries/blackberries also. I don’t break the stems off of broccoli, but I usually buy the crowns anyway. However, when I went shopping this past week, there was more stem than I would have liked so I was a little annoyed about it. I see nothing wrong with picking through and choosing the best items (you would do the same with the meat packages; try to find the one with the least fat or whatever). I wouldn’t be chopping parts off of things though!

  5. Dinki3s says:

    I never thought of doing that….I am soo excited for the next time I buy my produce!!

  6. kriszta says:

    good thing i don’t eat broccoli :D
    i definetly do the bananas 1 or 2 at a time. i buy very little amount of grapes. i check the strawberries and switch them out sometimes, i don’t want rotten berries :), i always weigh those.
    i see at my store time to time moldy raspberries, i can’t believe nobody see that(?)
    my only thing is, i take of the stems of tomato. i learned it from my mom :)

  7. susie quint says:

    I too have removed bruised portion/pieces from bunches, why do we have to pay for damaged goods…would you pay for the dents on a brand new car or negotiate the price perhaps !? I love the stems from my broccoli as well so I don’t remove that portion at all unless there is a bad whole stem…I have been known to remove the rubber bands and select the perfect stems, we are paying by the pound right?….SO PAY FOR THE POUND YOU WANT, not what the store thinks you have to pay for, we select our loose fruits the same way….so all is fair. It’s funny-the mention of cabbage leaves…just this last Monday I crashed my cart into the garbage can in the aisle by the cabbage display…yep…..full of discarded leaves from shoppers.
    Grapes are another one that I have been known to open prepackaged bags and select, I will even remove the smaller stems from the larger to get the best looking grapes it will also reduce the weight a bit for you…….if you ever get a complaint, put it back,the whole thing, and just walk away or choose to speak to the manager about how you get chastised for choosing what you spend your money on. I say make a decision and choose what you buy rather then be told! Dig into the dark recesses for the newer dates and get the best for your dollars!!

  8. Brandi says:

    Also, some stores to core and peel pineapple, but they charge a price for it. Any of the cut up fruits are generally more expensive as well.

  9. Brandi says:

    I’ll admit that I had a few laughs over the thought of cutting things off of fruit and veggies. I think it is morally wrong to leave the parts you don’t want. I was a vegetarian for many years and when I weaned myself back onto meat, I would have the butcher weigh my meat, then trim it of any fat. I would pay for the fat, but he would trim it off and throw it away. Just because I wanted a custom steak, doesn’t mean that I should get the luxury of not paying for the whole thing! Just saying…

  10. Gab says:

    Now wait a stinkin’ cotton pickin’ minute! That broccoli crown?! It has a stalk!!

    I can’t tell you how many times I have actually wanted to purchase a crown (and it is labeled, “broccoli crown”) and it has a good three inches of stalk. Oh heck to the no am I paying crown price for crown and stalk. I am breaking that bugger off. They can come collect it and put it in the stir fry mix they sell at a premium. Oh yeah, they CAN reuse those crowns.

  11. Kathryn says:

    Why throw away the pineapple top? Give it to your kid to see if it will grow! (I have heard you can grow a pineapple from the top of a previous one. I tried it once, and it didn’t work, but I also live in cold weather) Then you’re getting food AND entertainment for a little one!

  12. Suzanne says:

    My boyfriend said it best. “What’s next, taking a knife to the store and de-boning your meat and asking them to re-weigh it?” If you want to save money on broccoli crowns, go to Costco and buy a bag of broccoli without the crow. It’s not expensive. Happy chopping everyone!

  13. DM says:

    In my town, we have a produce supplier- they are the people who deliver to the restaurants and grocers in town. What most people don’t know is that you can go there and get a box of stuff for CHEAP! I usually grab a cardboard box, fill it up with all kinds of fruits and veggies and my total has ranged anywhere from $7-$21, talk about a deal! See if your area has this- most people don’t know that you can go there independently!

