Most moms know that mixing kids and grocery shopping is much like mixing Pop-Rocks and Coke– not a good idea if possible but it gives everyone something to watch.
Recently a group of moms and I were in a waiting room and discussed “The Gauntlet”– the 20 feet of check-out that traps our children within arm’s reach of candy, Elsas, Lightning McQueens and especially THE MAGAZINES. One said that her reading, school-aged girls had questions about divorce and if “the best sex tips” would really “snare a guy.” Another mom mentioned that she avoids taking her pre-teen sons specifically during the Swim Suit editions. “I’d drive out of my way to go to a store with healthy options that didn’t use my kids against me or shove airbrushed boobs into my face” one mom said. These are important ‘teachable moments’, but when we are desperately racing against nap time to get toilet paper and bananas, we don’t want to help our kids keep up with the Kardashians. We all know that these images and expectations are negatively impacting our society.
No amount of shielding will keep our kids in a bubble and they do need to learn how to handle life in this culture. These are important conversations and we all know kids will learn.We all complain about it and frankly, it isn’t going away. If we didn’t buy the magazines, the candy, the toys, etc. it wouldn’t be sold. This isn’t about morality… this is about capitalism, pure and simple.
Today I’m not wanting to address the greed of kids, differing parenting approaches to melt-downs, or the junk food. No, it is accepted that the grocery store is carefully designed to separate us from our money with all the advertising genius possible. No, today I had a friendly and delightful conversation with a grocery store manager and told him about the Mom-Council.
I suggested that they open an aisle or two that are kid-friendly. Either put the magazines in stand where only the very top titles are available and tabloids are hidden or put them in only a few aisles. I know I would stand in line for an aisle without magazines, candy, or toys. Would you? If not, fine. No judgement here. The manager actually agreed and mentioned that at overseas military posts and bases the magazines were not in the commissaries (grocery stores) but were put in the Class Sixes, where the booze is sold. The items are still sold but moms get a reprieve.
If the moms aren’t buying the toys and candy, the stores lose money. What’s the incentive? Well, I want to hear from you, Parents. What would you suggest? If every mom I know is at least mildly annoyed by this, can’t we change it? No wonder Amazon Pantry and the grocery pick-ups are growing in popularity.
What are your ideas? I’m interested to see what the brilliant molders of the next generation can come up with.