I love shopping and I love food so when it comes to food shopping it’s really the best of both worlds. Even after three children I haven’t let myself give in to the Instacart’s and Peapod’s of the world. The control freak in me still holds tight to this chore so that I can properly inspect my own produce and pull what I’ve deemed the best packages off the shelves.
I’m happy to say that in the town that I do my shopping there is one road that is home to Shop Rite, BJ’s, and Costco, along with many other stores that make shopping trips super convenient.
I take advantage of my stay-at-home mom schedule and shop during the week, but because of this I never shop with less than two children at a time. During the school year food shopping filled gaps between my oldest child’s preschool drop off or pickup and library story times or activities for my twins. Now that summer is here I have my full entourage at all shopping excursions. All outings with three children require strategy. This is how I manage my children and attempt to return home with all the items I went to the store for.
Our local Shop Rite has a top notch selection of carts.
They have just added stock of mini shopping carts that my children love and now that they are getting older I allow the mini carts to be their means of supermarket transportation.
I tend to travel through the store with a panicked feeling not knowing how any trip with a gang of children and their mini carts will turn out. No patron wants three young children bumping into them while they shop. I know to only shop first thing on a weekday so as not to bother a large population of Shop Rite customers. At this time the clientele generally thinks my children are cute and they comment how “brave” I am or how full my hands are.
No one likes to leave a good time so our departures from the supermarket tend to be a bit messy. If you catch an expert cashier they will have lollipops to help send you on your way. Today there were no lollipops.
Making decisions is not a strong quality of mine so I chose both BJ’s and Costco memberships. Seems a little much but at this point there are certain items at both stores that we just cannot live without.
My trips to these bulk stores revolve around their samples. Samples make my children happy and excited about making it through the whole store. They’re always looking for where the next sample may be. This gives me ample time to shop for what I need and of course impulse buy said samples. The most recent impulse buy was dehydrated mushrooms the kids claimed to have loved.
A wise mom just recently informed me that BJ’s always has cookies at the bakery for children, all you have to do is ask. This makes up for the fact that they only have samples Thursdays through Sundays.
Many times our trips to the stores together can be chaos, but when they are not I find them to be special. We spend our time traveling the aisles talking. We talk about what we see, we count the items of food we need, we notice colors and shapes, and we recall recipes we make together and what we need for them. The children get to chime in on the food they want, I ask them to help make healthy choices of fruits and vegetables they want to eat. Then I remind them that it was their choice when they refuse the food at mealtimes. They practice manners with staff and other shoppers. They are helpful; they push their own carts or put items on the belt, at self checkout they love to scan items.
Every once and awhile I sneak away to shop alone and it is truly fabulous. Sometimes to the stores that I would normally bring my children to, but mostly I pick a “special” store, one that doesn’t have carts to accommodate my children like Trader Joe’s, or one that I wouldn’t dare take them into for fear I’d never get them out without a meltdown like Target. I love my shopping buddies but the freedom of shopping alone feels amazing!