Thursday, May 06, 2010

The Best Time To Shop

I haven't been blogging much.  I've just been too busy.  And then I figure, who really is interested in reading about our lives?  We just get through each day with nothing special going on.  But I love to write, just like I love to talk.  And as Roger will tell you, it doesn't matter if what I have to say is interesting, I'll talk anyway.  So I decided to just write anyway, too.

Ever since I became a mom (just over 20 years ago) I've been trying to figure out when the best time of day is to take my little kids shopping.  I have learned that I can take the big kids just about anytime, but since I still have little kids, I have to work at WHEN to go.  Before homeschooling, it was pretty easy.  I would go around 10 so I could get done before they got hungry.  After lunch was naps.  And if I wasn't busy making dinner after naps, I still didn't want to go shopping because that's when the After School Rush begins.  Just after that is the After Work Rush.  And then after that we'd be busy eating dinner, giving baths, and getting kids to bed.

It got more complicated when I added in homeschooling.  We can't go in the morning or the kids won't do school.  We've tried school in the afternoons during naps and occasionally that works.  But frankly, I'm too tired to stay on them or help them if they have questions, so often nothing gets done.  For years I just went shopping after the kids went to bed because Roger could be home with them.  That worked just fine. 

Then we moved to the country where everything either closed early or was far away.  I started doing more shopping online, but some things you just have to actually go to the store.

Mornings are a nice time to go shopping.  It seems most of the other shoppers are older women who love to see my little ones, or other moms of young children who understand occasional tantrums.

Lunchtime is awful.  My kids are hungry and cry too much and I can't do any shopping.  Just a quick grab and run--no browsing allowed. 

Naptime is awful.  The little ones are crying or sleeping in the cart.  I do have kids old enough to babysit now and so occasionally I will go by myself.  But I've found that the more often I go by myself, the worse my children behave in public when they do go with me.  I guess they need the practice and training of shopping with Mom.  Besides, I like to be home at naptime for the same reason I don't like to do school at naptime.  I get tired.  I'm up throughout the night.  I need at least some downtime, if not a short snooze when I can sneak it in.

So that leaves us with the After School Rush or the After Work Rush.  Yesterday found us shopping for clothes during the After School Rush.  That wasn't so bad because that rush doesn't really affect the clothes stores.  But that put us at Walmart during the After Work Rush.  Let me describe what that can be like for a large family.

First of all, it is always crowded when I go shopping.  I have all these little people around me who tend to stand right in front of whatever I'm trying to look at.  They can't help it because they can't read my mind.  So I try to be a little extra patient.  I did well with that yesterday.  Then there are all these impatient people who want to get their shopping done so they can get home.  Most of these are people who either no longer have small children at home, or have chosen to put career first and avoid children.  Or maybe just have the obligatory 1 or 2.  Now, I'm not saying everyone with no children or just 1 or 2 is rude.  Not at all.  But it seems that the After Work Rush is usually full of people who just don't like kids.  We get the most stares, rude comments, rude looks, etc at this time of day.  I think some people think we don't notice them, or maybe their mothers never taught them the well known rules "Don't stare" or "If you can't say something nice don't say anything at all."  But we notice and we hear. 

A couple of my kids have stared back before.  They said it doesn't affect the Starers.  I can deal with the stares and the people who are visibly counting.  The ones that I feel sorry for are the ones who look at us with disgust or say rude things either to us or within our earshot.  They just seem so loveless.

So we endured the comments, stares, and rude people who seem to think we have no right to shop, then on to the checkouts.  This is usually a 20 minute wait and is a nightmare.  I dread it.  I'm pretty sure Walmart has it down to a science--if the wait is too long people may not shop there, if it is too short, they are paying too many checkers--and keep it just the right wait that we will all still shop there.  We chose our line and turned all the Cosmos backward--and a few other offensive magazines, too, this time--swimsuit season.  Then I look up and the woman in front of us was just finishing loading up her purchases.  She looks at the kids, looks at me and asks, "Are they all yours?" I inwardly groan, but outwardly smile and say, "Yes they are."  I LOVED her reaction.  She gave me a big smile and two thumbs up!!  Woohoo!  I got to spend the next few minutes chatting with a fellow child lover.  It was so pleasant the wait didn't seem nearly as long.

If only all Walmart shoppers could be friendly.  Life would be so much easier.


Anonymous said...

I'm a long time lurker, I started reading your blog before you moved to the country and have kept on. I enjoy reading because it's your ordinary day to day life. So please, keep writing, it's always a treat to see a new post in my blog feeder!

~ Dawn

Anonymous said...

I only have two kids but come from a large family and understand the 'stares' you are talking about or just the random rude comment. BUT I wouldn't be who I am without all those siblings and I think it is wonderful! I do catch myself looking at people with large families but more in 'wow they have the energy I need' not in a bad way! ha

AnnG said...

Don't stop writing!! I love reading even if I don't always comment! Besides I feel like I'm part of your life when I read about your adventures!

susie said...

I shop in the morning while my bigs are doing individual work. Or, we will eat an early lunch and go over lunch time. I avoid Wal-Mart with my kids, and there are only 5. It's like we are some oddity there.

I was pleasantly surprised to see a post from you here. I appreciate reading your thoughts.

Grammy said...

Just for the record, you are a wonderful writer and a very interesting talker. You have so much knowledge and you love to share.

Gen said...

I have to tell ya, this is one of the reasons I stopped shopping at wal mart! I can't stand the place! I find that I spend little to no more at my local grocery/dollar store than i did at wal mart, and much less hassle!