Moms and dads, there's may be a new hero is among us depending on your tolerance for meltdowns over Snicker's bars. Michigan mom Jane Kramer is working to get M&M's, Altoids and magazines featuring cleavage and diet tips on their covers out of the checkout lines at her favorite grocery store.
Kramer started a Change.org petition demanding that Meijer, one of the Midwest’s biggest chains, to ban junk food and naughty magazines in favor of what she considers “healthy checkout aisles” for the sake of kids' health (physical and mental). That would mean no tabloids, no Tic Tacs and no more last-second Milky Ways calling your name.
As one might expect, the response from the internet has been fierce—with trolly ire especially aimed at Kramer's parenting. Commenters are going after Kramer for not controlling her kid and not telling him “no.”
But let’s just call this one as it is: a gift from Jane Kramer to moms and dads everywhere.
Venturing into a grocery store with small children is enough to test any mom’s strength and endurance. There are just so many choices, and toddlers like nothing more than throwing a colossal tantrum because they won't get the blue bottle of dish detergent or something equally ridiculous.
You know the rules, moms.
You stay centered in the aisles, so grubby fingers can't reach out and wipe an entire length of cereal boxes off the shelves. You avoid eye contact with people you know, so you don’t get caught in long conversations, thereby leaving your kiddo plenty of time to wreak havoc.
You bring a list because it’s your sanity.
But the checkout aisle is where the rubber truly meets the road for parents of small children, especially if you have the unenviable task of shopping without a second adult or older kid along to help. While you’re unloading all the items from your cart onto the conveyor belt, your kids are in their glory.
They’re in close proximity to all sorts of junk food that they can hardly resist grabbing. And why not? Candy manufacturers make their wrapping look enticing, shelve it at eye-level and force everyone leaving the store to pass by it. That’s how they sell candy!
If you’re not fast enough (a.k.a: super human), you often end up with a floor full of candy, a wailing toddler and a splitting headache. And all you wanted was some extra toilet paper and frozen waffles. What you got was a crowd of fellow shoppers glaring at you for what they deem your inabilty to raise kids.
Kramer gets that. Though her son is now 13—well beyond “grabbing for the candy bars” age—she remembers all too well what it was like navigating the checkout lane with him when he was younger.
As she told ABC News, “After we adopted, the grocery shopping experience just changed. Our only options were junk, and I wanted to be able to buy a banana or carrots. Then there were all the horrible titles on the magazine covers and once [my son] learned how to read, he started asking me about that."
She said she's simply asking Meijer to stand by what its website says is its core values: "We create a safe shopping experience for our customers and offer products and services to help our customers lead healthier lives."
Her critics tell her to go somewhere else, but Kramer says she doesn't want to. She says others question her parenting.
"It's not about being a bad parent and not about saying 'no' to your child," she told ABC News. "I think healthy food should be the standard at checkout so that we have to work harder to eat junk food. [R]ight now, it's too easy."
And if you think it’s hard on the parents, imagine what it’s like for the people who work in the grocery stores and have to listen to the toddler meltdowns and straighten up those shelves after the kids have left.
Maybe banning candy and adult-themed magazines from the checkout aisles will require us all to plan our shopping trips better. But how hard cis it to grab chocolate bars and other guilty pleasures before we head to the cashier? Bonus: the extra walking burns off some calories. Win!
At this point, Kramer's petition as nearly 800 signers. Her goal is 1,000. Kramer's not the only one who hates the end of the grocery store obstacle course. The question is whether Meijer is open to the change.