I don’t know what it is about the grocery store, but it seems to be the hot zone for bad behavior. I guess when I stop to think about it, it’s not hard to figure out why… All that waiting while Mom makes decisions, and nothing to do except look at shelves filled with things to want. Anyway, I found this post on my old family blog that I had before this one, and thought it was worth re-publishing! The boys were 7, 4, and 1 when I originally wrote this. A lot has changed since then – Aidan can now load the groceries into the van and return the cart himself, so he’s a big help. Grocery shopping is not nearly as crazy as it was when they were younger, but the sheer amount of people makes it easier to shop without them!
So here it is… Mom’s Comprehensive Guide to Grocery Store Behavior
In the parking lot:
- We do not run.
- We do not skip.
- Or play hop scotch, or practice a cartwheel. Those things are definitely more fun than just plain walking, but a busy parking lot is not the place to do them!
- We do not climb on the structure that holds the carts. It is made for putting carts away, not for children to climb on.
- We do not pick up interesting things that we find in the parking lot.
- We watch for cars, but we do not point our fingers at them like we are shooting at them. Most people find that rude.
- We do not try to climb up the outside of the building. (One of mine has tried to do this! More than once! No joke.)
In the store:
- We do not run in circles around the cart.
- We do not run in circles around those posts that go up to the ceiling (do those have names?) or try to climb them.
- We do not say “can we buy” or “do we need” or any other variation of those questions on every aisle. Mom is much more willing to listen to those requests if there are 2 or 3 legitimate requests rather than 75 or 80 requests for things like white bread with Angry Birds on the package.
- We do not walk s-l-o-w-l-y and then yell “MOMMY WAIT FOR MEEEEE!” as we run full speed ahead to catch up with Mom who is 5 feet down the aisle.
- We do not swing our arms wildly while walking.
- We talk to our siblings, but we do not play tickle games or hiding games.
- If you are having a turn pushing the cart or stroller, it’s important to have a safe following distance. Mom and Dad have to do this while driving. A safe following distance ensures that you are not constantly clipping the ankles of the person in front of you, which is very much appreciated.
- We do not point out to Mom every item we see that is JUST LIKE one we have at home. Mom does not need to acknowledge every box of Life cereal, loaf of bread, or box of tissues, that is “just like what we have!”
- We try our best not to be in the way of others. We try not to take up the entire aisle with just our family.
- We do not run our hands along the raw meat case.
- We do not poke the packages of raw meat.
- We do not eat the ice out of the produce coolers. (One of mine cannot stay away from the ice!)
In the check-out line:
- We do not climb onto the bagging area.
- We do not push the button that stops the conveyor belt. When you are old enough, you can get a job there and operate the conveyor belt!
- I know that packages of candy and toys have been placed right where your little eyes will land on them, but please leave them alone.
- We do not ask Mom questions while she is trying to pay like, “If I had three quarters but I can’t find one of them and then I got those three dimes and a nickel and two pennies that I found on top of the dryer, how much money would I have?”
- We do not play with the credit card machine unless we are offering to pay with our own credit card.
And the #1 tip from Mom’s Comprehensive Guide to Grocery Store Behavior? Go shopping while Dad is home with the kids!
This is not always possible, and we do often all go and live to tell the tale. But it sure is nice to shop without them all if I can! Or, I shop with just one or two kids, which is really quite pleasant and a good opportunity to spend some focused time with them.
(For some legit ideas on surviving errands with kids, check out this post on Surviving Boring Errands with Kids.)