You’ve been down ever aisle. You’ve completed your list.
Your kids screamed only a couple of times and at glass shattering decibels rather than earth shattering. You are rounding the final aisle and heading toward the checkout.
The dreaded checkout.
Can your children resist their calls? Will the whole family be lured into crashing or will you pass through unharmed?
Like Ulysses himself, you clip your children down into the cart, hoping they won’t be driven crazy by the sweet Siren song:
M&M’s, and Snickers, cookies too.
Put us in your belly. We’re so good for you.
Grab onto your mommy, tell her true:
‘Give me all that candy, or I’ll cry boo-hoo.’
Put us in your pocket, mommy’s out of view.
You want us in your belly. We’re good for you.
At this very moment:
- How many kids are throwing themselves on the dirty floor of a supermarket over a candy bar?
- Or how many children are committing their first crime by stealing a pack of gum in the chaos of the checkout?
- How many parents are taking the Lord’s name in vain while envisioning strangling their kids as they slide their credit card through the machine?
I understand that grocery stores and Super-Cheap-But-Actually-More-Expensive-Because-You-Buy-Lots-Of-Unnecessary-Crap-Mega Marts sell more items because they put bunches and bunches of cheap plastic toys and yummy gummy sweets right at the height of little arms sticking out of grocery carts.
I understand that it is my choice to not buy this crap for my kids. And I don’t EVER EVER give in to my kids’ requests for treats and toys (except sometimes). Yet they are still tempted by everything whenever we go to the store.
I can deal with all the junk hanging from aisles — just asking for kids to pull them down — while I try to choose the healthiest jelly from my 900 options. Hmmm … do I want no corn syrup, sugar or artificial sweetener but with MSG, or do I want no MSG but some sugar and red Dye #666? Decisions, decisions.
I can deal with it because I am standing behind the cart, and I can whisper into my kids’ tiny ears, “I brought you into this world and I can take you out of it; so you better sit down right now, pull that candied sushi out from under your shirt and behave!”
But, come on grocery mart, please don’t tease them with goodies the whole store, and then right when I really need the kids to behave put a gazillion candy bars next to them while I attempt to check out. I’m lugging around a 15-pound book here with 1,973,472 expired coupons in it. I don’t have time to monitor if my kids are committing petty theft.
I want to throw all that stuff in the dumpster and blow it up.
Last week, my kids screamed (at earth shattering decibels) the entire way home because they did not get any cookies at the checkout line. When I opened the car door to get out it was like I was blasting a horror flick inside. (Of course my neighbors and their whole extended family were outside.)
Curse you grocery store!
And just today I saw a 6-year-old boy running around the checkout area, football clutching a large bag of candy, while dodging his grandmother who was whisper-shouting to him, “She has already checked out. She’s leaving. You need to put that down.”
I want a kid-friendly checkout line. No cookies. No candies. No balloons. No toys begging to be bought. The only thing to grab would be baby carrots and apples.
I want mirrors so my little narcissistic kids can make funny faces at themselves while I unload the cart. I want propaganda photos of Elmo enjoying his broccoli. I want evil looking elves with red eyes chanting, “We’re watching you.” (OK, maybe not the last few.)
The checkout line feels like a big old F-U to parents. We like our profits over your health.
I’m mostly a libertarian, so I don’t want a stupid law saying you can’t try to lure kids into diabetes with brightly colored sugar, but I would like for the groceries stores to do it on their own — for the happiness of their customers and for the sanity and health of the kids.
Stop trying to impulse sell candy to little people who do not yet have impulse control.
But I know we are a nation of greed, so even with the obesity epidemic I bet no grocery store would ever look past the bottom line in order to make their customers happier.
Unless … it made them more money.
I would switch stores if they had a kid-friendly checkout line. Maybe you would too.