3 Ways My Mom Made Grocery Shopping Fun

published May 1, 2017
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(Image credit: Erin Wengrovius)

The supermarket can be a very not fun place — especially for kids. It’s not like many 6-year-olds care about comparing yogurt options in the dairy case. But I used to love going to the grocery store with my mom because she’d often do one of these three things.

1. She’d bury me in groceries.

This was, by far, my favorite thing in the world. As soon as we’d get to the store, she’d pick a cart and plop me down in the middle of the large basket. I may have been too big for the seat, but there was plenty of room for me in the basket! Then, she’d go through aisle by aisle (she never skipped an aisle!) and put the groceries all around and top of me.

Some weeks, the haul would be so big, I literally wouldn’t be able to move and it would just be my little peanut-shaped head sticking out. I got so much joy figuring out where she should put each item (left leg! Belly!) and watching my body slowly disappear. And don’t even get me started on the fun of being uncovered at the checkout! The funny part about it now is that I totally realize this was just a ploy for her to keep me from running around like a crazy person. It worked!

2. She’d let me eat things we hadn’t yet paid for.

Let me first say this: I have no idea if this is encouraged by grocery stores. I’m going to guess it’s not! I’ll never forget the first time this happened. I had sneezed and snotted all over myself. Luckily, we just so happened to be in the tissue aisle. My mom opened a box and cleaned me right up. It was like a light bulb went off in my head. We could open stuff before we paid for it? I asked for an Oreo — and she agreed! When we got to the checkout, I was so tickled to see an open pack of cookies and a box with tissues already sticking out move down the conveyer belt.

After that first time, my mom let me open stuff prematurely on a fairly regular basis. I guess she figured I couldn’t beg for junk if my mouth was full. Sneaky, but again, a very smart move on her part.

3. She’d make it a little game.

Sometimes my older brother would tag along with us. He’s got two years on me and we were naturally super competitive with each other. He usually beat me at everything, but I like to think I put up a good fight. The supermarket gave me a chance to practice: We’d be in, say, the bread aisle and my mom would tell us she needed English muffins. Then, it’d be a race to see who could find them first.

Note: The hunt was always limited to the aisle we were all in (it’s not like she was sending us to run all around the store!) and she’d only do it if we were at the store during off times and the aisle was empty. She wanted us to have fun, but she didn’t want to do it at the expense of other shoppers.

Of course, looking back on this, too, I realize how clever she was. If my brother and I felt a sense of urgency to help her find stuff, we could all get in and out of the store quickly.

As an adult, no one buries me in groceries anymore (although I do love it when my husband puts just-out-of-the-dryer laundry on me!) and I can’t remember the last time I ate something before paying for it, but I still love going to the grocery store. I like to think it’s because my mom always showed me how much fun it could be.

Would your mom (or dad!) ever do anything like this when you were a kid?