Taking kids to the grocery store really, really sucks. I don’t take my kids along often, but when I do, I end up using my evil witch voice before we even get past the produce section. By the time I make it to the checkout, I am sweaty, grumpy, frazzle-haired and in no mood to cool my heels in a line five people deep. Big surprise, my kids aren’t too pleased with the wait either. Here are six ways stores could make the supermarket checkout a little less sucky for us parents:
1. 12 Items or less? How about “Two or more kids”?
I’m all in favor of providing a quick exit pass for the people with a few items, but how about an equivalent for people shopping with more than one kid in tow? I’m envisioning something with a wheel-locking system so my kids can’t shove our cart into the back of the person in front of us, and ideally a barrier system that would keep them from escaping out either end. Sure, I could watch them the entire time… but you might also want me to unload the cart, bag my groceries and pay too.
2. What I’d really like to impulse buy
After numerous trials, I’ve firmly established that my kids will beg for anything that is hanging in the impulse buy section. How about we move the AA batteries and pine tree air fresheners to the back of the store and stock the checkout area with some fruit and veggie snack packs? I’m *not* buying another pack of trading cards, but I would happily pay an extra $5 to watch my kid eat a bag of apple slices for a change.
3. A little light entertainment
Unless I come down with a severe case of food poisoning, the checkout stand is my only chance to read magazines. You and I both know that I am not going to buy them. So let’s just be honest and opt for a library-style set-up with one of those huge magazine sticks to keep them in place. In fact, the stick could be dual-purpose, as I could also use it to nudge my kids back into line. And no, I don’t want anything self-helpy or thought-provoking. Stock something with shots of the latest celebrity wedding and I’ll be your most loyal customer EVER.
4. Send me your scanning superstar
Pay attention here; this part is the most crucial. The mommy and me checkout stand should be staffed AT ALL TIMES with your absolute top performer. I want the cashier that knows every barcode by heart, can accurately estimate the weight of the bunch of bananas I forgot to weigh and scan an overflowing cart of groceries in under a minute.
5. Use your brain when bagging
A gallon of milk is heavy. So are bottles of wine. If you put them in a single plastic bag and stack a dozen eggs on top, you shouldn’t be surprised when you find me sobbing in the parking lot. Since I’m already balancing one kid on my hip and the other on my leg, a little thought towards weight distribution during bagging would go a long way.
6. Receipts and reward points
Last, but not least, are the reams of paper. Why on earth do I always leave the store trailed by two feet of register tape? It is 2014. If Siri can tell me what the fox says, why can’t those mini loyalty cards clogging up my keyring keep track of my weekly rebate? Either give me the $0.50 back or don’t, but for goodness sake, don’t make me keep track of another little bit of paper. My kids do enough of that already.
What changes would you suggest?