Shopping With Kids 101: Etiquette

Thursday, May 19. Day 136: Items Purchased: 0, Temptation Radar: 9  (almost caved on a Current Elliot Closeout. I survived.)

Caution: I am going to make an observation  that may be defined by some as judging. If you are sensitive about strong “opinions”  consider yourself warned.

Picture yourself walking into your favorite storefront, seeking a few moments of solitude from the throes of life, the noise of the day. You are immersed in the joy that can only be found by dissecting an 85% clearance rounder of your favorite designers,  your mind numb and drifting to a vision of you wearing the very kaftan you are debating, waltzing up the beaches of St. Tropez when all the sudden……


You, startled abruptly out of the best daydream you’ve had in 6 months, look up to find an overwhelmed mother, restless with a toddler in her cart, 2 kids hanging off the side of it and her shushing them almost as loudly as the little one squealed. You offer a sympathetic grin, look back to your items and continue your search. But, just when you think the child has surrendered, he cranks it up…squawling and bawling at the top of his lungs, head whiplashed into the back of the cart. His mother, obviously frustrated but resolute about the continuation of her browsing, allows him to carry on…and on, and on.  She is accompanied by friend of hers who also has a child on the hip. They are going back and forth about this brand and that– discussing the grandiosity of such a deal and noting, what difference does it make if the blouse doesn’t fit you…it’s Leifsdoitter. All the while paying no mind to the most obvious revolt by her children. Finally, realizing that she can no longer ignore this demonstration, she fires back by firing a series of knee pinches. Pinch, squeal, repeat. This goes on for several minutes, with her asking “You want another one???Then stop!” By now, most shoppers in dress section of the establishment are staring, surely holding back the frustrating temptation to intervene.

Folks, I’m a mom. In fact, I’m a mother with a very shallow reservoir of patience. So, I completely get the need to shop or even the want to, while being forced to bring your children.  However, there is somewhat of a social etiquette involved in shopping. Is it really necessary to torment innocent fellow shoppers just because your kid is torturing you? I say, “No Way, Jose!”

Shopfast’s Guidelines On Shopping With Children:

It is acceptable, and sometimes necessary to shop with the little ones. But keep this in mind, if the protest persists beyond a whimper and consistently longer than 5 minutes, it is suggested to place your items on hold, leave the establishment and take care of your business.  You may consider returning to the shop if the child agrees to cooperate. Upon 2nd infarction, you and the little offender should exit shopping center all together.

2. If a child poses a vehement protest with high-pitched squeals, long wails, feet and arm choreography or acrobatics, it is polite to gather your cargo immediately and leave the store. At this point, do not make efforts to go to the checkout and fight the battle in line while paying for items. Place them on hold and return later.

3. If you anticipate your child is not fond of shopping and will inevitably launch a revolt on you and the retail establishment, please prepare yourself by bringing an assistant, grandmother or babysitter. That way, you will be able to execute a sudden evacuation if the tantrum tornadoes your way. They can sit patiently in the car, while you finalize your purchases.

I’m not saying that I  actually witnessed the aforementioned scenario last week at Nordstorm Rack, but I am suggesting that we all consider the spirit of community when we venture out. From one crazed mom to another, please utilize the guidelines. You’ll be glad you did.


3 responses

  1. As someone without kids, unless the child is behaving well and seems to be genuinely having a moment, I get really annoyed. I work at Starbucks and I can tell the brats from the good kids who are melting down. I find that I react really differently to both types, too. Your suggestions make perfect sense and I wish more people would follow them. I think a huge part of the problem sometimes is that the kids are tired, hungry, or not engaged. But what do I know? I’m twenty, haha.

    • Sarah, You have the “brat” radar! lol! It’s true, one with this gift can always detect an isolated bad attitude from a chronically melancholy kid. It’s important to know your kids’ and their limits. So true!

  2. I’m more annoyed by the parent than the child. She pinched his knees and asked if he wanted another?? This was her idea of discipline? I would have been saying the serenity prayer and hoping I wouldn’t go off on that mom.

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