Things have been changing at my local Tom Thumb grocery store! Each time I stop in lately I notice little changes that making the shopping experience a little more relaxing. And yesterday morning I had to get a lot of groceries in the late morning, it was going to be dangerously close to my daughters nap time – so I was anticipating a melt down at some point.
I’d noticed a few times that there were strange looking “kids carts” at this store, but I am a bit of a germa-phobe and I usually opt for a regular cart with my cloth cart insert surrounding the baby. But this time I decided to try out these new fangled carts! So fun! First of all the carts are made to look like cars that the young children can pretend they are driving. There is a seat belt inside, along with a steering wheel. So I whipped out some sanitizing wipes (because I am still me) and wiped the whole inside out- and then let my daughter get in. She was delighted.
(Mom! Mom! I think I’m driving a car!! Am I allowed to do this mom?!)
So these carts also have small video monitors in the child’s portion of the car – and the parent has a control panel at the top of the cart that allows them to either keep the video off- or choose from a selection of child friendly cartoons that play while you shop. I put on Playhouse Disney, and my daughter sang along with Mickey. I could see her at all times because there is a clear window at the back of the car. So I could be sure that she was still sitting, and was safe and happy. The parents computer panel also had the option of watching videos on food preparation, or meal ideas. I didn’t use that, and the only thing that came on my screen was a commercial every 5 or 10 minutes. They were played at a low volume though, and I could easily ignore them if I wasn’t interested. No commercials play on the monitor inside the child’s car, just whatever cartoon the parent chose, or nothing if the parent doesn’t turn it on.
(mom, would you stop tapping on the window to say hi to me?? I’m busy driving this car!)
And just when I thought the fun was just for the kids, I turned the corner and ran into the STARBUCKS that’s inside the grocery store. Obviously, I had to check out their brew… for quality control reasons. It was pretty yummy ladies. I won’t lie. Plus our tricked out cart had a cup holder so I could shop, and sip my latte. Did you notice the grey cup holder in the previous picture? How could I let that poor cup holder stay empty? It just wouldn’t be right.
(The pumpkin parked patiently at the Starbucks, waiting to get on the road again.)
Overall, I really enjoyed our experience with the TV carts. I wouldn’t use one every shopping trip, because I’d miss interacting with the pumpkin. I like talking to her, and telling her what we are putting in the cart. However, if I was a mom juggling more than one child, this would be a real life saver. And I will still occasionally use these again when I have a lot of shopping to do, and I want to prolong the time that I can safely stay in the store while my daughter is entertained.
Mostly I’m just happy that grocery stores are trying to take the needs of moms into account as they design for the future.Some of the other features I’ve noticed are wider aisles, employees that offer to help you load your groceries in the car, and large common seating area equipped with free wifi. I don’t need a grocery store to have these amenities, I mostly just want fair prices and a safe atmosphere. But it is extra nice to have an errand you have to run, turned into an errand you want to run. And that does keep me coming back!
Has anyone else noticed grocery stores stepping up their game lately??
(kid cart off into the sunset….)