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!

Mom's Comprehensive Guide to Grocery Store Behavior

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.)


Post a Comment
  1. Emilia Jun 17, 2013

    This is good, goes for shopping with toddler twins too, even if one is a girl. :D I prefer to do the shopping with my oldest (6 yrs), she's a real help and company, but with all three... Well, I pity the other customers even more than myself.

  2. Valerie McClintick Jun 17, 2013

    Too funny, this is our shopping experience every time :) So glad to see I'm not alone in these crazy grocery adventures!

    I laughed at every line as I've said them ALL, especially the don't poke the raw meat....hahahaha!

    :) Valerie

  3. Anna Jun 17, 2013

    I often shop with all four of my kids (6,4,3,1) and I can SO relate! I definitely agree that shopping alone is much easier and more efficient, but I have so little time to myself that I'd rather spend it blogging than shopping!:)

  4. Dennis Jun 17, 2013

    Great guide, everything makes perfect sense! I wonder however if you have any practical tips for making the boys adhere to this code of conduct? :)

  5. Sara Jun 17, 2013

    BAhaha It's funny 'cause it's true! When grocery shopping with my little guy it's a "grab and run" thing.

    And this should be illegal!: "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"

  6. Aimee Jun 17, 2013

    I love these! :) Joel and Savannah loved to pretend they were poor little children, and even once pointed at another lady on the aisle with us and said, "Run, it's the wicked stepmother!" Gotta love that!

  7. Meg Jun 17, 2013

    If I didn't know better, I'd swear you were following me! I used to have to take everybody (up to 5 kids), but now I can leave my oldest (now 15) home to babysit. Except he's my best shopper's aide - tall enough to reach the high stuff, young enough to bend down to the bottom. I can't win! :)

  8. Amy Jun 17, 2013

    So Funny! So True. I'm glad I'm not alone. I just have one son, so I could imagine what it is like with 3.

  9. Marsha Jun 17, 2013

    Oh, yes! LOVED this article. Can SO totally relate. My favorite was not to poke the packages of raw meat! Why is it those little fingers cannot resist poking holes in plastic!?! LOL.

  10. Anna Jun 17, 2013

    Laughed till I cried at every one! Mine are 9, 7, 4 & 2. It helps to decide who is old enough to push the cart, and who is young enough to ride in the race car cart. Because you never know who will be offended by being denied one of those rights :)

  11. sara Jul 7, 2013

    I thought this post would be a magical fix for the above behaviors...alas it doesn't exist. As the mother of three boys age 5, 2, and 10 months I am grateful that someone else has been there....it means I can do it just like the moms who did it before! Thank you so much@

  12. Soozoo Jul 11, 2013

    Also, do not squish the bags of marshmallows until the insides turn to goo. Why does my grocery store put the marshmallows in the cereal aisle, anyway?!?

  13. Allison Sep 7, 2013

    You always make me laugh! I don't know if other moms appreciate your humor or if it is just because I have four boys that sound a lot like yours but I love reading your posts. Thanks for sharing! :)

  14. Jen Oct 5, 2013

    Loved this post too! I was starting to wonder this week if I could count grocery shopping for gym class because of the amount of jumping up and down that was going on. Seriously--like 30 minutes! It's so good to remember to laugh!

  15. Coriander Jan 6, 2024

    Oh the parking lot treasures, finger guns, and the raw meat aisle, lol!


Post a Comment