Gee, How Convenient

I took my two kids shopping today at Target for a few things: diapers, a blow-up kiddie pool, and a few other small items. As I was heading down the aisle where the pools were, my 2-yr old son yelled out "crackers!" (Or his word for crackers, that is) I was there some toy that looks like crackers? Then, of course, I saw that Target had conveniently placed a corner display of goldfish crackers at the front of the toy aisle. I could have, and should have, just told my son that we would get crackers later, but I gave in and gave him a box. (I don't always give in to these requests, but I did today.) Although it is my fault for giving in, I felt really suckered by Target...if I want crackers, I go to the freaking cracker aisle! But in this case, Target didn't care what "I" wanted. The display was almost empty, so I'm obviously not the only victim.

I have always been aware of these types of product placements, but for some reason today was the first time that I really felt reeled in by one. As an adult, I can exhibit self-control when confronted by candy at check-out, etc., but my son obviously hasn't developed that quite yet. (Luckily, we haven't given him candy before, so the candy at check-out doesn't phase him.)

But, though I lost the goldfish battle, I did win one. My son insisted on having a package of plastic chips, which we found in the school supply aisle. I'm certain they would all end up behind the refrigerator or in the fireplace within a day. I didn't think 3.99 was worth that. So I let him hold them for a while, then I told him we had to put them back and that he could put them back on the hook all by himself...getting to do things by himself is exciting for him, so instead of taking them away from him and making him freak out, he gladly hung them back himself.

With a 2-yr old and a 7-week old, I'm sure the worst is yet to come regarding advertising and product placement geared toward kids.

sandie, Aug 4 2006 6:11PM

As a childless adult I don't think about that stuff too often, but I did recently... when I went on a "quick trip" to the grocery store with my 3-year-old nephew as a favor to my sister.

Upon entering he asked if he could push the cart. I said no and that we just needed a small basket. Well, soon after he saw the mega cart with the yellow plastic car molded to the front of it. It had two seats, steering wheels, seatbelts... the whole nine yards. He jumped in and pleaded with me to let him "drive".

Being the nice auntie I am, I said ok, and struggled to push the huge SUV-like cart around the store to get the two items on our list.

Are those behemoth carts (i.e toys) really necessary? It really hit me that day that stores don't make shopping easy for parents...

Ann, Aug 4 2006 7:51PM

I dread the day that my son asks to ride in one of those. The only reason I could see using one is if you need to push 2 kids, since a standard cart doesn't really seat 2 and still leave room for stuff. I wish they made a normal-looking cart that seats 2 kids instead of some stupid NASCAR-looking one. Right now I carry my 7-week old daughter in my front carrier and put my son in the cart, which works out pretty well. I'm going to put off using the SUV-cart for as long as possible.

mark, Aug 8 2006 9:18AM

looks like pediatricians are none too pleased with shopping carts: see article here.