Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Shopping Carts

When Max was first diagnosed with food allergies I was obsessive about grocery carts. I was the strange Mom with the toddler tucked under one arm thoroughly wiping down every part of the cart which my child was going to touch. Max was very contact reactive as a toddler. Once at a Starbucks he picked up a muffin wrapper and put it to his face; everywhere it touched he broke out in hives. He would also just get random hives, leaving me to scratch my head as to where he had been, what he had touched. At five he has mostly grown out of this. However, when he was one, grocery carts were approached as if they were ticking bombs. Owen's Mom (that would again be me) is much less obsessive about wiping down the cart and he just gets plopped down in the seat and handed a graham cracker.

However, I am on grocery carts for another reason all together today, nothing of which has to do with food allergies. When we first moved to Northern Virginia I was perplexed by the grocery store parking lot etiquette. Wheeling the shopping cart out to the car seemed discouraged. Large barriers are placed around the entrance of the store though at some you could take the cart off to the side and out to the parking lot that way, however no one else seemed to be doing this. I was left to ponder whether I would be making a grocery store faux pas if I actually wheeled the cart to my car. So what was a mother with two small children and a week's worth of groceries to do? It seemed I was to fetch my car (taking my kids with me) and drive up to the front of the store where I had left my loaded cart and some minimum wage worker would help me load my groceries into the car. Sometimes if they weren't busy and you didn't have a lot of groceries the worker would actually take your groceries to the car. Which left me to ponder "Do I tip them?" It all seemed very odd to me.

A year later it still makes me a little nervous to park my cart full of expensive groceries in front of the Whole Foods as I carry my toddler to the car and strap him in. Perhaps it's because had I done this in Durham, NC (our last place of residence) there was a good chance I wouldn't see my groceries again.

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