Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Shop till you drop is an under-statement

I had to type this in even at the risk of sounding like a mother hen, a frustrated, middle aged and menopausal female, or whatever other adjectives you can come up with. I just couldn't let go of this one without sharing! OK FINE.. my life does have a lot of kids in it at the moment..so please hear me out.

YesterdayI ended up buying a bunch of Pokemon cards. Why? Because my kids sneaked them into my shopping cart while at the grocery store and I ended up buying them because I didn't notice they were there until we got home. How could I have possibly not noticed they were in my cart, you ask? Let me explain.

You haven’t lived until you’ve gone grocery shopping with six kids in tow. I would rather swim in a bikini, be a contestant on Fear Factor when they’re having pig brains for lunch, or do fourth grade math than to take my two kids and their(four) friends to the grocery store. I absolutely detest grocery shopping, I tend to put it off as long as possible. There comes a time, however, when you’re peering into your fridge and thinking, ‘Hmmm, what can I make with ketchup, Italian dressing, and half an onion,’ that you decide you cannot avoid going to the grocery store any longer. Before beginning this most treacherous mission, I gather all the kids together and give them “The Lecture“.

“The Lecture“ goes like this…
MOM: “We have to go to the grocery store.”
KIDS: “Whine whine whine whine whine.“
MOM: “Hey, I don’t want to go either, but it’s either that or we’re eating cream of onion-ketchup soup and drinking Italian dressing for dinner tonight.”
KIDS: “Whine whine whine whine whine.“
MOM: “Now here are the rules: do not ask me for anything, do not poke the packages of meat in the butcher section, do not test the laws of physics and try to take out the bottom can in the pyramid shaped display, do not play cricket with oranges and most importantly, do not try antics with the trolley on the escalator again.”

OK, the kids have been briefed. Time to go.

Once at the store, we grab not one, but two shopping carts. The two 'thin as rake' 7 year old boys sit on one cart while I push one cart and my daughter's friend pushes the other one. My daughter is not allowed to push a cart. Ever. Why? Because the last time I let her push the cart, she smashed into my ankles so many times, my feet had to be amputated by the end of our shopping trip.

At this point, a woman looks at our two carts and asks me, “Are they all yours?” I answer with a laugh, “Yep!" Make people feel good about themselves that's my motto!!

“Oh my, you have your hands full.”

“Yes, I do!” say I while the kids give me nasty glares.

We begin in the produce section where all these wonderfully, artistically arranged pyramids of fruit stand. There is something so irresistibly appealing about the apple at the bottom of the pile, that a child cannot help but try to touch it. Much like a bug to a zapper, the child is drawn to this piece of fruit. I turn around to the sounds of apples cascading down the display and onto the floor. Like Indiana Jones, there stands my son holding the all-consuming treasure that he just HAD to get and gazing at me with this dumbfounded look as if to say, “Did you see that??? Wow! I never thought that would happen!”

I give the offending child an exasperated sigh and say, “Didn’t I tell you, before we left, that I didn’t want you taking stuff from the bottom of the pile???”

“No. You said that you didn’t want us to take a can from the bottom of the pile. You didn’t say anything about apples.” The daughter is looking embarrassed to the core.

With superhuman effort, I resist the urge to send my child to the moon and instead focus on the positive - my child actually listened to me and remembered what I said!!! I make a mental note to be a little more specific the next time I give the kids The Grocery Store Lecture.

A little old man looks at all of us and says, “Are all of those your kids?”

Thinking about the apple incident, I reply, “Nope. They just started following me. I’ve never seen them before in my life.”

OK, now onto the bakery section where everything smells so good, I’m tempted to fill my cart with cookies and call it a day. Being on a perpetual diet, I try to hurry past the assortment of pies, cakes, breads, and pastries that have my children drooling. At this point the chorus of “Can we gets” begins.

“Can we get donuts?”
“Can we get cupcakes?”
“Can we get muffins?”
“Can we get pie?”

You’d think they’d catch on by this point, but no, they’re just getting started.

In the bakery, they’re giving away free samples of coffee cake and of course, the kids all take one. A toddler decides he doesn’t like it and proceeds to spit it out in his mom's hand. (That’s what moms do. We put our hands in front of our children’s mouths so they can spit stuff into them. We’d rather carry around a handful of chewed up coffee cake, than to have the child spit it out onto the floor. I’m not sure why this is, but ask any mom and she’ll tell you the same.) At least this time the "mom" is not me! Small mercies.

