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Grocery Shopping with Kids is a Glimpse into Hell…

April 5, 2012

Grocery shopping with children is something akin to a circle of hell in Dante’s Inferno. The misery begins when you tote babies to the grocery store in the early years, and there seems to be no relief in sight even when they hit 10 & 12 years old.

When your kids are babies, the difficulty of grocery shopping mainly revolves around them licking and putting their mouths on the grocery cart handle and touching everything in sight. Being a germ freak myself, I would rather them eat off the floor of the men’s room in the LaGuardia airport than use the plastic handle of the grocery cart as a teething ring. This was always good for 1-2 sleepless nights from a cold turned – ear infection. Lovely.

When they get a bit older and hit the toddler years, it get worse because not only do they want you to push them around in the grocery cart that looks like racecar, but they start to have opinions about what goes into the shopping cart. The racecar carts, the State Fair and Free Day at the Zoo are a case of the Rotavirus (the most common cause of severe diarrhea among infants and young children) waiting to happen – if your kids have had it, you know what I’m talking about. The coup de grâce of this family outing is the inevitable blow-out diaper that happens sometime after you have tried to pacify your cranky kid with Goldfish and a juice box. (I’ll save my opinion of the grocery store changing tables for another day.) And if you are lucky enough to have an extra diaper, chances are good you are out of wipes. The trip ends with you trying to find their shoes and socks as they sit barefoot on the floor by the checkout stand crying with a severe case of grocery store feet (you know – they’re black on the bottom). Remember: you are allowed to cry, but for all involved, please do it standing up. Then, you are the parent trying to buckle a hysterical child into their car seat in what looks like a cage fighting match in the back of a minivan while people stare just so you can throw your 72 sacks of groceries into the back of your car. And, of course, they are sound asleep before you get home totally wrecking their afternoon nap.

Even as the kids get older you can’t go down a single grocery store aisle without your kids wanting at least eight things. Even the baking aisle is a complete beat down because you have to explain why we aren’t going bake a dessert each night, why we don’t want you kids to bake dessert every night, why we can’t afford dessert every night given that we spend a gazillion dollars on groceries each month, how it’s not good for out bodies to eat dessert every night….etc. Then, when I put ONE six-pack of beer in the cart, I feel like I am getting chewed out by Dr. Oz. (or my wife) about how bad beer is for my body, maybe that is why my hair is falling out, when was the last time I had my cholesterol checked, how much do I drink each week, maybe that’s the reason why my face looks like I have gained weight, do I understand the negative health effects of even one drink a day…etc.

I know the marketing industry has spent billions of dollars to figure out that putting kid items at their eye level on grocery store shelves promotes the sales of these goods. It also adds to the total misery of grocery shopping with kids. If the name and address of any of these marketing geniuses founds its way onto the internet, I have to believe there would be carloads of parents at their front doors with torches and pitchforks like barbarians at the gate. Until that happens, I have to find comfort in the idea that there is a place in Dante’s Inferno for the misery the masterminds of marketing put us through each time we show up at the grocery store with our kids.

© Johnny Hea – 2012 All Rights Reserved


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  1. I can only imagine the misery I caused my poor mother growing up! I remember shopping trips with her vividly and I also remember not always behaving…

    • I know. I think I am getting payback for begging for every little thing in the store when I was young.

  2. Oh, yes. Certainly a challenge

  3. When we were young my mom would make us kids sit on the bench located inside in the front of the supermarket (or on the floor if there was no bench) while she did her shopping, where we would go crazy anyway (but wouldn’t move from that spot). As long as she didn’t see us, I guess she figured it wasn’t happening. Or maybe she was just hoping we’d get kidnapped. Hmmmm. . .

    • That’s Genius! People wouldn’t do that anymore. We are too our kids would get snatched if left alone in a grocery store.

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