  14. Cynthia says:

    You can ask your produce guy to do this. Just like you can ask them to core a piece of watermellon so you get a ripe one. Thats why you see cut up watermellons for sale in the store. There ones that other has asked to taste. Then everyone is happy.

  15. Gaby says:

    What do these krazies do with tops of pineapple!? Just throw them on the floor or litter the produce section? That seems absurd. The price per lb, whether we like it or not, is for the whole thing.

    • DM says:

      This is SO true! We don’t carry our tupperware and dump out a can of green beans in it just because we are going to throw the can away at home…

  16. Julie says:

    I think you have to be reasonable. Taking a banana off a batch because it’s bad or because you want a smaller bunch, is no different than picking and choosing your peaches. If you don’t want to pay for the weight of the stem of a pinaple, however (or the skin of an orange) then you probably need to buy your fruit frozen or canned.

  17. Sara says:

    Wow, after reading all of these comments I feel like a terrible couponer. I have never really though of produce as a money saving thing one way or another. Don’t get me wrong, I love a deal, but I am blessed to live in Cleveland within 1.5 miles of the infamous West Side Market and it there simply isn’t any fresher, less expensive produce. I can get a head of organic romaine for $1-2 depending on the season, apples for $.75-1.25/lb, etc. All usually 30-40% lower than retail.

    But, giving it some thought, when I do purchase produce from a major grocer (like Giant Eagle), I will definitely remove bananas–I will not purchase anymore than what my daughter will eat as she is the only banana eater in our household. I will also remove a single tomato from a group of 4 or 5, however when I do this, I will usually rip it apart at the point where the stems meet (like I said I must be a bad couponer or not cheap enough!), it’s just the easiest place to break the stem where it bends to meet the other stem! As far as grapes, I would feel strange about removing them into another bag, so I would just try to find the smallest bag there. More than anything I would NEVER under any circumstance chop off a pineapple, or a cauliflower, broccoli, etc.

    I completely agree with the majority here, that you can be a couponer and keep it classy. I was at Giant Eagle once when a cashier asked if my coupons were copied bc I had 8 of the same (we have 3 laptops and a netbook at home) and I told her no and she leery of me bc other couponers had given her fraudulent coupons! People like that give us a bad name. It’s kind of similar here–it really is a form of dishonesty.

    I also agree that if you feel ashamed at all — don’t do it!

  18. mira says:

    how are you stealing if you cut of the stem of the brocoli…its not like your cutting it AND KEEPING THE STEM, your cutting it and leaving it….maybe someone who likes the stems will get the stems lol highly unlikely but sometimes the market has the brocoli with A INCREDIBLY LONG PIECE OF STEM and i find THAT to be unfair. just stating I DONT LOOK AROUND TOMAKE SURE NO ONES LOOKING. ive seen food4less leave out a trash can for people to husk their corn AT THE STORE.

    • Ilyssa says:

      Ears of corn are sold by the ear… with or without the husk, it’s gonna cost the same amount. They leave that trash can there to save you the trouble at home and so you can check the actual kernels before buying.

    • Lori says:

      You are right, no one wants to buy the stem so you are rendering the piece of produce unsellable by cutting off the stem. Most grocery stores I’ve shopped at have broccoli by the crown and broccoli by the stem. The crown price is much higher per pound. If you want just the crown, then pay the price for just the crown

  19. Heidi says:

    The store intends for you to buy it “as is” but things like bananas can of course be pulled apart since each banana is separate. I will be weighing all my produce though, nothing wrong with that!

  20. Crystal says:

    I worked at a grocery store for many years. It is stealing to break off portions so you don’t have to pay for it. When the store buys produce they buy the whole thing, including the unusable potion. It’s money they lose when you take off what you don’t want. The store doesn’t have a choice to buy only the tops of asparagus, neither does the consumer. If you want a crown of broccoli you do the honest thing and pay for the whole thing. It is not ok to intentionally cheat the system. We all love good deal but where is the line going to be drawn?

