Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Kids Shopping Carts

Every Friday I care for one of my grandsons. We have great time doing all sorts of things that he thinks are adventures. He's two and everything is an adventure to him. Our special day is filled with all kinds of activities. Last week I needed to go to the super market. He likes going to the market because he knows he's going to get all kinds of "freebies" from the market.

Our local market has the little old women at different stations hanging out samples of all kinds of things which I'm sure are very profitable for the store to sell. It's usually something on a piece of cracker or bread, or if you're really lucky it'll be some juice and ice cream. You know what it's like, just enough to whet your appetite so you'll buy the stuff.

Since this market shopping spree has become a weekly ritual I decided I better include this at lunch time for the boy. I now refer to the market excursions as "lunch on the run". We get some meats at the Deli, a cookie at the bakery, some cut up fruits in produce and occasionally some kind of tiny pieces of a frozen entree. This boy is thrilled and he's had lunch by the time we are finished with our marketing adventure.

This past week there was a slight exception to the normal adventure. I decided to look for a shopping cart that had a steering wheel and some other accessories the boy could play with as we meandered down the aisles of excess and absurdities. My rationalization was, if I could keep the boy entertained with this shopping cart and all its bells and whistles I would have more time to get the things on my shopping list. Normally I arrive home with shopping list in hand realizing the boy needed more attention than the list and I've forgotten more than half of the list. This time, I thought, I'd be much more alert and would clearly be in command of the list and the boy.

Man, was I wrong...

First of all, if you're not familiar with the type of cart I'm referring to let me tell you about it. It's a huge plastic thing. The basket on the front of the cart is bigger than most of the carts. The area for the kids (there are two seats-complete with seat belts for the kids) is pretty big as well. The kids sit and rest their feet on an added "floor" in back of the basket (perfect area to drop things into, then the parent/grandparent has to become a pretzel to retrieve the item so Johnny/Jane stops yelling that they've dropped the item-you know this will become a game to them...don't you?). The cart is wider as well. So you have a huge cart, longer (because of the seat for the kids) and wider going down aisles filled with displays and other hurdles, not to mention other folks with their carts. It's not a pretty visual.

Being the wonderful grandparent I am, I figured I would have no problem with this cart. I was very experienced with shopping carts, how bad could it be?

The first aisle I was cool, no problem. The aisle was free of hurdles, the boy was thrilled. He was able to "steer" with the wheel, honk the horn every 2 seconds. Life was good. Then all Hell let loose...

In the next aisles, there were no fewer than 10 displays, the flimsy cardboard kind some vendor must put together to garner as much attention to the display as possible (obviously another highly profitable item). Well, the first couple were safe from me and new "weapon of mass destruction" however, the next bunch were more than I could maneuver around. Two of them I caught before they spilled all over the aisles, but the other three? Well, let's just say that the poor floor cleaners in the store are probably still cleaning up the messes...Yes, there were multiple messes.

The worst thing was when I turned the "Weapon of mass destruction" so quickly that I knocked over an old lady into one of the displays. Luckily she was caught before hitting the floor by a one guy who watched the whole incident.

The boy was thrilled by all the excitement. I was mortified, the old lady was furious until she saw the boy laughing and having a great time, the man, the hero, was laughing as he told me the reason the "weapon of mass destruction " was available was because people with kids knew that particular cart was "evil" and left it alone.

I've learned my lesson. I too will leave the "Weapon of Mass destruction" alone and choose a simple cart. I will bring things with me to keep the boy occupied and I will wear a disguise the next time I go to the super market with the boy.