Can we all agree that shopping with our kids with us is an experience we’d rather not have?
They climb in and out and on top of the shopping cart. They touch everything. They ask for candy and toys and any item emblazoned with their favorite cartoon characters. They throw tantrums, and they walk slowly, and they get in our way and the paths of others.
And don’t even get me started on them trying to sneak stuff into the shopping cart.
I’m lucky though. A local all-in-one store with everything from groceries to clothing has a playland where I can drop my kids off for up to an hour — for free. My children get to play with toys and other kids while I get to shop in peace. I can actually take the time to peruse ingredient labels to see just how may chemicals I’m putting into my body. I can compare prices and decide if an extra dollar is worth spending in order to have softer toilet paper with which to wipe my kids’ butts. I can buy the snacks I want the kids to eat that week instead of the junk they opt for because I can’t take one more second of whining.
Suddenly, shopping isn’t a chore. It’s a reprieve. Smart, effective marketing that makes my soul happy.
IKEA is another fabulous example. Dates with my husband are often enjoyed in their upstairs cafe. We drink coffee and snack on meatballs while the kids color and jump around like monkeys while people who actually want to hang out with my kids (or get paid to pretend to) keep an eye on them.
Retailers of the world, I implore you to consider adding this little corner of heaven to your stores. It’s a winning situation for everyone, and here’s why:
You will have less chaos in your stores. Tired of kids pulling down displays or spilling apples all over the produce section? Create a neon-colored jail for the kids to go to, and your chaos will be nicely contained to that little area instead of havoc being wreaked across your store. This creates a more enjoyable shopping experience for everyone, and happy people spend more money.
You will make more money. I guarantee that I spend a whole lot more money when I’m shopping without my kids. I have the silence that allows me to remember I needed to buy steak and a birthday present for someone. I have the freedom to casually stroll down your aisles, look at new products, and try on clothes because I don’t have a 3-year-old whining that he just wants to go home. I have more uninterrupted time in your store, and the more time I spend there, the more money I’m likely to spend which means more money in your pocket. Win-win!
Help me help you. Create a safe place where I can drop off my kids. They’ll be happy because they got to play instead of being dragged around the store with me yelling at them to keep up. I’ll be happy because I finally remembered to buy a card for my mom’s birthday. Your employee will be happy because there is less shit to clean up. And you’ll be happy because your revenue will skyrocket. There are no losers here.
So please, for the greater good of humanity, please start creating more stores with a play area for kids. My kids, and my sanity, will be eternally grateful.