  21. Traci says:

    I think it is completely dishonest and a form of cheating to pull stems off of broccoli and tops off of pineapples. If you pull the stems off the broccoli, you make the rest of the piece unsellable. It’s ignorant, period.

    Pineapples aren’t usually sold by the weight, but if they were it would be just as dishonest.
    Pulling a bruised banana off the bunch is perfectly okay as well. Checking egg cartons to make sure they aren’t broken? Perfectly fine. This is all just common sense. If you go and buy porkchops, are you going to debone them before purchase? I don’t think so. We all know that would be wrong.

    Saving money is great, but be cool about it, you know?

  22. AManda says:

    If it is something that someone else can buy, by all means, take parts of it and leave the rest. This usually applies to things sold by the pound that are small items such as grapes, cherries, bananas, etc. You can take some of say the bag, leaving the rest. But if it is something that is unsellable that has to be discarded, dont do it! The store where I work, we have a HUGE produce section and MOST of the produce that you can take parts off and discard (broccoli, pineapple, ears of corn, etc) are sold per each item or like apples and strawberries are sold in a closed package, intended not to be opened and strawberries to be de-hulled! Also, a lot of times, pre-packaged items will weigh slightly more than the package says, which can save you more money. For example, our 1 lb container of strawberries almost always weighs 1.25 lbs. Same with pre packaged apples and such.
    If you want to save money on produce- look for sale items, reduced items (usually they are close to going bad or a bag broke open, etc), if you can, buy fruit pre-packaged as you usually get more food per pound than the pick your own per pound items. Also, buy things in season, they are almost always cheaper.

    • Heidi says:

      The discount items are perfect for cutting up and freezing. I most ALWAYS buy it because we do lots of smoothies with all the cheap yogurt I’ve been getting. ;)

  23. Stephanie says:

    The only altering I have done in the produce dept is ginger. I’ll break it at a thin spot if I just need a little bit. I always look for a smallish piece first, but my store always has gigantic ginger. I would never destem broccoli or anything else.

  24. Liz says:

    If you really want to save on produce, find the ad to your local Latin grocery store or Buy low market. They usually have a web site and you can print out their Ad, then go to walmart and pricematch. I am going to go get 8 lbs of navel oranges for $1 today! Try it!

  25. me says:

    I’m actually shocked that people do this! Would you go up to a farmer and take a pinapple off of their stand and crack the stem off in front of them. I THINK NOT!

    I think people think, oh they are a big store and have enough money. Sorry to say but when there’s a negative, it doesn’t come out of the CEO’s pocket it comes out of the people makeing minimum wage. Wheither it’s not getting a bonus or a raise it directly hurts them. CEO’s are going to take their cut either way.

    • Chas says:

      How does it come out of the pockets of the people making minimum wage? The word “minimum” means just that. No matter what, they make at least the minimum amount of money. You can’t make less than minimum. They ALWAYS get paid the same amount whether the store makes money or not. LOL

      • Katie says:

        Did you even read what “me” said?? They were saying that the money was taken away from minimum wage workers because they would then not get bonuses or raises- you are correct that they will continue to make minimum wage, but I believe the point that “me” was trying to make was that they will never be able to make any more than that if people keep stealing from the stores!

      • Chas says:

        My dear Katie, not only did I read what “Me” said, but I also considered what “Me” did not say. Does “Me” know for a fact that CEO’s deprive their employees bonuses and raises, or is it simply speculation? Furthermore, is it reasonable to believe that the very few who attack the produce actually create such a tremendous impact on the store’s profits that their employees suffer? Also, “Me” might be shocked to learn that the actual stealing that hinders employees from receiving bonuses and raises comes from the employees themselves, many of whom have been known to take home the ENTIRE broccoli and pineapple in their purses and pockets!!!

  26. Chas says:

    Retailers spend a fortune on marketing schemes and gimmicks to squeeze out whatever pennies they can from us consumers, so personally, I see nothing wrong in using a bit of ingenuity. Anyone who feels guilty about trimming down the weighty parts of their fruits and vegetables needs to take a good look at their 14oz “pint” of ice cream or their 15 1/4oz can of green beans!!

