toddler daughter putting tons of hummus into small grocery cart

Whole Foods: Your Little Carts May Have Won Over My Son But You Won’t Win Me Until You Get Some Decent Bagels

For the past month we’ve been grocery shopping at Whole Foods, also known as Whole PAYCHECK! HAHAhahaa… Yes, I know that you already heard it.

We go there because our local grocery store was bought out by a crappy grocery store and the local hippie store doesn’t carry an edible version of frozen pizza (a staple in any healthy home).

But mostly we go to Whole Foods because they have small carts for children to push. Or for small dogs to pull. Although how a small dog could afford to shop at Whole Foods is beyond me.

Two weeks ago, all the little carts were GONE. E’s reaction was the equivalent of Santa Claus giving all his presents to his sister and stealing his dog. And riding his bike away while laughing manically.

E: Mama, where are the carts?

Me: They aren’t there? Other little children must be using them.

{note: stupid thing to say}


And he beelines into Whole Food with arms flailing and tears sprouting. Clearly, the idea that a) other children were somewhere in the vicinity playing on some hidden playground of awesome and b) they stole his cart to get there, proves to be too much to continue listening. We end up going in and out of the store THREE TIMES before our sanity, also known as a small cart, is returned.

Psst, Whole Foods! You needs an iPhone app that tells parents (me) if the carts are available because this week, I was in full-on panic that there would be an E with no cart.

Clearly, all that panicked praying pays off because the cart is there and off we go (and that’s how God totally works). But Scott has to pee (actually that’s not true but I’m trying to preserve his dignity) so of course, E has to pee. Which leaves me, my sixteen month old, and two extraordinarily different-sized carts.

After hopping through the produce aisle while pushing the big cart with my hands and E’s cart with my foot and also swerving around rich hippies, I have the brilliant idea of letting my DAUGHTER push the little cart.

She is PSYCHED and although has no driving skills whatsoever (I blame Scott) she is a better driver than my left foot. Until we mistakenly stop by the hummus. I don’t know if I ate a lot while pregnant or it’s some sort of guerilla mission to rid Whole Foods of blended chickpeas but she would NOT stop.

toddler daughter putting tons of hummus into small grocery cart
N hoards hummus. Don't tell A&E.

I begin encouraging fellow shoppers to look in N’s cart when they couldn’t find a particular flavor. Or any flavor. The hummus-lovers are not pleased.

Of course, when E spies his little sister driving HIS CART, I have to put my hostage negotiations skills into play. And we’ve already seen how good I was with the hummus.

So using magic fairy dust (Whole Foods has EVERYTHING), I convince E that we weren’t trying to steal his cart while simultaneously convince N that riding in MY CART is more fun than pushing E’s.

Oh and E frees the hummus. Even the one I wanted to buy.

We continue on for the next twenty minutes. Mowing down yuppies. Trying to sneak hummus into our cart. Being unable to find non-spelt bagels.

Exhausted from having to pretend that acai berry REALLY DOES everything pomegranates, lingonberries, and blueberries promised (seriously, we got the right fruit this time), I turn to Scott and say: I’m done. Let’s go home.

Scott: Do we have any food for dinners this week?

Me: Do we have McDonalds and IHOP?

And with that, the entire store gets quiet and the Whole Foods police escort us out.

Alex Iwashyna

Alex Iwashyna went from a B.A. in philosophy to an M.D. to a SAHM, poet and writer by 30. She spends most of her writing time on, a humor blog (except when it's serious) about her husband fighting zombies, awkward attempts at friendship, and dancing like everyone is watching. She also has a soft spot for culture, politics, and rude Southern people who offend her Yankee sensibilities. She parents 2 elementary-aged children, 1 foster baby, 3 cats, and 1 puppy, who are all Southern but not rude. Yet.

40 thoughts to “Whole Foods: Your Little Carts May Have Won Over My Son But You Won’t Win Me Until You Get Some Decent Bagels”

  1. My kids love those carts, but I have to say that I hate them. It makes grocery shopping last 4 times as long, and I’m constantly telling them to stop just before they run over some old lady’s feet. But I cannot deny them the thrill of the mini carts.

