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  • Writer's pictureJason Weening


Does your family eat out at restaurants often?  How about taking all the kids to the store?  

We don't do restaurants very often and I've found shopping with kids in tow is much easier done online.  

With 9 kids piling out of the van a restaurant experience can turn sour rather quickly.  If you're like me you need to review all the store or restaurant rules before going into a store or restaurant with the kids.  But I've found that by the time they're 5 or 6 they start to get a good grasp on the rules.  

Here's the basic ones our kids like to recite:  

"No yelling."  

"No fighting."  

"No running."  

"No asking for things."  

They sometimes add some extra ones like:

"Don't jump on the table."  

"Don't hammer your finger."  

"Don't kill babies."

Granted those are good rules to live by but I'm not sure they apply directly to store or restaurant visits.

I'd say the rule most often broken is "No asking for things".  Marketers nail parents with this one at every checkout line on the face of the planet.  All the cavity-inducing products displayed out in front of our toddlers and young ones.  Eye candy.  Quite literally.  If I got a nickel for every time I said "No" to one of my kids when they asked for something at the store I would be a wealthy man.  Just tonight at Wal-mart I said no to flip flops, sandals, crocs, boots, rainbow-coloured shoes, shoes with trademarked characters on them, bikes, fishing worms, fishing lures, fishing rods, fishing knives, fishing glasses, dvds, video games, bike helmets, other protective biking items, baseball gloves, baseball bats, dolls, 

miscellaneous Frozen items, miscellaneous Paw Patrol items and a few other random miscellaneous items.  This list doesn't even include the food items which marketers have covered with trademarked characters!  Cereals, candy, juice and even yogurt with Paw Patrol pups staring back at me!

Yet sometimes, I must admit, that I do crack and buy the kids a little treat at the store.  Our 3-year old needed a towel so I splurged to get the trademarked Paw Patrol towel for him.  I knew a white towel would accomplish the same mission but so what? It did cost me a bit more but I could justify it because it was an essential item and not just a plastic plaything that would fall behind the couch tomorrow, forever lost to us. 

I like to try to take one of my kids on errands with me when I’m going out.  It’s a good opportunity to practice some of those forgotten rules and get some one-on-one time with them while doing it.  I show them how to analyze prices by the liter or ounce or unit so they know they’re getting the best bang for their buck.  

After all dads, time flies and we need to make every moment count.  Take a helper with you to the store this weekend.  Maybe even toss a couple bucks their way so they can buy something they want.  That couple bucks, though, just might not be enough for the trademarked goods.

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