    • Carrie says:

      The problem with this technique is that it isn’t ingenious; it’s theft.

      Nobody is going to reimburse the store for the part of the produce that it (the store) has paid for that the final customer has decided to discard. The pricing structure includes the whole fruit or vegetable. As many have stated, if only the premium parts of the produce are desired, a premium price should be paid.

      The bottom line is: removing the throwaway parts before paying is stealing.

      • Chas says:

        Actually, the real “theft” and “stealing” is on the part of the retailers who charge $4.99 for the same one pound package of strawberries that was .99-cents the day before! How does greedy overcharging fit into their well-calculated “price structure”?

    • AmandaH says:

      I’ll spare you the economic treatise on what drives pricing structure in retail outlets. Instead I will say that you wouldn’t use the price of strawberries to justify stealing a candy bar and there is little difference between stealing a candy bar and lopping the stems off broccoli especially knowing that the stores themselves have to pay for the broccoli stems in the first place.

      • Chas says:

        Actually, there is a difference between stealing a candy bar and taking off the stems of broccoli; a BIG difference! How is it stealing when the stems stay with the store, whereas the candy bar doesn’t? If so many people love the stems so much, as they claim they do, then they can feel free to buy as many stems as they like. Also, I would encourage the “Produce Police” to investigate the many pre-packaged fruits where the retailers often attempt to deceive the customers by placing the bad fruit on the bottom or the moldy parts face down in an effort to fool the consumer. Therein lies the true crime!!!

  27. Jeannine Sanders says:

    Here where I live (Johnson City, TN) produce such as oranges and broccoli arn’t sold by the pound, they are sold by bunch or each. One thing I do ALWAYS do is weight my fruit or veggies that is already packaged and sold by weight. Clamchells of strwberries for example. If it says 16 ounces then I weight it to make sure it is. I have seem people open those and eat the fruit! So I always make sure I get what I am paying for.

    • Ashley Wagner says:

      Wow, we live in the same city! Let me know if you have any great local tips that you’d be willing to share with me!

      On the blog topic though:
      Breaking the stems off of broccoli seems to be a fairly straightforward dishonest practice.

      As for lopping off pineapple tops, I can’t imagine doing it myself (of course, I can’t imagine buying a pineapple), but I would likely ask someone working in the produce department to remove the top, mentioning that it would be easier for me to carry home that way, and see what their response was.

      Checking berries? I would absolutely do this (if I bought fresh berries).
      Moving berries between containers? Only if purchasing a different container was not a reasonable solution.

      Picking out the heaviest bunch of lettuce? Every time!

  28. ragans4 says:

    I once asked the produce manager to cut the stems off the broccoli for me because I don’t use the stems. He did cut it for me because I am a long time customer but at the same time he informed me that the store also pay by weight for open produce so if they were to do that for all customers it would affect their sales. I have never asked that favor again, I have just started using all of what I pay for

  29. Brittany M. says:

    I think it would be a nice option to be able to buy the stems from broccoli or the bruised bananas that others don’t want at a discounted price. We eat the stems at our house and I can smell the banana bread already from those bruised bananas! :D

  30. Tara says:

    My mother used to break stalks off of broccoli because she reasoned that much of it was inedible and she was paying by the pound. She never hid her actions and she was never reprimanded by anyone. BUT, when they started selling broccoli crowns, she felt she could no longer justify it and she just buys the crowns now. Although, I think even if she did, they would probably just charge her the crown price anyway. Some stems I believe are left on because food stays fresher longer with it still in place, like pineapple.

  31. melanie says:

    I agree about the broc stems, they are a keeper unless you are buying crowns which come without stems, that being said, i have no issue with opening up the strawberries and making sure the ones i buy are all good, even trading out with a different carton. I am paying for the carton, why wouldn’t I want to make sure that by morning they won’t all be rotted because of one bad berry?? That is comparable to checking for broken eggs to me! I am still paying for the amount, and I don’t care who watches me do it!