My kids’ attention spans are spent. They’re done shopping at this point, but we aren’t even halfway through the store. This is about the time they like to start having shopping cart races. And who may I thank for teaching them this fun pastime? My daughter of course. While I’m picking out loaves of bread, the kids are running down the aisle behind the carts in an effort to get us kicked out of the store. I put to stop to that just as my son is about to crash head on into a giant cardboard cut-out of an elf stacked with packages of cookies.

After standing in the cereal aisle for an hour and a half while the kids perused the various cereals, comparing the marshmallow and cheap, plastic toy content of each box, I broke down and let them each pick out a box. At any given time, we have a minimum of 5 open boxes of cereal in my house.

The shopping trip continues much like this. I break up fights between the kids now and then and stoop down to pick up items that has flung out of the cart. I desperately try to get everything on my list without adding too many other goodies to the carts.

Somehow I manage to complete my shopping in under four hours and head for the check-outs where the kids start in on a chorus of, “Can we have candy?” What evil minded person decided it would be a good idea to put a display of candy in the check-out lanes, right at a child’s eye level? Obviously someone who has never been shopping with children.

As I unload the carts, I notice many extra items that my kids have sneaked in the carts. I remove a box of Twinkies, a package of cupcakes, a bag of candy, and a can of cat food (we don’t even have a cat!). I somehow missed the box of Pokemon cards however and ended up purchasing. As I pay for my purchases, the clerk looks at me, indicates my kids, and asks, “Are they all yours?”

Frustrated, exhausted from my trip, sick to my stomach from paying the bill, dreading unloading all the groceries and putting them away and tired of hearing that question, I look at the clerk and answer her in my most sarcastic voice, “No. They’re not mine. I just managed to take them away from their parents because I thought it was a fun thing to do.”

So, up for auction is an opened (they ripped open the box on the way home from the store) package of Pokemon cards. There are 44 cards total. They're in perfect condition, as I took them away from the kiddos as soon as we got home from the store. Many of them say "Energy". I tried carrying them around with me, but they didn't work. I definitely didn't have any more energy than usual. One of them is shiny. There are a few creature-like things on many of them. One is called Pupitar. Hee hee hee Pupitar! (Oh no! My kids' sense of humor is rubbing off on me!) Anyway, I don't think there's anything special about any of these cards, but I'm very much not an authority on Pokemon cards. I just know that I'm not letting my kids keep these as a reward for their sneakiness.


Arun Meethale Chirakkal said...

You're having a rollicking good time Sujataji with all those kids around, I'm sure :)'Can of cat food!' Must be nicely packaged!

ZB said...

lols, I can imagine having to live with so many naughty beings, i live with one and she drives me nuts all the time.

But, i love Grocery shopping. WHy you hate it escapes me. Grocery shopping is a GREAT stress buster for me. I think you hate it because you grocery-shop at the LARGEST HYPERMARKETS in TOWN. Large hypermarkets like carrefour could be very boring and tiresome. I shop at close-by and small supermarket, which are easy to shop as well as you meet nice, friendly people who happen to be you neighbor.

Nice reading this.TC:)

indranil said...

wish you more such exciting trips!!
but did the kids miss out shaking a bottol of areated beverage and spreading the fizz/foam around ?

kavita said...

Hilarious...enjoyed the post a lot !I love grocery shopping but only when i am doing it alone and the reasons are more or less same as yours .

Anonymous said...

wow. A hilarious post. Ditto. Ditto. Ditto. Ditto. But I don't have the guts to take more than two. After all I have only two eyes and two hands. Did you see the pic I posted yesterday. It says it all! :)

Bikramjit said...


you having fun ..


Aparna said...

I am laughing my you know what off! Thank god I'm past the stage. But if you think this was a horror, wait till your daughter grows up a bit and turns into a teenage drama queen cum shopaholic. Then shopping is REALLY stressful.
I did this 'taking all the kids out for fun' thing just before Diwali. Thank god I had 2 other moms for company.

Destiny's child... said...

That was a hilarious read. Mind you, just READ. Can imagine what you went through..but hilarious it is :D

R. Ramesh said...

hey buddy u having a gr8 time ya? good good..and be good with the kiddos...otherwise u know what will happen...:)

Sonu said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sonu said...

