Part 1: The Toddler and the Shopping Trips
I remember when Minnow was tiny and I felt awful dragging her along on errands. It didn’t seem fair to her and it was just *so much work.* I had to pull her carseat out of the car, set it on the cart (ignoring the warnings), bring a diaper bag along everywhere in case of catastrophe, keep one hand on the carseat at all times (so I’d feel less bad about ignoring the warnings), and anxiously worry about a meltdown in the checkout aisle.
Huh. Maybe time fades memories to rosy, but shopping with an infant hasn’t got anything on shopping with a toddler. As in a refuse-to-sit-in-the-cart, grab-everything-off-the-lowest-shelf, try-to-eat-things-off-the-floor adventurous one-year-old. This weekend marked my first foray into Target since Minnow has been fully walking and I gained a heckuva an appreciation for those wily marketers that put Pirates of the Caribbean bubble bath and glittery candy on the bottom shelves. I also gained an appreciation for those moms that managed to keep their toddlers in the carts or strolllers for the duration of the shopping trip. How do they do it? Bribery, scolding, threats,…or are their kids just naturally that docile?
Whatever their secret, it remains a mystery to me, because the next day I took Minnow to the grocery store by myself. Usually, Fish accompanies us and one of us kid-wrangles while the other does the majority of the shopping. But I just needed a half-dozen things….should be easy, right? If I hadn’t chosen the self-checkout line, I might have made it out the door with my sanity. But I tried to self-checkout and Minnow proceeded to “help.” I might have let her put the Hershey’s bar in the cart, but I was constantly returning the bottle shaped candies (wtf?) to the bottom shelf. Finally, a clerk came to my assistance with the bagging, but the end result was that my groceries ended up in four plastic bags and the canvas tote went unused. I will *not* be trying the self-checkout again. Or maybe I’ll be quizzing other moms on their secrets to shopping with toddlers….
Part 2: Consignment Sale
My neighbor told me about this kids consignment sale held twice a year by one of the local churches. She explained that we would get up at 5:30 am to get in line to get a ticket that would determine when we would be able to get in and shop. It seemed awfully early to me to get some used clothes, but since she was enthusiastic about it, I agreed to go along. When we arrived at the church around 6 am, there were dozens of people ahead of us in line. Some had brought lawn chairs and a few (the first in line) had brought sleeping bags. What was all the fuss about?
At six-thirty they began giving out tickets. We were numbers 99 and 100 and they would let the first 100 people in the door at 8 am. I decided that I would never, ever get in line any earlier than I had this time. It just didn’t seem worth it. We went home, got some breakfast, and then headed back to the sale, bringing along canvas tote bags for our purchases.
When we got in the door, we were greeted by a whole gymnasium full of baby and children’s clothing – all neatly organized by gender and size. Beyond the gym, there were rooms of toys, furniture, bikes, maternity clothes, books, puzzles, … It was an unbelievable amount of stuff.
My goals were to get some summer clothes in Minnow’s current size and one size up, a toy shelf, a potty, and maybe a ride-on toy. I started with the clothing, which was a little overwhelming. Jam-packed racks full of choices. They had a helpful area for sorting through the things you pulled off the racks and volunteers to restock anything you changed your mind about. After clothing, I checked out the rest of the sale. Since I had specific things in mind and the best items probably disappeared quickly, I probably should have done the clothing second – but I guess that’s a lesson for next time. I did get a potty and a ride-on toy but there were no toy shelves to be had at least by the time I got to that part of the sale.
In the end, I got 34 items for almost exactly $100. As I was shopping I felt shocked by the consumerism and materialism of the whole thing (focusing on getting good deals, brand names, being first, more more more…). But maybe it’s not so bad. After all, we were recycling the clothing and toys. And some of the proceeds went to charity. I think that if we get a good amount of use out of the stuff I bought then my dismay over the consumerishness of the event will disappear and I’ll feel good about it. I’ve got until the next sale in August to decide.
But I’m glad I didn’t bring Minnow to the consignment sale. That would have been an adventure indeed.