Navigating the grocery store


Navigating the Grocery Store – Sheena Storie / Guest Contributor

As Olderhood has developed and my interest in the articles has grown, I felt that I wanted to share some of my experiences of being a grandmother for the past six years. I will attempt to give you candid and objective thoughts and comments. This will not be a diary of “how wonderful the kids are”. On the contrary it’s a journey of my daily life these days with four challenging, growing grandchildren and how I cope (barely). They all live next door to me, so I see them from daybreak to bath time. The joys, the noise, the boys … and the girls.

I broke one of my new rules this week. I took my six year old grandson to the supermarket.

It will be fine I said to myself, we won’t be there long.

Big mistake… !!

This boy is a master manipulator and negotiator. He also knows EVERYTHING there is to know, just like all nearly seven year olds. So I kept my head down, list in hand and tried to hurry through the aisles.

When he was 5 he was so helpful. He would run around the store to get tins of beans, my favourite teabags and bananas. I kept him busy and we got done in no time.

Now it’s like shopping with The Director of Organics, Mrs. Greenpeace and “my mummy says”.

All I wanted was yoghurt for Grandpa. No big deal. Wrong again.

“This one has corn syrup Grandma” he said taking it out of the cart and putting it back on the shelf. “My mummy says this is the most nutritious” putting Greek yoghurt into the cart.

I told him that it’s not for his mummy, it’s for Grandpa and he doesn’t care about corn syrup. “Don’t you want Grandpa to eat healthy yogurt .?”, he asked.

“Isn’t all yoghurt healthy .?” I asked. (‘Why am I arguing with him.?’ I ask myself.)

We tried the vegetables next. “Can you pick out some tomatoes and put them in this bag  please”, I asked him. I think he squeezed every one in the tray and I wheeled myself and the trolley to the next aisle when I saw the store assistant coming over to him.

“I’m outta here” I said to myself. Gone.

The next aisle was the worst. The one with cleaning products.  “We can’t have anything with bleach….. it’s not good for the environment. Mummy says it pollutes all our soil and water.”, said Mr. Good Earth… !!

“Just put that blue bottle in the cart and let’s move on” I said.

“No Grandma, you really have to have this one” he said, with as much authority as his little self could muster. He put his choice in the cart.

I checked my groceries and filling up the cart, and seemingly challenging me, were environmentally-friendly cleaning products, really hard tomatoes, expensive organic apples and oranges, Greek yoghurt and some items I hadn’t even asked for.

I was getting annoyed by this time, especially with his mother.

Fellow shoppers were smiling and nodding at me, presumably in sympathy.

I finally lost patience when he produced a room air freshener, of his choice. ”I’m going to buy this for my Mummy” he declared. And another item flew into the cart.

So I launched into, my answer, ”I am not buying your mummy’s groceries.”

“It’s OK Grandma” digging into his pockets, ”I have my own money.” He produced some crumpled paper bills and some coins that rolled across the floor.

“But I gave you that money to buy the Lego you wanted”, I said with a thin trail of smoke coming out my ears.

“I want to buy something nice for my Mummy”, he replied, turning into a doe-eyed sweet little thing.

“I’m not buying that” I said. “And I’m not buying your charm.”

I pleaded with him to put it back and instead, found myself negotiating with him to buy a box of no-butter popcorn.

Thinking about it, I suspect that is what he wanted all along. He really is a master manipulator.

Now please learn from my mistakes with that shopping trip.

Do not negotiate with grandchildren

  1. Do not take them grocery shopping
  2. Give your shopping list to your daughter
  3. Let her pay for the groceries.

ssSheena Storie is a grandmother of four children ranging in age from 2 months to 6 years. During her lifetime career as an educator, she was a learning support teacher to children with learning difficulties, including dyslexia.

As Author of The Granny Blog*, Sheena draws on her traditional Scottish upbringing and values, as she relates the real life challenges of being a modern Gran to four active youngsters. Her entertaining writing combines a keen sense of wit and honesty as she navigates the adventures of family life, and offers advice regarding the shepherding of grandkids in today’s complex world.

* is a registered domain name of

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