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

An Hour with ... Carmen Harlan

Broadcast journalist and founder of the Carmen Harlan Collection

God-Given Talent

A local choir sings its way to live television

The Sincere Storyteller

Broadway fans will soon learn, playwright Dominique Morisseau’s work is unapologetically Detroit

Do Good

The Greater Detroit Philanthropy Awards are back with eight new recipients

The Unsung Superhero

At the drawing board with Marvel illustrator, Jim Towe
Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Most Popular

  1. Best Dressed 2018
    Pulling back the curtain on this year’s selection of the region’s most stylish denizens
  2. Keeping Up with Sheefy McFly
    The multitalented visual artist and musician is ubiquitous in the Motor City
  3. Cocktail Recipe: Casa del Cider
  4. Designer Taste
    A quaint Ferndale shop sells exotic cheese, chocolate, and charcuterie
  5. Excellence in Care: Beaumont Health
    Hour Detroit presented Beaumont Health with an Excellence in Care Award for this extraordinary...
  6. Gathering Spot
    Eastern Market restaurant finds its groove after a rocky beginning
  7. The Way It Was
    Better Made Snack Foods, 1971
  8. Food Recipe: Barbecue Mac & Cheese
    Vast Kitchen and Bar executive chef, Jordan Gillis, upgrades the comfort staple
  9. Sanctuary for the Senses
    Castalia in Midtown offers a cocktail experience unlike any other
  10. Excellence in Care: St. Joseph Mercy Health
    Hour Detroit presented St. Joseph Mercy Health with an Excellence in Care Award for this...