An Open Letter to Parents Shopping with their Kids

Posted by on December 21, 2006

Dear Moms & Dads Out Shopping with Your Kids,

I know that sometimes it seems like a good idea to have your three and four year olds out shopping with you after 10pm at night because… Well, I don’t KNOW why this would seem like a good idea to you but judging by the sheer number of families doing it this holiday season, you clearly feel that it is.

It’s not that I minded the incessant whining and crying and hyperactivity of your little ones everywhere I went in my local Target. Kids will be kids. I have two of my own so I totally get it. What I DID mind was having to listen repeatedly to an assortment of parents yelling at their kids and doling out one empty threat after another to them.

Let’s get real here, people. At 10:30pm, your small children should be no place except in bed. If they are whining, it’s because they’re TIRED. If they’re losing their shit over every little thing, it’s because they’re EXHAUSTED. If they’re running around like you just shot ‘em full of meth, it’s because they’re OVERTIRED. You’ve been parents for what looks to be 3-4 years now. How is it that you don’t know this by now and what in holy hell makes you think that yelling your fool heads off at them is going to change anything?

Honestly, you sound like a bunch of assholes hollering at your kids and threatening to “take all their presents away” if they don’t start “acting right.” If anything was going to work, it would be that particular threat but when you’ve already said it ten times to a kid so tired she looks drunk, the odds are not in your favor.

And before you try to tell me that you had to bring them because you don’t have a sitter, I’d like to point out your significant other, who appears to be perfectly capable of staying home with the kids while you go shopping. You could even alternate a few times so you each have a chance to shop.

The bottom line here is that no matter how frustrated you are or how hard a day you’ve had, you can’t take it out on your kids. It isn’t their fault that you kept them out so late and frankly, you’re really crapping all over the holidays for your children, as well as everyone who has had to listen to you.

Give it up and take your kids home already.

Testy in Tampa


  • Melanie says:

    ::stands and applauds::
    BRAVO!!! And AMEN!!!!
    I couldn’t possibly add a single word to what you just said. That is it, right there.

  • Karen Rani says:

    I have never once brought my kids Christmas shopping. WHY would I want to put myself through that? In fact, I try to spend as little time with them as possible anyway.


    Seriously – the Wal-marts here are overrun with the same problem. That and really pissy old people. Thank God I bought nearly everything over eBay, starting back in the summer.

  • jen says:

    i hate, hate, hate it when parents punish their children for reacting completely normally to being subjected to crappy conditions. it’s confusing and weird and so not fair to the little ones.

    sad, sad, sad.

  • dennis says:

    yeah, what she said!

  • Heather says:

    Eek I get cranky past 10:00, let alone little ones. Again left scratching my head.

  • I’m with Heather. Past 10, only something really great keeps me out. Shopping, no matter how good, is not really great.

  • What is even open past 10:00? My kids are passed out at 8:00.

  • RWA says:

    Amen to that. Kids out shopping at all hours – and parents getting pissed off when they’re whining and dragging around.

    I want to say, “Hey, can’t you see your kid is exhausted? Stop wandering Wal-Mart and TAKE YOUR KID HOME TO BED.”

  • J. says:

    Standing up and applauding, Izzy.
    Seriously, I’ve never seen more idiotic parents than I have this week. I actually stared down one crackpot mom in the walmart this week after she finished wailing like a banshee at her kid. All I could think was OMG if she acts like this in PUBLIC, how does she treat that kid at home.
    There outta be some sort of test, I swear.

  • Rob says:


    You’re absolutely right. Those folk that do this kind of thing should be shown the effects that this kind of child abuse is going to have on their kids in years to come.

  • tori says:

    I totally agree!

  • Jeff says:

    Whoa. Nice stuff. I am with you…that is why my wife and I put our girl to bed, set the alarm and head out to shop. How many miles can we go with that baby monitor?

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  • Good grief! Those poor kids.

    Not only is it nice to shop by yourself, it’s necessary sometimes, especially if the only time you have is that late at night.

  • Amen. Brutal. Yelling at kids gets me riled up any time, but at 10:30? Hello, ass.

  • an-gee-la says:

    Thank God! My sentiments exactly. I especially love it when the kid is about to pass out in the cart. Their head goes from one side to the other and then, finally back into that oh so comfortable metal mesh. It bobbles there until they wake up again.
    Go home! Put that child to bed already! Damn!

  • Jenny says:

    I’m printing this out and taping it to all the doors at Target.

  • Elizabeth says:

    HA! I was going to comment that this should be printed out and posted on the doors to Target, but Jenny beat me to it! On the very rare occasion that I am out shopping past 10:00 and I see a parent with exhausted kids, I like to sidle up to them and say “boy, it’s late, your poor son/daughter must be so tired, huh?”

  • tiggerprr says:

    Sooooooo true! Between those parents and the ones who think that the store is a daycare and just let kids run free (I’m talking 5-7 year olds, unattended!), I am not sure who’s worse. Though, they could be the same parents.

    You need a license to drive, but not to procreate…scary huh?

  • shoppergirl says:

    Amen sister. Sometimes I feel like shaking kids. I should really be shaking their parents. :)

  • Mom101 says:

    I hate hearing parents speaking badly to their kids for any reason. The empty threats are beyond stupid. But sometimes I wonder whether those parents are single, whether they don’t have childcare, whether they have a partner who works nights – maybe they have no choice but to do their shopping when they get off work at 9pm and drag the kids along. Or at least I can only hope so. Otherwise, the stupidity is just too much to bear.

  • Arp says:

    kinda makes you wonder if it’s just bark or whether the kids have worse things to deal with when they go home. i don’t understand parents doing stoopid things like this or taking a 3 month old to a movie. they should’ve just shopped online or left everyone at home.

