A situation that was discussed on another site: A goes to a store, sees an item he wants to buy, and puts it into his shopping trolley. It's the only item of that kind left in the store. B comes along. B would also want to buy the item. But the only item left is the one in A's shipping trolley.

So B tries to take the item from A's shopping trolley. A hasn't paid for the item yet, and we assume that B is willing to pay the store. What is the legal situation here? What is A allowed to do to prevent B from taking it, including in the case that B is physically stronger and A is not strong enough to hold on to the item?

2 Answers 2


Simplest answer would be to contact store security, or store management. They could then refuse to sell the item to the other person.


The store is private property, and the merchandise remains the property of the store until it is paid for. I don't have any case law citations, but I'd assume deciding the outcome of the argument between A and B is the responsibility of the agent of the owner of the store - the manager - and they would make a determination who gets what, which could include not selling the item at all to A or B and removing them from the private property.

  • This doesn't really answer the question asked, which is what A is allowed to do to prevent B from physically taking it from them. Feb 14, 2019 at 8:56

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