    • Carrie says:

      You know, I think I agree with you on the strawberry thing. I have bought strawberries before only to find when I got home that there were several rotten ones in the middle of the package and I have wondered if the store employees did it on purpose to get people to take home the rotten fruit. I am sure that from now on I am going to check it like eggs like you said.

  32. Andrea says:

    wow – I just read the comments on the last post. Yes, that is definitely wrong. If you want broccoli crowns, shell out the extra money and buy broccoli crowns…

    additionally what are you doing with the parts you’re breaking off – the pineapple top, etc – where are you leaving that? Right in with the pineapples? Not nice….

    • Joey Lawton (Female) says:

      Strangely enough my Publix was selling Pineapples for $4 something and the tops were gone……?!?!? Any ideas on why??

  33. Fawn says:

    I agree with the pp who said the broccoli stems/leaves are edible and good! I used to live with a Chinese family as a nanny and they always peeled the rougher skin off the broccoli stems and then sliced them up for stir-frys. They were good and you got maybe another serving of veggies by doing it.

    I think most people waste so much of their produce that could be put to use! I even read of a banana peel chutney the other day, that actually sounded good! Maybe those pulling the crowns off of veggies and fruits should reconsider what they’re deeming “unusable” :)

  34. Sheri says:

    Yes! Don’t throw tomatoes…they are expensive!!! ;)

  35. Tracey Shockey says:

    I read a post awhile back about this. One of the comments was this lady took all the grapes out and destemmed them. She was only paying for grapes and not the stem.

    I get her point, but I’d be so scared to do that. Now everytime I buy grapes I think of this.

    Tracey

  36. lorraine says:

    I always pull the tomatos from the stems…..(on the vine) nvr broke stalks off broccoli…def done the banana thing. Hey to each their own if some1 doesn’t like it oh well don’t do it :-)

  37. Anne says:

    Not only is it embarrassing, but it’s wrong.

    When you go to dinner, do you send the garnish on your plate back with the waitress and ask her to deduct 25 cents from your bill because you “can’t use it” or “can’t eat it”?

    Produce is priced by the weight based on the unit. Pulling apart the growers’ and farmers’ products before paying a portion of the price they count on to earn a living is just cheating.

    Please don’t do this.

    PS: My son works in a grocery store produce department and said that he rarely sees this, so if you are doing this, you are probably in the great minority and should think twice about why more people don’t do it.

  38. Leslie says:

    I had a friend in college who snapped off the broccoli stalks and chucked them back in the pile. I was dombfounded. He said, “What? I don’t want that part.” I couldn’t believe it. Later, at a reunion get-together, I reminded him of this and he denied it… with a smirk. He knows that he did it. No cool.

  39. Bobbie B says:

    It’s always grand to see the vast differences of opinions on polls…
    All I can think of in comparison here about not buying the in edible parts is like asking the meat dept to remove the shrimp heads or Flounder tails before weighing them, it’s just not done. I don’t/won’t remove stems or leaves and while I do pull off two bananas, It’s because only two will be eaten in our household before they go bad.

  40. Rachel says:

    I agree with taking off a bad banana, but the rest is a little extreme. There aren’t many places where the pineapple or broccoli is even weighed anymore (most are one flat rate), and I’d say it’s for this very reason.

  41. Kellie says:

    I would say its fair. We aren’t paying for the pretty stuff that comes along with our produce. We’re paying for whats inside. The stem of a pineapple is pretty hefty. I would imaging that it adds a sizable amount to the price when you are trying to be savvy with your money.

    • Adhis says:

      Actually, you ARE paying for that.

      Produce that is priced by weight was BOUGHT by the grocer by weight and is expected to be bought by the end user in complete units. Bananas can be separated because each fruit is a complete unit. Lopping off the head of a pineapple is stealing from the grocer. If that practice became commonplace, the price of pineapple would jump up. And then, of course, the same customers who participated in the practice would likely blame the new pricing on the economy, ‘greedy’ stores or the government.