OMG Didi...4 hours adventurous journey...wow!!!...a hilarious post...
I should say even now(i'm 22) i love pushing around that cart like a car(not a race) but i kinda lik it.i dnt kno why.And even i noticed that 'keeping candies at bill counter business trick' at almost all shopping markets.

Keep writing

Kavi said...

Seems like quite a time ! Pokeman times are shopping times indeed !!

I can imagine the whine, whine, whine....

sujata said...

@Arun the cat food here is so well packed, its looks better than the cereal boxes!

@ZB I hate grocery shopping thats it..friendly neighbourhood store, big super market or any galli ka dukan.

@Indranil Thank god all things do not happen at a go!

@Kavita yah atlast someone understands!

@Jyothi It must have been one of my mood swings (swinging on the better side) to have taken on that mission.

@Bikramjit does that post seem like fun!

@Aparna I think I will be able to handle jewellery and shoes better than cart races and falling cans!

@Destiny's child I so want to see you married and with a brood of your own!

@Ramesh yah buddy I know, I am being all good

@Sonu thanks, the best business trick ever I think!

@Kavi yah whine whine indeed!

PURN!MA said...

LOL... can't stop laughing! Though I have now started feeling scared... pata nahi how long I can enjoy laughing at others before I will be facing similar kind of situations! ;)

Sucharita Sarkar said...

LOL!!! That is exactly why I never take the kids along if I can go alone. The over-purchasing, the extra-payment and the embarrassment is just too much!

Nona said...


So, what did you cook that night? Don't tell me the dinner was half an onion divided into four with helping of ketchup and italian dressing! :)

Debopam Chaudhuri said...

Four Hours???? Mine generally lasts an hour and a half, with one kid (which is obviously mine) at Spencer's, and that has an effect on me which takes a week to wear of!!!
Well Done to you for completing the shopping with all in one piece, and also on completing the piece in one go!!!
I am still laughing!!

Sumandebray said...

That was quite a post ... I can understand!
My yet to be 2 yrs 4 months daughter started to do her own picks at the supermarkets! and she does not put those in the trolley either.... the only persons that can take that from her hand are the cash counter staffs

deeps said...

Irritated, angry, fuming, fed up… I m just trying to figure out what you were through...
But I m sure I will never get it...
You seem to have had a mind-blowing time really..

dr.antony said...

Lovely post.
But don't you secretly enjoy those times?
Childhood vanishes so fast leaving their sweet memories,and we all wish we had more times like that.
The fondest memories are the earliest ones.

R. Ramesh said...


Pesto Sauce said...

I can imagine what you must have been through...

Where did you go shopping? Muscat seems to be having only Lulu and Carrefore

A said...

Funny to read. Stressful while you are there.I hate going to stores especially grocery stores to start with.

radha said...

Thank god we had only kirana stores when my kids were young. Only the shop keeper knew where the items where and you stuck to your shopping list. But the candy even in those days were placed at the billing counter. Some things do not change.

R. Ramesh said...

hey buddy tell toshali not 2 worry abt the specs...at least nowadays v get excellent thin ones..earlier omg..and keep the cheers..wishes

Nikita Banerjee said...

Gosh my sides hurt from laughing! I can only imagine your plight..hahaha! Lesson learnt - never take the kids for grocery shopping. Brilliant post.

bluebird said...

Oh come on!, its just a pack of pokemon cards. Just think about it, in a few years they might be wrecking your car, and you might've to grin and bear it!

Cat food and no cat? Now that's what I call food for thought. May be it was your kids' oblique way of suggesting you get one

bluebird said...

I know this could be a sensitive question, but my curiosity just got the better of me.

The people who asked if all six kids were yours, were they all complimenting you?

Some people I know do actually frown at people with too many kids, you know, especially the younger generation. They tend to see the mother of six as a non-careerist, probably less-educated, dis-empowered woman trapped within a socially irresponsible patriarchal setup. Little do they tend to realize that a lady might actually be happier that way.

No, am not passing judgement here, but curious nonetheless.

Prasad Rekapalli said...


The Shopping Mall is by itself one of the best marketing tricks ever.

Rado said...

Ha, ha.
Whine, whine, whine...
Mom's hand is for spitting...

Good one.