Supermarket Sweep Treat: The Quest for Blue Milk

Look at him, like cucumber wouldn't melt...

My car ambled into the parent and child parking space next to her.

"Sorry, I'm in the way." She said as she pulled her trolley from the zoned out area next to my car.

"It's OK". I said sighing, as one of my children fell out of the opening car door with his concentration solely being on Sideswipe, the Transformer.

Our eyes met. She looked at my children - one babbling like an incoherent drunk about how Sideswipe was "a transformer, a red transformer, he has wheels, he turns into a car, he's a good one, he's a transformer, a red one..."...whilst my other child smiled blackened raison covered incisors from his seat.
I looked at hers - One around six years old, sullen, arms crossed tightly but her legs lacking all tone hanging from her groin in her car seat and the other, slightly older, frantically ferreting around the foot wells for a vital kinder surprise toy part.

"I just thought I would take them for a nice treat" Said the other mum.

"I thought we could go shopping and then I'd treat them to a cafe lunch." She added, remorsefully, thrusting one leg against her open car door as one tried to escape, a look of Post traumatic stress in her eyes.

"I know" I said, visually patting her arm with my eyes as a comfort gesture and then quietly out of earshot from the people carrier savages we were harbouring, went on to say;

"It always seems like such a good idea but there's something about this place...that just turns them." I said, questioning my own motives to coming to the supermarket whilst suspiciously eyeing up the car wash guy edging closer - was he in on the child psychopath inducing supermarket conspiracy?

"You want a car wash love?"

No, he just wanted to buff my bonnet.

We edge away from each other, kindred spirits with idealistic values about supermarket cafes outing with children but hiding the sinister knowledge that nine times out of ten it goes tits up.

I herd my two across the road, whilst dancing past the ride on machines to divert their attention and then break into a sweat trying to find the double seated trollies whilst avoiding kamikaze children bolting through the swishy doors. After convincing the youngest to de-plank (by convince I mean bribe with Haribo), we are off to shop.
Off to my fate. Why are we here again?

Of course it's well over a week since the Easter holidays have started and we are all vastly running out of places to go. I run a mental list through my mind each morning, it goes a little something like this (I feel like Run DMC saying that):

  • Soft play - NO. Jesus Christ, no it's the school holidays, have you learnt nothing as a parent? Cease thinking of this insane idea this second. 
  • The park - we've been there twice a day for a week. There must be no more of this park ground hog day. 
  • Egg Hunt/Easter craft day/insert other £5+ per head activity which is flatly refused soon after paying the entrance fee. That's self explanatory. 
  • Staying at home - Look it's just not fair on the neighbours, it's their holiday too.
  • Supermarket shopping - this is it! Two birds, one stone! We need more blue milk (i'e' one down form the 'get shit done list', and they can have a 'treat'. They will love it, they get to browse the toys. I get to browse the clothes. Maybe we could have lunch their...maybe I'm just get a little bit too much into this fantasy? No, no, they are older now, by at least 3 days since we have last been to the supermarket...things will be different this time. 

The thing is, you've got maximum five minutes to do everything, including tilling up, before they just go cuckoo. This place makes purple minions out of the most placid of children.

As we pass the the entrance, it starts:

"Mummy, can I have a magazine?" says the three year old.

"Well, OK, as a treat, but it's instead of sweets"

"Oh yes mummy"

See, that was easy - he'll get a magazine. He'll treasure and hold it for at least 15 minutes which means I can browse the clothes, maybe even look at homeware....

"MAMMA!" frantic screams come from the younger one.

Shit, he's out of Haribo! But I only just gave them too him. A quick recce reveals a trail of golden bears from the entrance being helpfully cleared away by an employee. Christ, I need no, do not go and pick them up. You will  be fine without the Haribo safety net.

Like a the clock in 24, we have just bleeped down to 2 minutes maximum time before paddy-ville commences. I look down to the magazine browsing preschooler:

"Right so have you chosen a magazine? Er, not that one, you have that one at not the one with the slingshot...why? Because your brother values his eyesight....any time this those are not sweets, that's a toy in a crinkly bag..what's that, you want sweets now? You want chewy ones, with sprinkle bits, but not too chewy and in a blue bag? er, about this milky bar?"

Right it's try to pull out the fun parent card. I can be fun parent, not the slightly-annoyed- anxious-that-the-shits-about-to-hit-the-fan-parent I currently am.

"Let's sing a song" I say.

At this point I would like to point out massive apologies to all the parents out there. I am not trying to make you feel bad by seemingly looking like Maria form the Sound of Music with a shopping trolley in Sangers. Firstly I sound like Zed from Police academy and secondly, I know this tactic works 60% of the time, so odds on I'm onto a winner, but there's a 40% chance I'll look like a twonk.

Unfortunately, it's twonk time. Now the two munchkins are squeezed in next to each other in the trolley seat which has only meant a competitive squirming over who's side is who's.

What did I come in for again? Milk, blue milk. Concentrate on the milk, do not be swayed by the 25% off clothing.
But we do need some fruit, and some nappies, and sellotape and, those BOGOF cakes looks nice....

10 minutes later, coupled with 2 minutes of trolley spinning distraction actions we are ready to pay.

" But I want my sweets mummy" whines one.

"Well, we did say, if you kept on head butting your brother, then you wouldn't get any sweets" I say avoiding eye contact.


Oh dear lord, escape. I could abandon the trolley but I really do need this stuff (wine) and my husbands on night shifts, so there is no way I can get it later....Right, automated till it is.

"Authorisation needed" She barks (the till) as I scan the wine. Alright lady, let's just move this along, mummy needs her wine (coping mechanism) and these two kids are going full purple minion here.

"Please remove the item from the bagging area" she retorts.

What? there's no item in the bagging area!!! Oh wait, there is a three year old who has just thrown a 7cmx7cm empty haribo bag on the bagging area, weighing possibly 2 whole grams.

As the red light on the till flashes to summon an assistant to my grave bagging error, my two are rocking back and forth. One is talking gibberish to the halogen strip lights over head, whilst the other is sobbing for Swwwwwaaaa-eeeeaaaaats. I am ready to be committed to the asylum, let alone these two.

I just need someone to say "you've got your hands full" and my day will be complete. Quickly I duck my eyes, thumb in my pin number on there card machine and load up the trolley....Only to realise, I had come sans bags and I am not paying for more when they are in the car. I have principles.
Time for a LIDL style sweep into the trolley and run.

Back to the sweet, sweet car (aptly named because it is also covered in sweet remnants).

So next time, your thinking of going to the supermarket to give them a treat (and you, let's face it, it's mainly for you).....think online shop, think sanity.

Your fate awaits you....


Do you have to take crazy purple minion children to to daily tasks too? The join me, it making lighthearted fun out of those crazy inducing moments - we can conquer this world one toddler at a time.

Here I am on Facebook, if you like that sort of thing (I do).


  1. This is the exact reason I shopped online for about five years. Now the kids are all at school I can shop in peace on weekdays - it's bliss! The only problem is that I'd forgotten how annoying it is taking children shopping in the holidays until this week. Came out £30 lighter and 100% shoutier AND someone said "you've got your hands full". So yeah, I'm with you!

  2. You are my shopping hero....a supermarket shop in peace - my Mecca!