Shopping Trolleys for Multiples

This is a post that has percolating at the back of my mind for quite some time, and especially after some recent visits to the grocery store, and in my mind I am having a good rant over trolley usage, or rather abuse. (I must specify for my US readers, I’m talking about shopping carts.)

This is the thing. When you have multiple children and you need to visit the grocery store, trolley choice becomes crucial. The success of your shopping expedition will have a direct correlation to the shopping trolley (shopping cart) that you are able to use. At this point, I would like to take the opportunity to applaud Coles. Coles is by far my favoured grocery store to shop with the triplets in tow. It is also my 7 & 4 year olds favourite shop because it has child sized trolleys that they LOVE! (I must admit, they can be a hazard to other customers though.) Coles have these awesome trolleys that can sit two toddlers in as well as the normal trolley seat. It is ideal for triplets and the beauty is that there is enough room to fill a whole trolley full of groceries.

Going shopping with the triple seated toddler trolley. It made even shopping with 7 kids (my neighbours kids were with me that day) manageable!

I have not seen these trolleys at Woolworths, but my local Woolworths does have a twin trolley with two seats at the front. Which means the third child has to sit in the trolley, which will inevitably end up with groceries being squashed, a child standing up and leaning over the edge or general discontent because the two at the front start fighting. (Well, they fight in the awesome trolley at Coles as well, but not quite as much.) I am very particular when I go shopping at grocery stores, I’ve recently stopped shopping at a Coles in town because they have shut an automatic door in from the carpark and it’s now only used after hours. This means I now have no way of getting the trolley for the triplets before I get out of the car unless I walk them all through the shopping centre to get to the grocery store. At the risk of a toddler meltdown as we walk through to the shops, I now only go to the Coles closest to our house and will not get groceries if I’ve got the kids in town and just make do with what is at home. There is just so many different contingencies when there are multiples. You have your little routines and you rely on them to be able to accomplish what was once a simple task.

The twin trolley. As you can see, it’s not as much fun.

Which gets me to the issue I would like to rant about. People, I would like to announce: There is trolley etiquette. There is. Believe me. If you don’t respect trolley etiquette people like me cannot go shopping. Or, if I’m truly desperate I will load three toddlers and two big boys into a normal trolley and try to rip in and out with whatever is necessary. Normally it doesn’t go well. If you are the person who is letting their eight year olds go for a joy ride in what I call the “triplet trolley” (which it of course isn’t, there are Mums that have two very young children and a baby, and they need to use this trolley as much as I do) I hope while they are joyriding, my tripletst screams, protest, whinging and crying give you a headache for the rest of the night, because that is what I will suffer. I apologise sincerely to the rest of the public that had to witness the unruly behaviour of my brood. I am so sorry, I am also mortified and embarrassed. I’m trying my best to train my children to be considerate of each other and the general population. I’m hoping that soon they will learn patience, I’m trying my best, but they just aren’t there yet all the time.

Shopping with a normal trolley is a lot easier when you have Grandma accompanying the shopping trip. Toy section distracting in place.

So, if you haven’t thought about trolley etiquette, here is an outline below. Please adhere to these guidelines.

1. If you have one toddler. Do not use the three seat toddler trolley. I know it is a lot of fun for your little cherub, (because hey, the seats are far more comfortable), but you will be able to do your shopping with that cherub in a normal trolley. If I go to the grocery store while you are using the triple trolley, I will have to turn around and go home. It would be great if there were more trolleys like this so you could take it for a joy ride, but there just aren’t, so please think of those who need it first.

 2. If you have two toddlers. Think about using the twin trolley with seats up the front if it’s available before you use the three seat trolley. If those with three small children arrive at the store while you are shopping, they will be most appreciative that you left it alone so they could use it.

 3. Reclining baby cradle trolleys have been made for babies who cannot sit up unassisted. These trolleys were NOT designed as a convenient spot to take your handbag for a ride. To the lady I saw the other day. I know you had a toddler, but that did not qualify you to take the toddler/newborn trolley so you could put your handbag in it. If there was a mother with a newborn and a toddler, her baby would have been so much more comfortable in it than your handbag. (Mainly because handbags can’t feel, unlike babies who begin to feel prior to 8 weeks gestation)

4. Reclining baby trolleys were not made for toddlers to sit in. In fact, often toddlers in them are kind of dangerous. Just sayin’.

5. OK, so this is my opinion here, but if your child is five and above, there really is little need for them to go in the toddler trolley. (I would go so far to say that school kids don’t need to go in those trolleys at all.) Once again, I know your kid probably enjoys the trip, but, once again, think of the bedraggled mother of all those children who might arrive at the store while you are waltzing around with the Rolls Royce of toddler trolleys. Of course, there are some days, where things just aren’t working out and your kindergartener and/or possibly a Prep child is just on the verge of losing it, (and you have two or three children), plonk them in and God speed to you. Just ignore the pointed glances that a multiple Mum like myself might give you and hold your head up high with the knowledge that on this occasion it was necessary. Because after all – what do I know? (Even if I’m in a world of pain as I try to wrangle the seven vegemite jars my toddler is trying to load in the trolley and catch the jam jar my other toddler is about to drop and we won’t men

tion the copious squeals, protests and tears from the third child who wants the small peanut butter put in the trolley instead of the economical large family sized jar… Yes, I may be talking about a real life incident here.)

So, have you witnessed any shopping trolley infringements that you’d like to report below?

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  1. oh wow!

