Needing a better shopping cart

I used to think taking your kid to the grocery store meant an opportunity for teaching: basic math or counting skills with fruit; colors with the veggies or even good eating habits. While I still believe that can be done with one child in the cart, it doesn’t work with two. Your shopping trip is spent corralling, bargaining and often times bribing so kids will just stay in the shopping cart.

If you have at least two children under the age of, say four, you probably know what I mean. In the latest issue of Parenting magazine, there was a blurb about shopping cart, 23,000 children end up in the emergency room from falling out of shopping carts. I believe it. We've had many near misses.

So here’s the thing--except for a very brief time when both my kids would fit in the cart, configured big boy in the front and baby riding in her infant seat in the back, shopping cart with kids really annoys the hell out me!

I have two kids less than two years apart. If I want to shop for anything other than a carton of milk, some bread and peanut butter, I have to use a shopping cart instead of the stroller. This means someone has to ride in the front and someone has to ride the back.

The problem is the back of the cart, where you toss all your stuff, is not safe for a child to sit. But we all do it because we have to. My kids stand up, grab stuff as they pass and throw things out. It’s also not practical to have someone in there because then where will you put your purchases?

If I’m lucky, some of the stores have double carts or the dreaded car carts. In principle these are a great idea. Two kids can ride in the car—strapped in—and you even have room for a third in the front with mom. Now, if your kids are normal, you have about 15 minutes before the sitting side-by-side in the car cart turns into a bloody mess, literally. My kids push and pull at each other. Sometimes entire torsos are sticking out from the car windows. Without my knowing, products come off shelves and into the car. Shoes are flung out of the car cart windows, many times causing me to race back through the store to find the missing shoe. (Have you ever raced in one of these carts?? It’s not a pretty sight.)

Some stores have older kid carts where the two “buddied up” siblings sit facing each other on plastic seats. This is another recipe for disaster. These, too, get us about 15 minutes into the store before someone wiggles out of the straps or pushing the other one out. Then I’m left with two kids running around while I chase them with a giant un-maneuverable cart.

So where does this leave those of us with kids, whether it’s two, three of four of them that all need to ride—or be restrained—in the carts? If they’re not making a break from mom running through Target, then they are trying to scale the side of the cart. If we bribe them through the store (my personal favorite) then we start a habit where every cart-infested store requires a muffin or new item to keep kids in their seats and out of trouble.

Surely some brilliant inventor can come up with a cart to suit those with more than one child. I wish my travels to other countries gave me some great insight into shopping carts—it didn’t. In Qatar, we didn’t even have straps in the carts to keep the kids secure. Perhaps more of the bigger stores will have play areas for kids or even (gasp) child care like the Wegmans in Dulles.

So then after a little research online, I found these awesome shopping carts from Caboco that can be found at a Midwestern grocery store chain. (See picture) There is a TV option in the cart to keep kids entertained. While I think that’s a bit extreme, if it meant I could shop in peace, I might just do it. The best part about it, the customer pays $1 for the use of it. Awesome, that's what they do in Europe, anyway. However, for me, this still doesn’t solve the problem of my kids pushing each other out of the cart, but if they were preoccupied with a TV show they might just leave each other alone.

Still there must be another way to configure shopping cart? Back to back, one in front of the other, side by side with a wall in between. It’s actually a good thing for me. Target is unfortunately where a good portion of our money goes each month; however, I avoid it like the plague with both my kids because of the shopping carts. If I had a way to leisurely stroll the aisles, just think how much more money I would spend. My husband thanks you for this!

There seems to be no solution other than going while the kids are in school, on the weekend or sending my husband out instead.

This article was cross-posted on DC Metro Moms.

1 comment:

kim said...

OMG, I just went to Safeway and thought of this old post. Have you seen their new shopping carts, the ones with Barney on the side? The ones with FREE TV for your kid to watch?! Seriously, do we NEED tv at the grocery store too??? (Although I admit I'm tempted to try it out!)