Memo to Store Checkout Lanes: Stop Manipulating My Kids!

grocery store candy aislesIf there is one thing as a mom that I hate above all else, it's the grocery store checkout lane. No matter how many times my kids and I go to the store, be it the big box store or the bathroom/kitchen chain, no matter how many times I say, "No you can't have that candy/toy/sparkly notepad/pig with light-up eyes," my children always start to cry.


It's bad enough to have to take your toddler into a store. Most of us moms will try to avoid that at all costs. But every once in a while, we do and no matter how good my children are throughout the trip, the meltdowns always start in the checkout line. And for this, I blame stores.


In every aisle, there is something tantalizing. We can avoid the candy aisle, but then we end up in the small toy aisle. My daughter always knows I will say no to M&M's, but mini Barbies have no sugar! Why can't mommy get those?

Look, no matter how inexpensive it is, we don't need another mini Barbie in a pink jumpsuit. It sends the wrong message. I don't want to be on the hook for a "small present" every time we walk into the store.

But mommy! I was good! They cry. They scream. They stomp their feet. By the end of an hour-long grocery trip, all kids are tired. They are bored. It's the perfect time to tempt them with things they want and make their mouths water. The stores aren't stupid. They know they have parents in a weak spot. I am sure many parents give in just to stop that incessant whining. After all, wouldn't you pay $1 to avoid public humiliation?

So what is a mom who wants to send a message really to do? I stand my ground and I am often rewarded with an epic tantrum. If I buy them the thing, I may get happy kids, but I get a tantrum even more epic the next time I go into the store.

Here's a better idea: Stop manipulating my kids with store displays. Put small tools and things that appeal to grownups in the front of the store and hide the candy. I am sure the comments below will go on and on about how we all need to control our kids and all the "good" moms will say their kids never ask. But you know what? I live in the real world with real kids, and no matter how many times I say no, they STILL want the candy and small toys.

Personally, I prefer a store like Whole Foods where magazines and non-commercial sweets are less likely to catch my eye. So, yes. I frequent those stores. But sometimes I get stuck. And every time I remind myself that I am willing to pay a little more for groceries from a store that respects my children enough not to market to them directly.

Do you hate the checkout aisle candy displays, too?


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