    I had to go shopping with my newborn son the other day. I loaded in him into the baby carrier but I found it really difficult to get items into the trolley. I had a bit of whinge to my husband when I got home about how difficult it was. I declared that I wasn’t going shopping with him until he is able to sit up in the trolley.

    This post kind of puts my whinge into perspective. I’m so impressed that you shop with three toddlers! I can’t even wrap my head around it!

    Of course, I’m not going to show this to my husband otherwise he’ll wave it in my face every time I want to whinge. We’ve all got to have a little whinge now and then, right?

    My trolley rage is usually to do with how people drive their trolleys in supermarkets. You should always pull your trolley all the way over to the side of the aisle when you park it (unless you have a grabby toddler [or 3] in it). You should never park your trolley opposite one of the Woolies stocking trolleys. If you’re going to stop to have a conversation with a friend please don’t do it in the middle of an aisle.

    I’m all about efficiency! I just want to get in and out of the shops with a minimum of fuss.

  2. Oh yes Jess, there is a whole realm of shopping trolley etiquette that I didn’t even touch on! (Shame on me, if there’s enough interest, maybe this should become a part two!) It’s hard shopping with even one baby, don’t get me wrong, that’s why people really need to be considerate of one another!

  3. LOL! Best tip is to leave the kids at home! Shop online? I think you will adore those pictures forever more!

  4. I can’t imagine what it’s like! My kids are 4 and 1 and they actually love coming to the supermarket. I try to get a double toddler trolley, but more often than not it’s 1yo in the front and 4yo in the trolley until it gets too full, then she walks the rest. (So I try to make sure we’ve passed the confectionery aisle by then!)

  5. I agree!!!! I had five children in five years and used the three sitter always, with my baby strapped to my chest and three kids belted down and one in the trolley. It would make me so mad that others use a trolley to carry their handbag!! Once I had to make my three year old lie down in a baby recliner next to my baby as the only trolley available was a twin newborn!! And whilst we are ranting, these trolleys are free, please don’t leave them outside, especially when it is RAINING!! And, in my case, the seats are also useful for older kids (above five years) because of their autism. Great rant-y post. I whinge about this too.

  6. I mostly do the grocery shopping without the kids also, but there are just some days that are unavoidable. And other days that I go in with them to only get a few things and then figure, “What the heck I’m in here now…” and keep filling the trolley.

  7. Leave the kids at home is the best option. Grocery shopping becomes “me time” then! I’ve looked at shopping online, but it always seems like such a long process and I can’t find what I want. I’ve been told it gets quicker the more you do it, but once again, if I can arrange to get out without the kids, me time. Online can’t offer that!

  8. BRILLIANT RANT! I would get so angry when there would be no baby capsule trollies left, only to go into Woolies and find women using the bassinet top for their handbags or bread! I love the look of that Coles trolley for multiple kids. Really grocery stores should think of convenience for their customers when it comes to trollies.

  9. You are braver than me going out with that many kids (although I guess you don’t really have a choice). I struggle with just one, but now that shes big enough to sit in the seat in the trolley its much easier.

  10. I was thinking as I wrote that maybe I shouldn’t put an age down, because some older kids that have issues such as autism etc. can make grocery shopping so much easier. But there are plenty of older kids that don’t need to have joy rides though as well, I’m glad you made the point. Thanks! And I also wrote something about putting the trolleys back and then I realised that I’ve never had to park a long way away from the door, so I always run the trolley back to the front of the shop while the kids are in the car because it only takes a few seconds. I’m not sure I would do that if I was too far away on a hot day. Although, I think if I had to park a long way from the door on a rainy day I wouldn’t bother going. In fact, safe to say, I’ve never taken all the triplets out on a rainy day to the grocery store. Thanks for approving my whinging! I feel validated!

  11. I understand. Once I had just one too, and at the time I didn’t think it was easy at all. We’re all at different stages, that’s all. I often have a helper, so most of the time I get her to look after the kids when I go out, but sometimes we just do it. Actually, the triplets love it. The love all outings, poor souls. They don’t get out all that often. Not like singletons!

  12. Thanks Emily. You are right, the experiences are different, I have lost count of the amount of triplet mothers who have got their hackles up by people saying that they know exactly how it feels because they have kids close together. However, 3 in 3.5 years would most certainly have been CRAZY! Thanks for the love!

  13. I reckon you will find those toddler trolleys brilliant if you go out with your three kids once the baby is sitting by itself Bec. After all, they aren’t just for multiple kids – you would well and truly qualify! I wouldn’t begrudge you if I turned up at the store and saw you using it with your littlies! Thanks for the ranting validation!

  14. The exact reason why I hate shopping at my local woolies – they have very few double trolleys and I love when you are walking through carrying the baby with the toddler in the seat coz you could only get a single trolley and it wasnt worth the toddler melt down to make them sit in the trolley basket and you walk past the lady with the double trolley with her BREAD nestled snuggly in the second seat!!!

  15. Don’t you just want to run your trolley into the back of the legs of the lady with the bread, and then apologise, “Oh, I’m sorry, it’s just so hard trying to push this trolley because I couldn’t find one to put the baby in…” Sometimes I can be very unholy…

  16. So. True. Usually hubby and I go grocery shopping together – we love running errands together! But those annoying stores that just have one-seaters…? What are we to do??? Here in the states we get awful looks if the kids ride in the cart without being strapped in. So usually hubs pushes one, carries one and I push one and shop. I can’t imagine also having two others…or going grocery shopping without the husband! Props, mama! 🙂

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