Friday, June 21, 2013

Whatever Happened to Common Sense?

I just stumbled across an online article entitled, “10 things moms do at Target” with the subtitle, “Just admit it, you do too.” I should have known from the poor grammar and punctuation that it was not exactly Pulitzer-winning material. But I was somewhat appalled at the lack of common sense, and frankly, I was offended by the assumption that all mothers of small children behave this way. Here are the 10 points made by the author, along with my comments. (The original article is here:

10. Circle the lot 4 times looking for a better parking spot. Feel misplaced sense of pride when finding a spot 2 spaces closer than the one you spied when you arrived 12 minutes ago.

Whatever happened to walking? Sure, if it’s pouring out or if I’m carrying one little one while holding the hand of the other, I might do one circle of the lot looking for a closer spot, but I guarantee you that I’ve never driven around a parking lot for 12 minutes looking for a “better” space. To paraphrase ZZ Top: “I’ve got legs; I know how to use them.”

9. Upon entrance, make a beeline directly to the in-store Starbucks. Do not pass go, do not collect $200. Instead, *spend* $200 buying a tall latte for yourself and a milk box and bag of Cheddar Bunnies for the kidlette.

You really can’t manage to shop at Target without buying an overpriced coffee and expensive snacks for your kid as soon as you arrive? How about having your coffee and feeding your kid at home before you leave? How about teaching your kid that s/he can survive a 20-minute shopping trip without needing a snack? How about surviving for 20 minutes yourself without a cup of coffee? I’m a big fan of coffee, but if I ever get to the point where I can’t survive for 20 minutes without my fix, someone please stage an intervention.

8. Head to clothing section. Consider a cute peplum top in slimming black, while kid complains in cart about how long it's taking to get to the toy section. Put peplum top into cart and hope it achieves its purpose in your wardrobe: to stylishly camouflage belly flab.

Here’s a simple solution: teach your child that not every trip is about playing with the toys. Here’s a great way to do it: Tell your child that stopping at the toy department will only happen if s/he is polite and well-behaved during the rest of the trip. Yeah, there will be a few tantrums while s/he catches on to the idea, but trust me, it won’t take too many trips with no visit to the toys before his or her behavior improves. Oh, and sometimes? Don’t stop at the toy department at all. Kids need to understand how to behave even when there isn’t a reward at the end.

7. Set latte down in cart while contemplating new workout gear that will be worn for sitting on the couch. Sigh when kid spills latte with leg. Search for paper towels to no avail. 'Mop' up latte with Old Navy receipt found in handbag.

Yet another reason to drink your coffee at home. Spillable liquids do not belong in stores, for this exact reason. If you simply must have coffee in the store, prepare to buy any items that it gets spilled on without complaint. You have a child; you know this will inevitably happen. A good way to teach your child about the consequences of his or her behavior is to gracefully accept the consequences of your own – and to change your behavior so it doesn’t happen again.

6. Arrive at toy section. Child wants 3 new Hot Wheels trucks. Enter into lengthy in-aisle discussion with child about how they need to appreciate the things they have and enjoy what they already own. Revel in glory from respected glances via other Hot Wheels Aisle Moms clearly struggling with same issue. Settle on one new truck for child, feel accomplished and await Good Mom Award or sash of some stripe.

            “Just say ‘No’.” Enough said.

5. Feel very frugal buying dog food on sale, even though it's only $.15 cheaper than normal. Put another bag into cart. Contemplate emailing TLC to be featured on Extreme Couponers because obviously this is talent, people.

Good for you for saving money. But don’t hurt your arm patting yourself on the back about it, okay?

4. Find food section. Add the following: fruit chews, potato chips, Cheez-its, granola bars, peanut butter, frozen waffles, giant bag of mandarin oranges. Every. Time.

Finally, ONE reasonable item on this list. I might not personally be picking up potato chips every trip to the store, but on the whole, this is a halfway decent snack list. Fruit, protein, grains. You could certainly do worse.

3. Browse housewares section for no apparent reason. Realize you really need an owl candle. And a citrus scented home fragrance diffuser. And that white lacquered tray.

If this is how your shopping works, I guess it’s a good thing you saved 30 cents on dog food. You might want to work a little harder on that. And on a little something called “impulse control.” It’s also a good way to teach your kid how to say, “I really like that, but I think I’ll wait a bit and decide how important it is to me and whether it’s worth the price.” If you grab everything you like and throw it into your cart, no wonder your kid expects to come home from every shopping trip with a new toy.

2. Look at contents of cart. Experience momentary guilt about home décor purchases. Remove peplum shirt and set next to stackable crates. Consider buying a stackable crate.

            See #3 above regarding “impulse control.”

1. Check out at the register. Feel simultaneously proud and horrified that you're spending $148. Realize your kid is still holding the Hot Wheels truck. Make that $152.

            See #3 and #6, above.

 Does my response sound a bit annoyed and cynical? Yeah, it probably does. But it really frustrates me when people complain at how difficult it is to shop with their children. Sure, it’s difficult to shop with kids. But it doesn’t have to be as difficult as you’re making it, as long as you use some common sense and work hard on teaching your kids good behavior, good manners, and patience.


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