Shopping Centre’s Are A New Kind Of Nightmare

Shopping centres must surely be some diabolical level of hell. I was never a huge fan of shopping centres even in my  teen “hang around doing nothing but looking oh so cool even if we are the only ones who think so” phase. Usually food was just about the only way to get me there, oh and the promise of buying a book.

But when going to a shopping centre with a child it just takes on a whole new level of torture.

Yesterday we stopped in at the small shopping “town” (because mall sounds to low brow) to duck into our local grocery store and buy a few things. In the fifteen minutes we were there (yes we actually did a quick food shop with a toddler in tow. I am as surprised as you are) we still managed to get a toddlers arm stuck in the chair, nearly run over by a rampaging shopping trolley, get trampled over by hurumphing adults, and then navigate through a cloud of cigarette smoke. Sadly this was a good shop.

Shopping centres in general are just one big hazard. I will not go near one if I know its going to be packed with crowds (so lunch time is pretty much ruled out). You have an obstacle course of shopping trolley’s, prams, harassed other parents, teenagers, ice cream shops, delivery people, shop attendants, and then entertainment/game machines (you know those rides or toy dispensers with the claw).

Phew, and amongst all of this people (strangely enough, more often then not, those WITH kids) seem to think you should have this well-behaved child. When in reality the shopping centre is one massive sensory (and temptation) overload and it would be (I think) impossible to realistically expect your child to not go bat guano crazy. Which leads me to the next point;  you can almost guarantee that when you are trying to do your fastest shop, and/or your nerves are frayed there will be a tantrum/melt down/accident involving your child that will make you just want to die of shame or punch the glaring, pain in the ass stranger next to you.

A lot of the time family rooms (for changes and feeds if your baby is young enough) are so revolting you wouldn’t step foot in there without knowing your vaccinations were all up to date, let alone take a child in there. That’s if they even have a family room. There were many a time I trudged back to the car to feed little monkey because the family rooms grossed me out and I wasn’t going to sit in full view of everyone to breast feed.

But wait it gets even worse once your child can actually walk. Clothes shopping is just as traumatic with those high clothes racks that kiddies can easily and quickly slide under. Seriously you would swear someone had rolled your child in lard and pushed them hard as they sail with gay merriment under the racks. Do not underestimate the speed of a child who knows they have gotten away! I can guarantee, once your child can walk, that you will probably lose your child at least once during it’s child hood, which wont make you feel better when it happens but at least you have a small comfort in knowing you are not the only one. Loosing your child a the shopping centre will make every everything pale in comparison even if your child is only gone for a few minutes, you will feel the worst that you have felt ever.

Some shopping centres have a small children’s play area which is great, fantastic even except you can’t leave your kids there to do your shopping (you can’t right? Right? No I am sure someone would object). Oh and there are those little kiddie trolley things which are impractical (you can’t put much shopping in it) and uncomfortable for the kids.

So these days any joy I did used to have going to a shopping centre is long gone as a simple trip usually involves a degree of planning that would leave an army general in the middle of a battle blushing at his inadequacies. Find a system that works for you and stick with it, as it will go some way towards saving your sanity. But also be prepared for the fact that shopping is not going to be enjoyable for you with a child in tow for quite some time.


2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. stacybuckeye
    Feb 26, 2012 @ 22:12:20

    Even though Gage is walking I’ll only take him places that have carts or I’ll take his stroller. The cart works better for some reason. I know in a few months he’s going to want to walk and it’ll turn into a stressful nightmare!


    • Caspette
      Feb 28, 2012 @ 13:55:11

      Carts can work a treat but sometimes they just wanna walk grrr. Shopping centre’s just are not family friendly. On the plus side we have been using smaller shops a lot more so local small business is getting our business a lot more these days.


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