Show Carts

While parents shop at Meijer, cartoon screens keep kids distracted — but some adults aren’t too amused


 Grocery shopping is easier for harried parents when their young children don’t beg for constant attention. At least that’s the idea behind Meijer’s video-equipped shopping carts. In addition to holding milk, Kix, and kids, the carts carry screens that play a video loop of popular TV shows.

“They’re trying to entertain kids to extend the shopping period — keeping moms in stores longer so, of course, they buy more,” says Jeff Hershey, president of Jeff Hershey Consulting, a retail market-research company. “I think it’s a combination with trying to differentiate yourself between other players in the market.”

Stacie Behler, a spokeswoman for Grand Rapids-based Meijer, says the company has gotten only positive feedback since its trial run at an Indianapolis store last year. The program has since expanded to 80 stores, many in southeast Michigan; each store has as many as five cartoon carts.

“It provides an opportunity for busy moms and dads to shop while kids are watching Bob the Builder or Dora the Explorer or The Wiggles,” Behler says. “It’s a program that gets our customers a little more relaxed while shopping.”

The videos show no ads. However, the ubiquity of electronic distractions for kids should be met with concern, says Eric Herman, a clinical psychologist at Children’s Hospital of Michigan in Detroit. 

“[Shopping with small children] is a difficult situation for parents, but for kids to be healthy, parents have to actively work that out,” he says. “This is how kids learn, not by being super-distracted and avoiding the situation. If the kids are busy with the video and are quiet, that doesn’t mean they’re well behaved. It doesn’t mean anything other than they’re distracted.” 

Herman says shopping has traditionally been a time for learning. You learned, for example, “what mom was buying, how to take ‘no’ for an answer, about coupons and money,” he says. “If they’re not interacting, how are they learning?”

The same may go for family vacations in screen-equipped vehicles. The sightseeing part is questionable. But, like quality tires and air conditioning, video screens do make for a quieter ride.
Edit Module
Edit Module Edit ModuleShow Tags

Archive »Related Content

Wall to Wall Art

Park West Gallery and Dearborn's The Henry team up to decorate a 'boutique' hotel

The Art of Renovation: The Reopening of the Cranbrook Art Museum

After two years and $22 million in renovations, the CAM reopens.

Tashmoo Park and the Steamer Tashmoo

Cybelle Codish Takes Her Stills of Native Americans to the Smithsonian

When the Detroit-based freelance photographer was asked by a friend to shoot stills for a documentary being made on Native-American traditions in New Mexico, Codish saw it as an opportunity to see culture through a different lens.

By the Numbers

Fast facts about some of Michigan’s most iconic brands.
Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Most Popular

  1. An Animated Life
    As Rob Paulsen prepares to publish his memoir, the Hollywood veteran and voice behind some of the...
  2. An Hour With ... Teddy Dorsette III
    President, Detroit Black Deaf Advocates
  3. State of the Arts
  4. Gold Standard
    Tucked into an industrial strip in Ann Arbor, a new restaurant offers French fare
  5. A New Noodle Shop on the Block
    Midtown Detroit welcomes Urban Ramen
  6. Drink Beer, Do Good
    Local breweries and pubs jump on the charity bandwagon
  7. Business Class
    Trim suits, creative layers, and crisp white shirts - Fall's wardrobe essentials are fitting for...
  8. In Tune
    Influenced by its storied past, Willis Show Bar sets the tone for a nostalgic sound
  9. Recipe: Roast Boneless Pork Loin With Tart Cherry Chutney
    Executive chef at Ford’s Garage, Darin Thompson’s boneless pork loin marvel
  10. 13th Annual Best of Detroit Party
    On June 29, Hour Detroit brought the Best of Detroit issue to life at the 13th annual Best of...