Shopping with seniors


Good news. Bad news. It’s Tuesday and that means it’s senior citizen discount day at Kleins grocery store on Main Street in Bel Air. If you’re able-bodied and on a tight schedule you’ll likely be irritated by the motorized carts and slow-moving shoppers that get in your way. However, if you’re a senior citizen with more time than money to spend, it’s good news. I’ve discovered it’s also good news for moms attempting to grocery shop with small children. Seniors move slowly. Moms with kids move slowly. Kids are loud. Seniors are hard of hearing. Seniors like to chat. Moms are good listeners. When I was new to shopping with kids, I tried shopping at the Giant Food in Forest Hill. While attempting to cajole my son into his car seat while he was in full meltdown mode, another shopper stood watch. I didn’t notice her, until she spoke. It took a few moments before I registered what she was saying to me amid my son’s flailing body parts. She said she was watching me to make sure we didn’t scratch her car. That’s when I started thinking small. Smaller stores. Stores with smaller footprints are easier for shoppers with arthritis and moms carting kids. Smaller stores attract older, friendlier shoppers not so much in a hurry. There may be fewer choices on the shelves, but that does seem to speed up the shopping outing. Today at the store an older shopper stopped to comment on how my 3-year-old was helping me bag corn on the cob. “My daughter used to help me shop,” she said. “She’s all grown up now.” And she walked away with a quick smile. A few years ago I spied a mom at Kleins pushing a cart full of groceries with one hand and pulling a cart full of children with the other. I wondered if she felt the same way I did about small stores. I stopped to ask her. But I soon grasped that between the groceries and the kids, chit chat was not on her list that day.