Why Grocery Shopping Gives Me Hives

Oh, lord. The grocery. I have such a love/hate relationship with grocery shopping. On one hand, I actually kinda love the process. The meal planning {yes, I actually love to meal plan}, the organized list by department, and even better, checking off the list. Preferably with a bold-colored pen. Part of my A-type personality I suppose.

In the B.C. days {that would be “Before Children”}, I so enjoyed making new recipes almost every day of the week, with the hubby as my guinea pig. Now that I have kids and our meals involve Tuesday Taco Nights and Spaghetti Thursdays, it’s not quite as exciting.

And then don’t get me started {except I’m about to} on the actual taking the kids to the store experience. Oh, my. It’s no wonder that my cart usually has 2 bottles of wine. And beer for the hubby. Survival, baby.

So it got me thinking on grocery store etiquette. Surviving a trip to the store with the kids is no easy feat and sometimes the folks around make it even more difficult. So in no particular order, here are my top pet peeves of the shopping experience…

1. The Carts ::

Seriously. Some sadist decided it would be an awesome idea to institute childryan and quinn grocery-sized push carts. I am not even kidding when I say I pray that all said carts are unavailable at our Kroger. For 3 1/2 years, my children didn’t know they existed. Until one day Daddy took them to the store and let them to go town. Now bless your heart, Hubby, but good grief. Now I can anticipate a meltdown if the little carts are unavailable…or worse, there is only ONE. Bless. I can’t even tell you the number of times that my heels have been nipped by these atrocities or we have just barely managed to avoid mowing down displays. Not to mention the lunatic mom who’s saying “WATCH WHERE YOU ARE GOING!” every.five.seconds. Awesome. {Should I also mention that if they get “lucky” and 2 carts are available, Momma has no shame in letting them cart everything. Including wine. Not sure if that’s legal, but I haven’t been stopped yet. Probably because they just want us to leave already.}

 2. The Carts, Part Deux ::

The car cart. Seriously awesome for a month or two. I thought I hit the motherload when the kids were excited to ride in these and pretend to drive. But guess what? It’s short-lived. Before I knew it, they were ready to be “big kids” and the cart that they begged for {after the never-ending debate on which color it would be}, was no longer cool. But apparently, it’s totally cool for mom to push this monstrosity that has no turn radius around the store, SANS CHILDREN, as they run alongside me.

3. Store Layout ::

Our neighborhood just got a new grocery less than 3 minutes from my house. Score! Except apparently this store that shall go unnamed, thought it would be just BRILLIANT to lay out the toy/book/kid section right smack in the center of the store. Which means while I’m trying to load my cart with 15 yogurts {another post for another day}, my kids are making a beeline for the Hot Wheels and Disney aisle. Sweet. All I wanted was a gallon of milk and a few yogurts for the girl, yet I have to pass by kid haven every single swinging time. Meltdown city once again.

4. Store Layout, Part Deux ::

Our other popular local store recently did a fancy little remodel, including a CHOCOLATE BAR that has a massive sign encased by 50 flashing lights. Naturally, my kids, who can’t read the word “chocolate” yet, thought it was a game area and screamed the first 5 times into the store that they wanted to “play games.” Thanks for that. Talk about stuck like a rock in a hard place. If I were to walk them over to show them that indeed there were no games, they would see all of the chocolate goodness. Can’t win for losing.

5. The Check-out Lines ::

Why. Oh, why? The impulse of buying a PayDay or Rolos was difficult to avoid in the B.C. days. Now the check out lines have displays of everything a child could want, from candy to toys to even Hello Kitty chapstick. If I’ve managed to maintain even a shred of sanity in our shopping trip, it’s destroyed as soon as the toddlers start rifling through every bar of chocolate goodness. “But Mommy, they have M&M’s!!! Puh-leaze, just one special treat???” So while trying to unload the carts in a semi-organized fashion, I’m also peeling children off of display cases and admonishing them from touching everything with their grubby hands. Clearly I know why the grocery store marketers do it, but it’s just so darn unfair to us after already playing the game of survival of the fittest. They could at least have a Xanax display.

6. Bells ::

Does your store have a bell at check out? Ours does. It’s designed for you to “ding” if you think your cashier has done a wonderful job and hasn’t had to look up every swinging produce code. Apparently ours have done a bang-up job, based on the number of times that my kids have “dinged” the bell.

7. The Parking Lot :: 

Don’t even get me started on the laziness of the parking lot. I purposefully park closest to a cart return because I think that’s the right thing to do. Clearly I’m not going to risk my children’s lives by doing the said cart return but I do believe in cart return Karma. That said, my cart is returned 95% of the time. Nothing erks me more than an able-bodied man or woman who leaves their cart haphazardly in the parking lot. I don’t get it. You’ve walked hundreds of yards in the store but you can’t walk 20 feet to return a cart??? When I’m feeling particularly passive aggressive, I’ve been known to take their cart {and mine with 2 kiddos still in it} and return both.

8. The Parking Lot Part Deux ::

DO NOT STALK ME FOR MY PARKING PLACE. Just don’t. Because I will put my kids in the car as slowly as possible, check their belts five times, readjust my mirrors, check my tailgate, the whole shebang. And I will make you wait there. Cause you know what? There’s another spot about 30 steps away and exercise never hurt anyone.

Clearly, the grocery store leaves me a little tightly wound these days. Do you love/loathe the grocery? What are your pet peeves? What are your survival tactics when you have kiddos?

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Meagan is a Dallas native who has lived in the Katy area for over a decade. She kicked a soccer ball all the way to Louisiana to attend college at her family’s alma mater of LSU, where she promptly fell in love with a Texas Aggie in Baton Rouge for an internship. After swimming back to Texas following Hurricane Katrina, Matt and Meagan fell in love with the Houston area and now couldn’t imagine living anywhere else. Following several years of infertility, their miracle twins Ryan and Quinn were born in June of 2010. She believes there is nothing better than a chilled glass of Pinot Grigio, a large Sonic Diet Coke, sushi take-out, Girls Nights Out, and a mindless book to curl up with. Besides playing chauffeur and catering to the whims of her children, Meagan also is the Co-Owner of Houston Moms Blog. You can keep up with Meagan at The Clanahan Fam and on Instagram @meaganclanahan!


  1. I loved this and even today in my drive thru at Chicken Express I was like there are screaming kids they should be at school I just can’t take it anymore

  2. I hate the toys in the checkout aisle. It’s a cruel marketing trick and I refuse to fall prey to it. So much so that even when my daughter successfully saved the $8 Princess Elsa from her plastic prison, I just put the doll, and her destroyed packaging back on the shelf. In my opinion, the store practically forced the ‘bad’ behavior out of my child. I am not punishing her for it, nor will I reward the store for it by purchasing said instrument of torture.

  3. I actually point people in the direction of my car so they can park in my spot. I understand wanting a closer spot since I have gotten pregnant and long walks are painful on my feet or I’m just really tired at the end of the day. I dislike it when people take forever to get out of their spots. Sounds like that would give you more “bad kharma” then not returning a cart. 🙂

    • I definitely remember the days of being pregnant and wanting a closer spot. So I get that for sure, Ruth. But when I have a cart full of groceries and 2 crazy kids to get in their seats {plus return the said cart before we buckle in}, the stalkers will be waiting for a sweet forever anyway and blocking traffic. Better for them to find someone who doesn’t have all the baggage. And btw, this post is clearly more in jest than being serious 😉

  4. Totally guilty of being the lunatic mom! Nothing brings the crazy out of me more than getting run down bu those little carts that say “customer in training” thank god for express self checkout. I also see the allure of those grocery deliver services now!!


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