How many of you (raise your hands high) let your kids (young ones, below the age of… say… 6) eat while shopping? Do you think it is right or wrong to do so? I am not talking about a kid with food dribbling down his face and clothes, but a young child gnawing on some cheese or ham that was given to him at the deli, or sipping from a juice box that will be purchased and paid for… or perhaps eating a few Goldfish of pretzels from a beg. I am not talking about taking a handful of Oreos off the shelf and leaving the rest of the bag behind!
Until this was asked of me once I had never given it a second thought. Yesterday, as I was prancing around with Alexander in the shopping cart at close-to-lunch-time I let him eat his way through the store. We started off in the deli then made our way over to the crackers and then the juices. Save for the lack of fruit it was pretty nutricious. I even bought him the new Mots for Tots which has added vitamin C and 50% less sugar (50% more water) than the average juice. When all was said and done I had a happy toddler with a full belly and we went on to get all the other stuff I needed. (Well, most of the other stuff I needed because I forgot the All free and Clear and some new sponges.)
Sure, I could bring some of our own crackers in a bag, but then I would have to listen to the antics of a cranky two year old not getting his way. After all, he thinks the way you do… The food on the other person’s plate looks so much better than your own. You should have ordered what they did. But you didn’t. It’s the same thing in your toddler’s eyes. The crackers on the shelf are way better looking than the ones he has. Yes, it is all marketing and packaging — a ploy to get you to do just what you are doing, unless of course you actually have Goldfish or pretzels on your grocery list. Then, Ta-Da!!!! You are The Good Mommy today.
As I was walking around I couldn’t help but notice all the other toddlers eating their way through Stop & Shop which is soon to be known as The Stop & Eat. I have, on a few occasions, let Alexander eat a banana freshly pulled from the rest of the bunch. I will present the empty browning peel to the cashier with every intention to pay… What? What am I supposed to say to my kid, no don’t eat a banana, have some chips or candy instead? I don’t pick through grapes or cherries. Well, that really isn’t for moral reasons, that’s purely a cleanliness/pesticide-cancer-causing reason! These grocery store make big bucks from me, if they chose not to charge me for that already eaten 19 cent banana I am not going to contest it. My grocery bills are huge-bordering-on-astronomical. These guys could practically survive off me alone. This week was very very good, we came in just over $160 (Remember prices vary in certain parts of the country!) Much of the summer I was hitting the $250 mark… that was painful! I had the milks the fruit the coldcuts… Don at one point told me to stop buying fruit! As for the milk I have stopped buying the organic. I get the locally farmed pesticide-free variety. I am all for patronizing my local farmers and merchants and that is why I like this grocery store chain, sure they ship strawberries from Chile, it helps to keep the prices down, but it ain’t strawberry season here in Connecticut and once again I am not going to deny my kids stuff they want that is actually healthy. But I will make sure my apples and squash and other produce currently in season is local. Next time you see Alexander in the shopping cart munching on a Macoun know this; First I cleaned it off with an antibacterial wipe, secondly it came from a $4 bag which is in the shopping cart. Do I ever reach in and take a bagel from the bakery section? Sure I do, and at the checkout line I hand the cashier the wet, mushy, mauled on piece of dough and say “Please charge me for this and do you have a garbage?”