Saturday morning, a quick run into the shops to get a few things with the kids in tow moaning they are tired and hungry, nothing new there as they’re always hungry.
Quickly around the perimeter avoiding the lolly section, up the cleaning products section avoiding the toys. Made it, off to the checkout with just what I came for!
Wait what’s this? A long winding labyrinth of shelving on both sides loaded with all manner of colourful sugary goodness designed to tempt the kids and turn them into relentless monsters needing a sugar fix.
You look around for another way to a checkout only to find that your only options are: to drop everything, back track and exit empty handed through the automatic doors the wrong way past shoppers entering their doom, or to enter with trepidation the maze of sweet doom. All those earlier avoidance techniques now wasted!
…….Today a checkout with a small stand of sweets, gum and magazines at the start of each checkout is a walk in the park for any parent to pass through. Not much on offer and passed quickly with minimal whining
Now the trend is to herd you all through a single maze where you all log jam and move slowly before being called to a checkout, ensuring that the maximum amount of time is spent surrounded by shelving on both sides loaded with all manner of sugary goodness. Even ice cream cabinets are placed along the path of temptation to get the kids even more hysterical.
The kids are swallowed up into a ‘Willy Wonka’ style dream world. Their eyes grow wide and wild at the magical colours and shapes, they start to salivate and then it comes, the deafening thunder of constant whining want.
Now the decision lies with the adult if the child gets their way or not and this is the line that the store will take.
But I think that the stores and their marketing departments should take some responsibility for their actions. This is marketing aimed straight at the children in the knowledge that many overtired and stressed parents will give in just for a moment’s peace to the ranting child.
Yes stores are in operation to sell, but they could put items that are more healthy or not aimed at children at all into the labyrinth instead.
Better yet destroy the maze and let us go through a checkout quickly without targeting our children.