Recently, I've been discussing the merits of car carts. You know, the ones at the grocery store that have the car and steering wheels hooked on the front of the cart? It got me thinking about all the fun (not) times my kids have had in those carts. Here are notes on my experience with car carts...
(Note: That is not my kid, just an image stolen from somewhere in cyberspace.)
*You can fit four kids in the cart. Two in the car, two in the normal seats, and still have the entire basket for your groceries.
*Free entertainment for your child. (Though, honestly, I don't view this as a pro. I view it as one more way we are breeding ADD. Is there not enough stimulation when you are out and about? Must we create cart forts, stroller forts, car seat forts, mini-restaurants? Can a baby just watch all the people at the mall? Can a child not be taught to enjoy, or at least endure, a grocery trip? Sometimes less is more...but I digress.)
*Once you actually put four kids in the cart, you cannot push or steer it. (Not that I ever go shopping with all four of my kids...not that I would let the older ones ride in the car cart anyway...)
*You can't steer those monsters, even empty.
*If you decide to turn around in an aisle, you have to do a 15-point turn.
*They are filthy.
*Two steering wheels leads to arguments about who is driving the car, whose turn it is, which way to turn, etc...as if they are really in charge!
*Yes, you can fit two in the car part, but the quarters are cramped. This leads to much of the following:
"He's on my side!"
"He won't move his arm away from mine!"
"He's looking out my window and I want him to look out his own!"
*Kids are close to the ground. And closer to the shelves. This leads to much of the following:
--Kid on left gets to grab the box of cereal from the bottom shelf. Kid on right throws a tantrum because kid on left got to help mom and he didn't. When it is time for kid on right to help mom, tantrum continues because he wanted to get the box of cereal, not the bag of rice.
--Fingers being run over.
--Feet getting stuck under the cart.
--Hands turning black from dragging on the filthy ground.
--Dirty hands then being wiped on clean clothes...particularly Sam's clean clothes. Why do the boys think it's funny to wipe their hands and faces on the baby?
--Knocking over of various displays, food pyramids, other small children, etc.
*When you go through the checkout line, all the kids can see is CANDY!!! Thankfully, I've only had to return stolen merchandise once. But every time I relent and use the car carts, I have to hear plenty of whining about how unfair it is that they don't get candy.
So you can see. Car carts? Not for me. They may look brilliant, but it's a deception.
You know what the best trick is for happy grocery shopping kids? Give them three or four items that they are in charge of remembering. Seriously, this keeps them occupied and looking out for "bananas, I see the bananas, I have to get the bananas!" No huge carts, no fighting, no running away from mom (okay, mostly), no extras, just the shopping and a little more peace.