  42. kengie33 says:

    I am ALL about saving money, but this seems to be a little much. My question would be if someone is taking only the parts they want, where are the “left overs” going? Meaning us couponers yes make the cashiers do a little extra, but its their job. Causing the produce ppl to clean up after us…thats asking them to go over and beyond. My joy of thriftiness shouldn’t be at someone else’s expence causing them more work.

  43. kelly says:

    My store only sells grapes in bags. I never need 5 pounds of grapes so is it ok the move the extra grapes into another bag?

    • marie says:

      My store has the grapes in bags too, perforated baggies with a zipper closure. I often open the bag and take some out (and put them in another bag) because I know a larger quantity will just go bad. They’re weighed at the register, so I pay for just what I buy.

    • Bridget says:

      Kelly – Totally. I do that all the time. I don’t use that many grapes either, and it’s not like you are preventing them from selling them, just taking only as many as you need. It’s like the banana analogy in my mind.

  44. Audrie says:

    I agree with what many of the commenters said above. If you have to look around before you do it or if you wouldn’t do it in front of the store manager, then it’s wrong.

    Also, the prices of that produce was created with the fact that stems and all were included. I mean, when you buy bone in chicken do you really expect it to be the SAME price as the boneless? No. That’s the point. It’s a package deal, just like how you pay for the box on the crackers. I don’t eat the box nor do I save it. Do I take the crackers out of the box and insist on a discount? No.

    When in doubt, ask your store manager. If they say no – then follow the rules. It doesn’t matter if YOU think they’re fair, it’s the rules and it’s their store. You have to follow the rules and you don’t have to shop there.

  45. Lacey says:

    What about tomatoes that are sold with a stem? Can you de-stem them??

  46. Kim says:

    I for one have done this with garlic. When I didn’t know all the delicious meals I could plan I did break the whole garlic so that I could only get about 5 pieces. I’ve also taken the “wrapping” off of an onion. Why… well it’s hard to tell if they are bruised some times and I would have to get home and have to toss 1/4 of it away.

    I will say that here in my stores there are often garbage cans in the produce area… especially during sweet corn season… and it’s totally okay to peel your corn in the store.

  47. kenda says:

    The ‘farmers’ grow the entire plant. Stores purchase the entire plant. If you customers only take a portion of the plant and trash the rest – they will increase prices – because they won’t be making enough money

  48. tiffany says:

    I would never take off part of a piece of fruit or veggie (stems, leaves). I see nothing wrong with taking a couple bananas off, because at my house they’ll be forgotten about and rotten if I buy the whole bunch of 7 bananas. Grapes are the same way, I don’t buy one of those big 2 lb bags. I even asked a manager at my Kroger once, and he said that items like the grapes and bananas, its ok to do, but if you go around breakin off stems of cauliflower (thats wut was in my cart) he said its kind of like stealing.

  49. Amanda says:

    I think its ok as long as you keep it within reason. At least you would be buying it before you ate it. It drives me crazy to be walking along in the store and see a mom letting, or worse encouraging, the kid to eat produce. Grapes are the one thing I see the most. Listen people, not only is that STEALING(you are not paying for what your kid is eating) but its disgusting~who know who has touched the grapes/produce; do they wash their hands~ever heard of SALMONELLA POISONING!!!

    • jules says:

      Amanda, I agree. It makes me as mad as when I see a mom smoking in a car full of children. They can really get sick from unwashed produce. I have been known to let my kids eat snacks while shopping, but we save the wrapper and pay before we leave.

    • NaDell says:

      I agree. We don’t even open a box of crackers in the store. We wait until we pay. That’s what you are supposed to do. What if you get all the way to the front and discover that you don’t have your wallet or something?
      And my son popped the seal of a yogurt while he sat in the cart one day and I bought it anyway. We did it. We should pay for it. And it was his snack when we got home. That’s where you should eat. =)

      • Margie says:

        I definitely hear where you’re coming from and agree and appreciate your manners. But I’m always so busy that sometimes I’m shopping and happen to be hungry…..I will open that smoothie and drink as I shop. I see your point about what if I can’t pay, just never wasn’t able to pay.

