Grazing the food aisles

November 6, 2007

At a potluck dinner a few years ago, we got onto the subject of whether or not we let our kids start eating food in the grocery store before we’ve paid for it. At that time, I did — the now-4-year-old would be perfectly happy for a good half hour if I let him munch a blueberry bagel, and he never finished it so I never forgot to pay at the checkout. Other parents said their trick was to shop when stores were handing out free samples, especially at Whole Foods Market. (One couple admitted to “lunching” there with their toddler.) Because the sampling usually happens on the weekend, and because Whole Foods is JAMMED on the weekend, I rarely went that route. However, I do wholeheartedly endorse it for a couple of reasons: (1) Fellow shoppers don’t look at you as though you’re shoplifting when you give your kid that bagel. (2) It exposes the kids to new flavors, an ever-present goal at our house. (3) It could help keep my 16-month-old Mr. Squirmypants in the cart a few milliseconds longer.

Thus I read with interest the article in Sunday’s Post-Dispatch about the proliferation of holiday sampling events beginning this weekend at stores across the metro area. Dierbergs (all locations), Straub’s in Webster and Whole Foods start their “retailtainment” offerings Nov. 10 and/or 11; Sappington and Sam’s start the following weekend. For details, check out the end of the article at the STLToday site.

And in case you’re wondering, I no longer let the kids sample bagels before we’ve reached the checkout. The 4-year-old doesn’t need it, and Mr. Squirmypants can’t be trusted to keep ahold of anything that long.

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