I just read an article about how some grocery stores in Canada have started offering “special needs hours” in their stores. How amazing is that? On the “off hours,” usually early afternoon, when it is least crowded, they turn the lights down, turn the music and PA system off, and offer assistance with grocery shopping if it is needed. I wish stores in America would take up this practice!
Here’s how grocery shopping usually works in our house:
Me – “OK, Kiddo, hop in the car, time to get some groceries”
Teen Child – “I can’t hop in the car, Mom, I will hit my head.”
Me – “Good point. Could you please join your dad and I in the car so we can get some groceries because we have nothing but cheese in the house?”
Teen Child – “Sure. Let me just get ready to go.”
An hour later, after saying goodbye to all the cats and the dog and reassuring them we will be right back, we make it to the grocery store.
In the store :
Teen Child – “It’s very bright in here. And noisy. And people smell funny, and that’s all scary.”
Me – “We will go as quickly as we can. Let’s split up the list to make it easier.”
Teen Child – “OK, I will do my bestest.”
All three of us hurry through the store to the refrain of “are we done yet,” throwing things in the cart and rushing to the register before the sights, sounds and smells get to be so overwhelming that they cause a meltdown. At the register, we breathe a sigh of relief that we got through without any major problems and at the car we praise and congratulate our daughter for keeping it together in what is, to her, the most stressful, scary environment, ever. Feeling proud of ourselves, we get home and put the groceries away, and then our daughter collapses on the couch because dealing with grocery stores is, literally, physically tiring.
Quickly doing an inventory the groceries we just got, I turn to my husband and ask, “So what shall we have for dinner?” He looks around at the half hours’ worth of stuff we got (mostly veggies, pet supplies, and milk) and says, “How about I go get some groceries and pick up dinner?” I grin and say, “That’s a great idea, thank you!”
See why I like Canada’s idea?