I Am a Stranger and I Might Just Discipline Your Child

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I was in the grocery store to complete the weekly mini jaunt for provisions for our cleaner eating household. After rounding up the required berries, veggies, beans and other items it was time to head to the dairy aisle. In this store, dairy is the very last aisle in the store. Why is dairy always the last aisle in the store?

This arrangement I recognized, was likely by design as a form of retail sales manipulation to extract maximum profit from each shopper. The quasi-science, known to some as store planning or, planograms, attempts to layout the store with the objective to put as many “good deals” between you and what’s on your list. The goal of this is to prompt you to buy a little more and fill the grocery store’s coffers in the process.  Ever wise to this manipulation, we almost always go in with a list and stick to it. The more you vary from it, the more the retailer (generally) profits.

Having circumnavigated the store in my quest to reach dairy nirvana, I navigated down the aisle. It was lined with cheeses, milk, yogurt, cream, eggs and other assorted items. Many of the diary items were neatly arranged on well lit shelves with large, clear refrigerator doors in front. This store is fairly familiar to me so, I made quick work of picking out the required items. Half in my self absorbed haze, I began the walk to the front and the cash registers (or, as some call them point-of-sale).

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What does any of this have to do with disciplining your child? So glad you asked, I was just getting to that part…

I selected the Express Lane as I had less than the required number of items and this is when it happened.
The woman in front of me, disheveled, with too clingy jogging outfit and mousy looking hair was clearly focused on what was happening at the cash register. She obviously had not a care for what her little boy seated in the cart was doing. The boy was precariously reaching as far as he could towards the candy rack (without the seat belt), just out of his reach. As he began to grab, he turned to look at me and smiled. Maybe for approval? But, that wasn’t happening. Nope, no way. I returned his smile with my stern, disapproving one. He smiled in return. But, I didn’t waver. That trick might go over on your mother but, I am long ago wise to that game. He continued to reach for some sugary treat just out of his reach. Sensing imminent danger, I spoke to him directly, “Is that yours?” And with that, the mom turned around fast. “No, that’s not ours sweetie. Especially not after getting hopped up on sugar last night by one of daddy’s well intended friends and not going to sleep till way after your bedtime.”

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This wasn’t the first time that I have intervened or, otherwise disciplined a child. If we are in a group and I am chaperoning your child you can expect me to set and enforce expectations. And this may spill over to birthday parties, classroom parties or, another gathering. Whether parents are there or, not if you are hitting another child or, generally not acting like a good citizen… you can expect me to deal with it. Don’t like it? I don’t like an unruly, bratty kid wrecking things for other kids.

What do you do when you see a child act out in public with no active supervision? Let me know in the comments below.


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