    1. I am the “old lady” whose feet your kids are running over, and I can assure you that I hate those little carts even more than you do.

  2. Haha! I always feel like that if I mention anything about anything NOT organic in Whole Foods… haha LOVE the cart of hummus. That was determination!

  3. I laughed out loud at the acai statement. Those little carts are even worse than the huge car carts at other not-so-crunchy grocery stores. Cart crashes waiting to happen.
    Isn’t smelt like the weird fish eggs that come on sushi? Do you mean spelt?

  4. LITTLE CARTS!!! I’m so jealous. Fresh and Easy has no Little Carts. Still flush from her victory to get me to stop smoking, the daughter has shifted her campaign to my waistline and “Eating Healthy”. Apparently there are nutrition Nazis at her school who encourage her. Fresh and Pricey does have “Hybrid Parking Spots”. However I boycott the store because the Hybrid spots are closer than the handicapped ones. I think they have Preggo spots too. But no Little Carts……damn.

    Your littlest shopper is cute as a bug.

  5. Oh, yes. When we go to “that far far away grocery store with the shopping carts?”, it is definitely expected that we get one. And if they are all out, tears have been known to happen.

    Woe to the day Whole Foods is out of carts and Trader Joe’s stops dispensing free samples and lollipops. Getting rid of the balloons was hard enough on her (though I was quite happy about it). Who needs play areas when you have grocery stores?

  6. haha You pray FOR carts, I pray there AREN’T any carts because it makes shopping like a million times harder. There is no reasoning with a 2 1/2 y/o and anything within her reach is fair game. If there aren’t any carts I can convince KG to ride in the “big” part of the adult grocery cart (yeah I know, not safe, whatever – sanity totally over rules safety sometimes, ok, not when car seats are involved or sharp objects or ok moving on…). We’ll have to coordinate our shopping trips to Whole Paycheck so E can have the “last” grocery cart forcing KG to be satisfied with the adult cart and maybe one of their yummy cookies. Mmmmmm cookies!

  7. Uttering the word McDonalds (or Trader Joes for that matter) will earn you a citizens arrest there. In my new town I was trying to ascertain how the recycling is supposed to be sorted. A woman actually said, “I suppose if you want to be a really bad person you don’t have to recycle your cardboard.”. A REALLY bad person? I had reserved that label for the likes of Joran Van Der Sloot or Anne Coulter. Whole Foodies are a little different.

  8. I remember those days, shopping with little ones. Always an exercise in the fine line between hilarity and depression.

    Now if I take them to the store, we have a blast. Not that I can get them to come with me often. But they are really good at unloading the trunk. I figure that’s something.

  9. I thought I was the only one on the planet that called WholeFoods “Whole Paychecks” so thanks for busting that bubble. We are past the little carts phase and I feel that I earned it. I did that mess and nearly lost my sanity while doing it. For the older kids…it’s those freakin’ donation coins that they fight over, because the thrill of dropping them in that box is beyond words. So just imagine that instead of them being out of carts, NOW you realize your shopping bags are by the front door in the foyer and you will not earn a single donation coin… the meltdown and discussion about WHY we’re not using our bags and how wasteful it is …blah blah blah by your overachieving 10 year old will put you in the same state as the cart thing. I would appreciate an iphone app that reminds me to get those dang bags by the door.

  10. Brilliant! Loved today’s post. Even without little carts (mine are dedicated car-cart-ers), grocery shopping with children makes me want to stab my eyes out with blunt butter knives. It would be way more fun than trying to convince my oldest one she does not need sample number 8000 of honey ham while keeping my littlest one from eating the toothpicks the honey ham came on….

  11. OMG hilarious post! I love the picture too! Hummus does rule so I understand the hoarding. And I can only imagine the panic for E when N had his cart full of hummus! Just think soon you’ll need two tiny carts. You may just need to buy one!

