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Have Kids, Will Grocery Shop

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I enjoy shopping with my kids. Well, “enjoy” is a strong term. It’s more that I loathe grocery shopping to the point I’d prefer the distraction of misbehavior to the tedium of an uninterrupted search for expiration dates.

For the first five minutes.

After that, things get dicey. So I select a store that’s small enough I can’t “lose” my kids for more than a few awkward minutes but large enough to diffuse their hysteria. Typically, I choose Trader Joe’s (TJ’s). They have plenty to keep my kids entertained (free samples, kiddie shopping baskets, find-the-dirty-monkey-and-get-a-lollipop) with the added bonus of stocking nothing the kids recognize from morning cartoon commercials.

Before my oldest could read, I could easily dissuade him from certain junk foods by claiming they contained peanuts, to which he’s allergic. Now he reads, so steering him away from the high-fat high-sugar treats around which his world revolves is challenging.

I don’t want to say, “It’s fattening” or “You don’t need the calories” because, should my kids wind up with body dysmorphia or worse, I don’t want them to be able to recall a specific moment as the snowflake that started the avalanche of their descent. Better to keep it vague so they can’t point fingers.

To be fair, TJ’s has plenty of junk food in clear boxes with kid-friendly labels. But it’s not a game-changer - Whole Foods is too expensive, Stop and Shop is too big, and Fresh Market has a lousy “We’re putting the open candy bins right in front of your kids’ faces but, please, no sampling” policy. Which, frankly, I choose to ignore.

Biggest drawback to TJ’s is the stickers. Cashiers generously dole out strips of stickers to kids during checkout. Invariably, these wind up plastered to my car windows, dining room table, and dog. If I view it as restitution for the free lollipops and general mayhem my kids caused during our visit, I’m not as annoyed. We’re even. See you next week.

Friday, February 07, 2014 • PermalinkKids in Tow    
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