An Irish woman will spend time in prison after being caught opening a packet of Pringles in a supermarket before she paid for them.
Kathleen McDonagh was sentenced to four months behind bars, with two months suspended, for causing criminal damage to the €1.50 (AU$2.30, US$1.71) packet of chips, the BBC reports.
The 25-year-old reportedly had a series of previous convictions, including theft or criminal damage. She had also been banned from the Tesco store in the city of Cork where the crime took place, prior to the incident.
According to the BBC, McDonagh so desperately wanted the packet of chips that she decided to enter the store and open the Pringles so she would have to pay for them. However, this obviously didn’t go down well with the supermarket as the woman “had no permission to be in the store” and the chips were “not fit for resale with a loss of €1.50”.
The report added that while McDonagh had pleaded guilty and was recently married and several months pregnant, the judge did not give her any leniency. For many, eating a grape before buying or giving a child some chocolate to calm them down while completing the shopping is a regular occurrence and something they wouldn’t consider a crime.
This was the opinion of several people who took to social media to express their outrage over the decision to send the woman to jail.
“Eat potato chips before paying for them, go to jail. It’s the law?? Maybe everybody associated with this silly case who was ‘not’ eating Pringles needs to go to jail,” one person wrote on Twitter.
While another added: “Just read a woman who was banned from a #tesco store in Mahon Cork, Ireland. Yesterday received a four month jail sentence, two months suspended, for opening a pack of Pringles before she paid for them, but she offered to pay for them. Wow. As a layperson, I can’t see a crime”.
Just read a woman who was banned from a #tesco store in mahon, cork, Ireland. Yesterday received a 4 month jail sentence, two months suspended, for opening a pack of pringles before she paid for them, but she offered to pay for them. Wow. As a layperson, I can't see a crime.
— n mc (@nmc2017nmc) November 28, 2018
A third said: “Two months in jail for opening a pack of Pringles, whilst a man wielding a knife gets a suspended sentence. Regardless of previous convictions, it seems excessive!”
Although it may seem like an innocent act, in some areas of the world it is treated as a crime and people can face serious charges if they eat a product before paying. In 2011, a woman in Honolulu was arrested after eating a sandwich in a supermarket and forgetting to pay at the check-out.
According to the Huffington Post, Nicole Leszczynski had consumed the item while completing the rest of her shopping and had intended to pay for it with the rest of her groceries but simply forgot.
Before leaving the store she was stopped at the door, and although she offered to pay, her and her husband were still arrested. As a result the couple’s two-year-old daughter was reportedly taken away by Child Welfare Services. The decision apparently caused outrage across the country and the supermarket ended up dropping the charges with the little girl returned safely to her parents.
“I didn’t know it was such a taboo thing,” Leszczynski told the Huffington Post at the time. “Where I grew up in a small town it’s not seen as stealing for sure.”