“A Pleasant Shopping Experience”


I just returned from a trip to the grocery store with Evie and Mack. As we walked into the store, I told them that I would get them each a chocolate milk if they behaved.  They both were fine as we shopped.  When we got to check out, I realized I forgot the broccoli, so I asked Evie to go get a couple bunches.  Mack wanted to tag along with her, but I told him “no.”

He freaked out.

For a solid 23 seconds (enough time for Evie to return with the broccoli), he screamed and yelled about wanting to go.  He made a scene, and I could feel judgmental eyes looking down on me.  But, what could I do?  We were halfway through checking out, and by the time he calmed down I was ready to pay for the groceries.

As we left the store, an early 30 something woman rolled her eyes and said to me sarcastically, “Thanks for making this a pleasant shopping trip.”

Whoa. Who did she think she was to make a snarky comment?  I wasn’t going to let her get away with a backhanded comment like that, so I reminded her that my son is THREE and that I am working on teaching him how to behave at the grocery store. She then told me that I should be embarrassed for how he behaved, and I then reminded her that she probably had a tantrum or two when she was THREE.

She huffed and snuffed and said nothing else.

Look. I get it. Kids can be annoying. Especially if they aren’t your kids.  But, the fact of life is that kids are here and they aren’t disappearing any time soon.  And, despite what our grandparents might think, I believe for the entire history of mankind kids threw tantrums in less than ideal places.  This isn’t a new phenomenon.

Living in close proximity to other human beings means that every now and then those other human beings will annoy us.  Personally, I hate cigarette smoke, but that doesn’t give me the right to make a rude comment to every smoker who crosses my path.  And, it drives me nuts when I have to sidestep a smear of dog poop on the sidewalk, but I don’t give dog owners a nasty look.  Living in a community means that we all have to make accomodations for each other. We have to remain civil despite our differences.

So, to the people who glare or give an obvious eye roll or a nasty comment when a kid fusses or whines or cries or yells I have this to say: BE PATIENT. Kids are in the process of learning how to behave.  They are learning how to act appropriately, and it isn’t fair to expect them to act like little adults when they’ve only been alive for 36 months.

And, for the record, Mack did not get a chocolate milk.

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8 Comments for this entry

  1. Donna R. says:

    Ha ha….this reminds me of the facebook page “be nice or go home”. That only applies to adults who should know better. Kids learn to behave in public by being in public. Period. You’re doing the work…and it’s hard.

  2. Sarah says:

    Sounds like that lady doesn’t deserve a chocolate milk either. Apparently she never learned how to behave in a grocery store. I’m sorry she was so rude to you!

    • Becky says:

      That’s what I was going to say! No one taught HER how to behave. If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t go up to strangers & get in their business! You were actually making sure he was a well behaved kid the next time & every time you go in the future.

    • Hannah @ Boots and Feet says:

      Hahahaha, exactly what I was thinking! Good job standing up for children, Maureen. Seriously. They are children! If anyone deserved a consequence, it was that woman for failing to behave as a mature adult.

  3. Emily says:

    My guess is that she doesn’t have kids. I was a great parent before I had kids too 😉

  4. Megan says:

    Well said! I am about to embark on my first international flight alone with my 2 month old daughter. All I can say is I a nervous, not about how my daughter will behave, but nervous about me having to potentially confront a not so pleasant fellow flyer. :-/

  5. Abby Kruger says:

    I just happened upon your blog and really enjoyed this post. I work with children, but do not have any of my own. I completely agree – living in a densely populated city we all need to be patient with each other. I receive rude looks when walking my dogs, but I think everyone, children, bicyclists, even cabs, deserve a bit of humanity as long as we are trying our best to be upstanding citizens. : )

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