Best Kept Secret: Miniature Shopping Carts

My love affair with Trader Joe’s has existed since well, long before I was a mom, or even married.

My passion only grew deeper after I became a mom, and TJ’s made it so easy in so many ways to feed my kid. And then there was the first time I can remember bringing her to TJ’s after she could walk.

grocery store Champaign County Market shopping cart kids

The Bleill girls are on mission: grocery shopping. Photo by Laura Weisskopf Bleill

Somehow, I had never noticed the miniature kid-sized shopping carts. But I was quick to discover what a lifesaver they could be for parents who need get some shopping done when Junior is around. I promptly lamented that there were no grocery stores in Champaign — at least that I knew of — that offered the same amenity.

Flash forward a few years, and I made a similar discovery at the County Market on Kirby/Duncan in Champaign. I was elated. Ecstatic! Finally, a way to get those few items at the store in peace – and keep that kid moving when she won’t stay in the cart any longer.

The only problem was that the carts were few and far between – and only a couple were fully functional.

Well, flash forward to this summer. County Market has replenished its stash, meaning I don’t need to worry about a fight breaking out because there’s only one cart for now two mobile children. And now there is another local grocery that has tossed its hat into the miniature shopping cart pool — Schnuck’s in Champaign has joined in on the action, too. (I have not seen them at Schnuck’s in Savoy or Urbana, but perhaps someone else has?)

So thank you, dear Chambana grocers, for thinking of the children — and their exasperated parents. For me, going to the grocery store with my children is long, drawn-out and painful. But you have made it a little easier.

That’s not to say that the fights have completely subsided. These days, I have to make sure each one not only gets a cart of her own — but that they each get the same NUMBER OF ITEMS.

Oh well. Nothing’s perfect.

Do you know of an area business that has gone out of their way to make life easier for their grown-up customers who have kids? Maybe they have a play area, or some toys available? Give them a shout-out in the comments below!

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  1. Schnucks in Savoy allow each kid (with an adult) a free cookie from their bakery!

  2. I love those little carts. My son sent me a photo of my little grand daughter pushing one and I fell in love with the photo and framed it. I wish I could show it here. Go to my Face Book page and you will see it. I think it is wonderful to engage the children in the process of shopping with Mommy or Daddy. They get to see the entire chain of the eating process by helping out.