  • Izzy says:

    Believe me, under different circumstances I would have considered that but in this case, they were all two parent families with BOTH parents bitching at their kids. There just isn\’t any excuse for keeping kids out until they are about to collapse and then yelling at them when they can\’t hold it together. It was a real holiday buzzkill.

  • I’m afraid to take the 3 kids shopping at normal hour b/c I know they don’t like to shop with me, and who would blame them, they’re only kids!! What are these parents thinking of!!

    Anyway, have a great Xmas Izzy and a happy and healthy New Year!!

  • Jenifer says:

    You go girl!

    My husband is one of those people who tends to not take into account the time when he plans things. I often have to remind him when he wants to levae to go somewhere like 1/2 hour before our daughters bedtime what time we will actually be home and how she will most likely behave. “Oh yeah.” is ususally what I get in response. Even at home, my daughter rarely naos and around 6:30pm when she starts to cry over EVERYTHING I know it’s time to high tail it to bed. I also find the more tired she is the more she tries to fight going to bed, and the quicker she falls asleep.

  • mamatulip says:


    This reminds me of the time I overheard a mother screaming at her 8-year-old son for not “watching” her two-year-old son close enough while she was bra shopping. The younger boy had run off and the entire store shut down while employees looked for the little boy, and while the mother stood in the Intimates department and alternated between screaming her two-year-old’s name and screaming at her 8-year-old for “losing his brother”.


  • Mr. Fabulous says:

    If it were me, I would just stuff some bills in their jumper and dump them off at the bus station.

    But that’s me.

  • MOtherPie says:

    REminding children that Santa will ask if they’ve been good is a reminder to mind p’s and q’s in a time when all the holiday frenzy and sugar overload — nothing parents can control in many cases — becomes overwhelming.

    Still laughing about your zip coded tata post.

  • mamadaisy says:

    HA! you totally rock.

  • Christina says:

    Amen! I don’t care how late you are with your holiday shopping, forcing kids out late is just wrong. I’m not even attending some holiday parties because they are starting late, and even though they’re child-friendly, I don’t want to keep my daughter up that late. She’s in bed normally by 8pm at the latest, and I try to always keep that constant.

    People, either find someone else to watch your kids, or shop earlier in the day. Or, you know, plan ahead for once.

  • Mocha says:

    That right there is how I get into trouble when I’m out and about. I’ve been known to speak my mind to these parents. Kennimus is sure that one day I’ll be stabbed or shot by these people, but honestly? I have to deal with these kids who’ve turned into brats because of their idiotic parents.

  • kittenpie says:

    Oh god yes. I hate seeing kids out late at night when they should be in bed. This is why I’ve been taking Pumpkinpie to daycare even though I’ve been off his week – so I can do all my Christmas stuff without dragging her around. I keep wondering if that is a bad parent thing to do, but she stays home with me for a few hours in the morning and gets to go in late, then I get to do what I need to do. I think it’s best all around to not take kids on major shopping trips in the season if you can at all avoid it.

  • piglet says:

    Amen sista! I’ve noticed the same thing and wondered the same. I think it’s pure torture when parents keep their kids up too late. I have likened it to almost child abuse. If we don’t teach them to rest when tired, how will they learn? Then, they’ll be as crazy as we are.

  • carmen says:

    Oh, man, Izzy, you really nailed it this time! I was telling The Hubster this last night, as we slid our way through the teeming masses of humanity at Wal-Hell last night, long about 11 p.m.

  • Diana says:

    UGH! I’m loathe to admit I’m progressively becoming more and more one of those people who hate kids in public. It’s not the kids, it’s the parents. The parents who have zero control and even less common sense. Besides, I don’t care if it’s noon, if you’re hollering at your kids – it’s bad enough when done at home, but in public no less – you sound like an asshole!

    AMEN, Izzy!

  • Lady M says:

    Merry Christmas! And thanks for the Amazon rebate lead.

  • Gidge says:

    Yeah, see I was one of those parents, except that I had one kid with his head down on my arm on the cart, and the other two fussing and fighting and “touching each other.” I, however, in my four years of expertise, knew that it was overtiredness, and I think the most I tossed out there was a bunch of “hush now, let’s be polite there are other people around”……since it was a losing battle.

    People are amazing.

    Thanks for the discount tips. ROCK!

  • wordgirl says:

    Thank you for saying what needed to be said.

  • Beth says:

    You are so right. My kids always get to bed early even during the holidays because if not, they turn into monsters the next day.
    Oh, that everyone would heed your very, very wise advice.
    Thank you.

  • Amy says:

    First, I just wanted to congratulate you on getting into 9Rules! Second, your blog rocks and I have been sitting here laughing my butt off because you are so freakin’ funny! Very good stuff!

  • [...] Izzy at IzzyMom lays into parents who take their small kids out shopping after 10pm. By her observation, a disturbing number of moms and dads think it’s hunky-dory to cart their wee ones around until they melt down in a wail of exhausted tears – or, even worse, get them so tired that they cross the line into hyperactivity. As Izzy decrees:If they’re running around like you just shot ‘em full of meth, it’s because they’re OVERTIRED. You’ve been parents for what looks to be 3-4 years now. How is it that you don’t know this by now and what in holy hell makes you think that yelling your fool heads off at them is going to change anything?As The Blogfather would say: “Indeed.” In my experience, the vast majority of child misbehavior in public is due to idiot parents who want to stick to their preconceived schedules, their children be damned. Please, parents of Strollerderby: don’t be that idiot. Every village may need one, but that doesn’t mean you have to volunteer. [...]

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