An influencer has sparked a debate about whether her actions at the supermarket are completely normal or totally taboo.
On Aug. 18, lifestyle influencer Cecily Bauchmann posted a pair of TikTok videos of herself grocery shopping at a Publix supermarket in Tennessee.
In the first video, she takes us from her car to the store and through the aisles of the supermarket in a little over two minutes, but it’s the second, shorter, 12-second video of Bauchmann in the checkout lane that has sparked a heated discussion.
“I also opened this in-store,” Bauchmann says in the video. Holding her now-empty pack of spicy salmon sushi, she giggles while talking to a grocery store cashier off camera. “I’m sorry, I was so hungry.”
This sushi-scarfing moment was captured in her first video, when she picks up the 12-roll pack of sushi before checkout. “So freakin’ good,” she says with a mouth full of sushi.
Her video in the checkout lane — with the caption, “OPENING FOOD IS A NORMAL THING AT THE GROCERY STORE K?” — has gone viral, with more than 4 million views and plenty of commenters weighing in with their opinions on the matter.
And while the mom of four has garnered some support from folks who get a little peckish while grocery shopping, there are many who think snacking in the supermarket before paying is a big no-no.
“My aunt used to do this… it was embarrassing lol,” commented one TikTok user.
“Never done this, taught to never do this,” wrote someone else.
“not me because it isn’t mine until I pay for it in my head its considered stealing,” wrote another commenter.
“Idc how hungry I am, I’d never do this,” wrote yet another user.
Bauchmann did not respond to multiple requests for comment from TODAY.com.
But Bauchmann seems unfazed by the criticism, responding to some comments and admitting to one commenter that she has “gotten looks” while eating in the grocery store.
“It feels so illegal 😅,” wrote another TikTok commenter, to which Bauchmann responded, “Sometimes but I like to keep life interesting 😅.”
One popular response to Bauchmann’s video brings up the perspective that she might be getting away with this behavior due to white privilege.
“I have realized that if you’re Black, this is a big no-no. You can’t open a pouch for your child, you can’t give them a strawberry or grape because of how you’re looked at, there are no kind eyes, there are no rose-colored glasses, you are villainized,” TikToker Shamelessly Jessilynn says in her video.
She admits that she’s also guilty of snacking on groceries before buying them, but being in an interracial marriage caused her to think differently.
“I didn’t realize that I was causing my husband issues in the grocery store with our two year old,” Jessilynn says.
The experience of racial profiling in U.S. retail stores is so widely shared that Black Americans and academics have a term for it: “Shopping while Black.”
“No hate to this creator. I love her. I think she goes all out for her kids,” Jessilynn adds. “It’s just an opportunity to have a conversation and make people aware of the little things that are privileged that we may not think about all the time.”
“yea i would never think about opening something before buying it, i don’t want someone thinking i’m stealing,” commented one user under Jessilynn’s video.
“I’m Mexican and I’ve been followed in small shops before just by having items in a cart. I could never eat items inside, way too scared,” wrote another.
“I’m stressed just opening my purse to grab my chapstick bc it’s the same one they sell when I’m in store,” commented someone else.