    • kris says:

      Many times I go straight to the bananas, take just one banana, buy it and give it to my toddler to eat while I shop for the rest of the groceries…people may see her chomping away, which I guess might alarm some people, but I know I have paid for it (and I have my reciept)…it keeps her happier and gets my shopping done faster.

  50. Courtney says:

    I agree with Julia’s post. And, at many grocery stores that I go to, they have “broccoli crowns” for sale (at a higher price) which come de-stalked, along with regular bunches of broccoli. That to me, implies that the regular bunches come as a total package and are not up for hacking. And, as far as the banana example goes, if you’re peeling a banana and tossing aside the peel, that’s too far. Same thing with broccoli stalks. If you’re hacking off the stalk and leaving it, just think about how that looks to other people in regards to the type of person a “couponer” is, and to the lack of respect you’re showing to other shoppers and the employees.
    When it doubt, ask the produce employee/manager. Ask if it’s an acceptable practice to de-stem or de-stalk certain items.
    And remember, whereas with a majority of coupon items (canned goods, crackers, toiletry products) can be made in a mass amount and made very cheaply, produce is a different story. Farmers have to grow fresh produce in soil and (hopefully) in a very natural way. Fresh, wholesome food may come at a premium, but you can’t put a price tag on your health.

  51. PreachersWife says:

    THANK YOU for posting this! I was a bit taken back by some of the comments yesterday of people saying they did things like take off pineapple tops to save money. Those kinds of actions, in my opinion, are wrong and I would never do them. That’s not being frugal, that’s being flat out cheap!

    • Lori says:

      If you’re really disturbed by having to buy a little more weight, you can plant that top and grow your own pineapple for heavens sake! Or look on the ground as you leave the grocery store and maybe you’ll find a quarter to pay for that top! ;)

  52. Julia says:

    Taking off a banana from the bunch is one thing; the banana you do not buy is still able to be sold. However, ripping stems from broccoli, pineapple or portobello mushrooms truly is no different than changing a price tag on clothes. You are not paying the proper price for what you are purchasing. Broccoli crowns and portobello caps are sold at a premium price because they are essentially 100% EP (edible portions), much like a filet steak that is trimmed is sold at a premium per pound price versus an untrimmed filet, which offers a lesser EP per pound. I am all for bargain hunting – deception and dishonesty are not proper KCL behavior.

    • Cindy says:

      Well said!

      • Kim says:

        I agree. Having family IN the grocery business I know that they are charged for the full weight of the product…which is why they charge you for the full weight of the product. In my dad’s stores, he LOVES couponers…he MAKES money off of coupons (ever notice the Retailer Info on the coupon) and customers can buy more which effect his bottom line. He AGREES completely with things like weighing your strawberries and choosing the box with more…he does not, however, appreciate people putting MORE into the box.

    • Jodi says:

      Exactly!

    • Laura says:

      True. Good point, they cannot be resold like that single banana.

    • Gretcen says:

      I agree!

    • DeeDee says:

      I agree with you 100% Julia.

  53. trish says:

    well the only produce i can think of that i do this on is cabbage. i will peel off the ugliest parts but that’s as far as i go. :) i think they do that anyways to make it look good, don’t they?

    • heidi says:

      yes i worked in a grocery store for years in the produce dept. and they always peel off the outer layer to make it look better so i think that as a customer that is ok to do too.

    • Carrie says:

      I agree with you on the cabbage although I have never done it. Just never thought of it at all. lol! If it is a product that has brown and nasty stuff that nobody would want it is ok, because you are basically paying for spoiled product if you don’t. I don’t think the store would expect you to pay for spoilage. Snapping the stems off brocolli though, I think that is stealing because it is a useable part of the vegetable. Spoiled = OK In my opinion.

