Many of you already know that I take my kids grocery shopping with me every week. Every week. Since they were born.
We have a routine. They know what to expect. We’ve been going to the same store without issue for over 4 years now. This store is the only store that I’ve found to have carts in which I can safely strap three children and fit a week’s worth of groceries. 3 Children securely fastened. One week of groceries. Perfect. Sure, they kick each other a little, but generally they are well-behaved as long as we get our free cookies from the bakery and a slice of cheese from the deli. Fine.
Our usual grocery store just went through a remodel. Initially, the prospect of a polished new store thrilled me. How exciting!
And then…. they changed the carts…. and a small part of me died.
Seriously. What were they thinking?
Did they think that I wouldn’t notice that the standard carts are now smaller because with the new narrower aisles, the larger carts don’t fit as well? Did they think that the new “car carts” that hold 2 children would be a big hit? Did they think that my gigantic, clumsy but fits-3-kids-and-a-week-of-groceries cart wouldn’t be missed? Do they know who they are dealing with here???
In fairness, the car carts are big with the kids. They love them. Parents have stalked me at my car, waiting for me to empty my groceries so they could secure the car cart for their own screaming children. But here’s the problem with that idiotic car cart: it’s miniscule. Tiny. We are talking 3 days of groceries at best. Think about that… wouldn’t a family who might need a cart for two children need more groceries, not fewer? (Note: these are NOT “the car in the front of a shrunken regular cart” type. This is the 2 tier “I’m just shopping for 2 people” cart with a 2-seater car thing jammed on top.) I have seen people with these carts doing all sorts of ludicrous things to keep their kids and groceries contained, including: cramming 3 kids into the kid carrier part (tried it, my kids are too big), putting a larger child in the itty bitty basket part (where will the groceries go?), OR piling children with groceries in their laps up to their eye balls trying to get enough goods in the cart. Ridiculous.
For me, attempts with the car cart go something like this: get to the store, wonder if there will be a car cart, find one (maybe), watch kids argue over who gets to ride in it first, select 2 children to go first, start getting groceries, stop every aisle or two and rotate children (yes, rotate children. Walker rides, different kid walks. Yes, I know my kids are theoretically all old enough to walk. No, I can’t just leave the same 2 kids in the cart for the duration because then I’d have to listen to the walker whine about the unfairness of it all and how he or she is too tired to take anther step, and I tell you, I can’t stand the whining.). Then, usually somewhere around cleaning supplies and long before I get to the 1.5 dozen eggs and 5 gallons of milk I need, the cart is full…. Really full. Like, “Hey walking kid, carry this 1.5 dozen eggs. I’ll just hope for the best,” full.
Last time I was there, by the time I got to check out, my back was aching from kid rotating, and I still didn’t have all of my groceries because I just couldn’t carry anything else. So when the check out woman said, “How are you, today?” I completely lost it on her.
“How am I? Seriously? How do I look? Do I look like a lunatic? Because these grocery carts don’t fit my groceries. Where are the carts I could fit my kids in?” I stop to remove walking kid from neighboring cashier’s station. “Do you think that I want to buy groceries twice a week? Really? Does this look like something so fun that I want to double the number of times I have to do it? This used to be so easy. I had a cart, that fit my kids and my groceries. And now…. just … just …. seriously!”
By the end of my tirade, the cashier had enlisted some unfortunate soul to help carry my groceries to the car for me, and they promised that they would look into getting one or two of the old carts back. I am not stupid. I know that they were just trying to placate me.
It isn’t all bad news, though. I have noted in the past that I tend to spend more when the kids are with me. On average, an extra $25 per child…. which for the math challenged (like me) is $75 a week. Seems to me, that by making it impossible for me to shop with my kids, they just screwed themselves out of a potential $300/month. Put that revenue loss in your newly remodeled rear end mister-fancy-schmancy-supermarket.
I’m a little sad about it. Shopping together was great family time. Sometimes I’d give them their own lists to work from so they could help me “remember” what we needed to buy. I’m sure that when I’m finally over my outrage I’ll find a way to make it work, because, as I routinely tell the old women who stop me to marvel “I don’t know how you do it!”, we need food.