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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?

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

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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. – David Schwartz Feb 14 at 8:56

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