  54. Lisa says:

    Thank you for this post!! I was a bit disturbed by some of the comments from some. We all like to save $$…but let’s keep our dignity people! I stand by this rule: If you have to look around to see if anyone is watching before you do something (i.e. breaking off broccoli stems, etc.) you’ve crossed the line. I believe this includes taking all the peelies off of products so you can use them at another store. There are enough reasons for people to complain about “coupon shoppers”…I prefer to show people that you can save money and keep your dignity! :)

    • Bridget says:

      Well said Lisa! KCL’s can be classy, not tacky. Oh and still be frugal at the same time ;)

    • Michelle says:

      I like your rule..if you have to look around to see if anyone is looking, that is your conscience telling you it is wrong!

      • Laurie says:

        I suppose you could ask the person working in produce to help you. They’ve always been very helpful when I asked them. Although I’ve never tried to take the bottoms offbrocolli. I don’t eat a grape either – but I have asked if they know if the peaches are freestone and they just cut one open to see – then let you taste it.

    • Nicole P says:

      I agree. If I have even a little bit of guilt about something, I usually don’t do it. I’ve always been the person that got caught. These days I don’t even chance it. My heart races so much just handing the cashier my coupons for my purchases scared that I grabbed the wrong item and the coupon doesn’t work… lol. But I’m sure a psychologist would say I was certifiable!!!

    • Melinda S says:

      I totally agree with Lisa. If one has to check to see who’s watching, that’s your conscience knowing it’s wrong.

      The store has to pay their price and it comes to them as is although I’ve seen my produce guy cleaning up things a little. They base our price on that price and if it gets too off balance, I can see them putting all of the produce under plastic. I’d much rather pay a few cents extra to keep the plastics off of my food.

      The only thing I pull apart is bananas and that is because I’m not leaving behind something that is unsaleable.

      • Kris says:

        I think this is one of the best arguments AGAINST ripping apart produce before buying it. The store is paying for the produce by the pound, WITH the unusable parts attached, so why would we get the right to buy it WITHOUT them? Thanks for raising this issue!

      • Lynne says:

        I too have found that if I feel like I need to look around, I simply ask the clerk if they would remove the unusable part. The other day, I bought an expensive cabbage and the outside three leaves were wilted and brown. I pointed that out to the produce clerk and she complied and removed them. They should know their store’s policies. Thanks everyone!

    • Anonymous says:

      I agree with not breaking off the tops/bottoms of produce, but I just can’t help being a peelie snatcher. I’m sorry. I try to compensate by leaving all the coupons I don’t use (including full scenerios) in the appropriate aisle.

  55. Jdcjd says:

    There are no asterisks or caveats on the label that say “must include inedible portion in total weight”. In couponing you become adept in the fine print, what is said and NOT said. So it is fair game to hack off the stems etc. Why should I pay the store for parts that I can’t use anyway.

    • Neva says:

      I think that if you have to go overboard to find a loophole to prove that what you’re doing isn’t wrong, then what you’re doing is probably wrong. Just my two cents.

  56. I will save the debate for others, but I just had to comment on the broccoli stems note…

    Broccoli stems are delicious! As are those leaves that I always used to chop off. So don’t snap them off or you’re missing good stuff!

    Slice up the stems nice and thin and give them a little saute… seriously wonderful.

    • Kendra says:

      I love the stems, also!!

      • andrea says:

        I have a pet rabbit and I feed them to her. I also purposely buy turnips with the greens attached and radishes with the greens, and feed the greens to her. Cheap bunny food!

    • Mel says:

      I agree! I peal and eat the stems, I look for thick ones, they are delicious!

    • Staci says:

      The stems are my favorite part! I love that whole broccoli costs less than broccoli crowns, because I want the stems.

  57. Ilyssa says:

    I didn’t vote, because I’ve never done this before but if I saw someone else do it, I wouldn’t judge. I’m so glad you posted this poll… I’m really excited to see what people think.