  12. Omg, I am so mad at myself for not visiting more often! This was hilarious and cause me to laugh out loud very suddenly, and at the same time knock the cup of coffee off the edge of my desk. The picture of the cart and the hummus was priceless! WE LOVE HUMMUS. As a matter of fact, the Accordion Man asked me just the other day (while sitting in a Turkish restaurant which he insists on calling Spanish) what the main ingredient in hummus IS. I told him chickpeas. He asked what other foods contained chickpeas. I said “minestrone.” His eyes widened, and he replied, “Wait a minute, doesn’t minestrone have CHICKPEAS?” Welcome to my world. molly

  13. I don’t mind the little carts so much. But I grab any excuse possible to keep from having to push the over-sized grocery cart disguised as a fire-engine. My children used to insist on riding in one of these bemoths, but then 10 minutes into the shopping they’d abandon it and I’d be left wrangling both children and fire-engine through the aisles.

  14. And you have described why I grocery shop at 10 pm on a Sunday. No hubby, no baby. I do think DD would like the little cart though. I imagine she would hoard something less healthy like organic cheese.

  15. Our stores don’t have mini carts. I was jealous at first, but not really. One store does have a fancy car cart with a tv inside. It bothers me almost as much as our gas station with tvs built into the pumps.
    The hummus is hilarious.

  16. Those small carts were created by the devil. The same devil who created the infamous “car cart”. I just love how the store stocks these carts and then act shocked at what a public menace they are. Did you really not KNOW what a hazard they pose to your customers’ shins? But then again, what kind of logic do I expect from people who stock too few options for bread and a plethora of flavors of dirty salt?

    1. The ankles, I find, are really the part that needs the most protecting. A little shin bruising is nothing compared to a cart nipping (or more likely, smashing into) your Achilles’ heel.

  17. I laughed so hard I had to read it again. Seriously. And I stopped and just laughed some more at the photo. My 18 mo would do EXACTLY the same thing. We eat hummus (or rather he eats hummus) by the spoonful around here.

  18. Ahh, I love this story. And I love iHOP. Whole Foods, not so much. Partially because it’s a 3 hours drive away. Mostly because I don’t want to take out a loan each time I have to grocery shop.

    My kiddo hasn’t realized that HE can push those little carts yet. He’s still happy enough riding in the cart. Grabbing items when I’m not looking.

  19. Our whole foods sells dry bread and rock hard bagels. And every time I go there they have stopped carrying a good product. And yet, like you, I am forced to go there for items I cannot find anywhere else. Sigh. Oh, and mine does not have kiddie carts. WTF?

  20. Alex! This was hysterical! I love the whole story, and the photo just tops it off. How cute is that!?

    Kudos to you for bringing the entire family to the grocery store! I can’t handle it. And I hate the little carts AND the car-carts. Luckily mine are pretty much too big for both now. But they still drive me crazy at the grocery store! Thanks for the laugh! 😀

  21. Your daughter’s smart about her food at least. Could’ve been worse. Could’ve been cans and cans of cat food.

    I must be blind. I’ve never seen those carts in WF. Or maybe we’re just not cool enough for them. Or Midwestern babies are just born REALLY tall and hence do not need them? I’m going there soon – perfect time for me to look for these carts. And I apologize in advance to all those who get in my daughter’s way….

  22. Trader Joe’s has these little carts, too. My son has thrown MAJOR tantrums when they’re all being used. It’s not fun.

    I feel the same way about hummus as N. I can’t get enough of it!

  23. We have no little carts around here, so Jack’s constant dream is go to to Home Depot, where they have GIGANTIC carts with steering wheels. Because they don’t use gas, I will call them parent guzzlers. Those big car-carts are about as easy to maneuver as a dolly carrying a refrigerator.

  24. The fight between the kids and the cart and trying to “explain” that one is not stealing it from the other… that is so my world.
    (and that photo just cracks me up!)

  25. Our Whole Foods doesn’t have little carts! Which is probably better for me because Luke would be a demon behind the wheel of his own little cart.

    The picture of your daughter with the hummus is PRICELESS. I love that and i’m going to keep going back to it when I need a smile. Maybe she thinks they are play doh? 🙂

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