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My Beef with Shopping Carts


Dear Retailers,

As a parent of two children who are not old enough or mature enough to walk freely in any establishment that is not designed for children to run amuck, I implore you to please increase your fleet of shopping carts designed to transport more than one child.

Currently, when I need to go to a store and such a cart is not readily available, I will use my double stroller to fit my three year old and my almost two year old. This double stroller is designed to carry a diaper bag, but has limited room for additional items. To push the double stroller and a cart is a challenging feat in it of itself, especially when the shopping cart has a bum wheel that desperately needs an alignment correction because it stubbornly veers to the right. This becomes even more annoying when one of my children want to help steer from the stroller, so the cart veers right, is pushed left my one of my helpful children, and I push straight, which causes the cart to swerve to and fro depending on who has the greatest push. Dividing my efforts to push both cart and stroller makes for less control and more swaying, which could easily occupy the entire width of an entire aisle. Fellow consumers are both amused and annoyed at our progression. Of course, loading items directly into the storage space of my double stroller feels marginally shady even though I intend to purchase every item. This only works for a quick visit with a short shopping list.


I have noticed that many retailers do indeed have shopping carts designed for two or more children, but either due to infrequent use or lack of forethought and consideration, these carts are often stored beyond the reach of a parent grappling with their feral children. In order to access these carts, either an employee needs to be reached to push apart or unlock the rows of single-seater shopping carts blocking access, and the time required to make such a request happen will have frustrated me before I even walk inside, making me decide to move on to another establishment unless the items are truly needed at that moment.

I have, from time to time, ignored the warnings posted inside shopping carts about placing a child in the center of the cart. I will have my three year old, who will not hesitate to jump out of the cart if not restrained, harnessed in the child safety seat. My almost two year goes in the cart and usually will sit on her bottom when I’ve asked her. Recently, however, she has discovered her own will. The terrible twos have indeed arrived and she may try to stand in motion or “help” by throwing items out of the cart. Having her walk freely may result in a display of cans toppling over, ironically because of her desire to help. Having my three year old walk freely will guarantee the toppling of such displays, and her motivation is the cacophony of crashing cans.

Instead, if I need to purchase anything, I am more likely to drive thirty minutes out of my way to my nearest Costco and purchase a year’s worth of that particular item when I would have been satisfied with a mere week’s worth. Is the thirty minute drive and the excess quantity of that item worth the convenience of an easy access two-seater shopping cart? Yes, absolutely. This enables me to have cart space, the security of knowing my children are safely secured, and this improves the shopping experience for myself and my fellow consumers.

My suggestion to retailers who do not currently have two seater shopping carts or keep those two seater shopping carts inconveniently out of reach, I would highly recommend leaving one at each of the shopping cart depositories in the parking lot. Many parents, like myself, will park further away from the entrance but close to shopping cart drop offs because it is easier and safer to place my children back in their car seats and then drop the cart off. In fact, I will circle a parking lot in hopes of finding a two seater cart before I even park.

If this request is implemented, I may frequent your business more often, but in the meanwhile, I’ll drive thirty minutes away for a gallon of milk and carton of eggs.

Sincerely,

Every mom with more than one kiddo

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