When Snacks Go Wrong

Where there’s a will, there’s always someone sneakily grabbing the powdery doughnut holes

By Renee Phile

Even though my boys are 13 and 8, most of the time I go grocery shopping without them, because, well, it’s just less stressful that way.  However, if they do go with me, I make sure to fill them up with snacks before we reach the store, which usually means rummaging under the seats of the car to see if there are any old granola bars or maybe some peanuts or dried bananas leftover from some trail mix. If they don’t have something to eat before grocery shopping, we become the owners of aisle 5.

When they were younger, a mysterious transformation would happen as soon as they crossed the threshold of the automatic doors.  In those short steps, they would become whiny, irrational, obnoxious little beings. 

Sometimes random items would appear in my cart. Organic blueberry Pop Tarts? (Where did these come from? We get the regular kind.) Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups? (Once these entered the cart, I couldn’t put them back on the shelf because of my own addiction.) Depends?  (Not yet.) My boys thought they were funny. The conveyor belt was one embarrassment after another. “Oh, we didn’t need this, nor this, how the hell did this get in here? I’m so sorry . . . ”

If we went to a store where there were, God forbid, samples, my kids would tear off in opposite directions and fill up on turkey, cheese, cookies, whatever, as though they hadn’t eaten in days. 

I found myself saying the following over and over on any given grocery store trip:

“Stop touching the cereal boxes.”

“Get out from under the coffee display!”

“OMG!  Get OUT of the freezer!”

“Stop dancing!”

“Watch where you’re going!”

“No, you cannot open the string cheese right now.”

Anyway, today they are old enough to behave themselves in the grocery store.

Or so I thought.

Though I’d already been to the store, I had forgotten the bread, the eggs, the Cinnamon Toast Crunch, the Cheetos, all the staples. So, after I picked up the boys from school, I said, “We’re gonna run in Food Lion real quick. You can stay in the car if you want.” No, they both wanted to go in with me. “We’re gonna be quick,” I said at least nine times. As we walked through the produce aisle, I tossed some oranges into the cart. As I turned my back to examine an avocado, I saw David sauntering off texting and Kevin wandering the other way.

They’d already struck. I peered into the cart and noticed some peculiar items. Cheese puffs. White powdery doughnut holes. An entire coffee cake. How mysterious. I took the foreign items out of my cart and placed them on a shelf, not where they go. Sorry, Food Lion.

“Wait!” Kevin exclaimed, appearing from . . . somewhere. “Those are my snacks for school!”

“No, they aren’t. I already got snacks.”

“But I want these snacks!”


“Why not?”

I heard my mother’s voice, “Because I said so.”

David, at this point, reappeared in time to chime in, “Because Mommy says so, Kevin.”

With no warning whatsoever, Kevin flung himself on the floor, right in between the pickles and the salad dressing, sprawling across the entire aisle.

“Get up, Kevin,” I said.

He didn’t move. 

“I can’t. I’m so mad.”

I was simply not sure what to do. People were starting to watch us, and my face felt hot. I breathed, like I had learned in yoga class. Then I thought, fine. I did the only thing I knew to do. I walked away, down the aisle, through the dressings and ketchup and mustard. David looked at me, puzzled. No one was going to kidnap Kevin. They would return him faster than week-old meat.

“Aren’t we gonna get Kevin?”

“He’s fine.”

We strolled through the aisles. I suddenly needed more items than I initially thought. Funny how that happens.

A few aisles later, Kevin, scowling, arms crossed, shuffled up behind us.

“Hi Kevin!” David said cheerily, to annoy.

Kevin glared at David.

We maneuvered down the aisles, picked up the eggs, the Cinnamon Toast Crunch.

“I’m sorry,” Kevin mumbled to me.

“What are you sorry for?”

“For my attitude. But I really wanted a snack for school.”

“I forgive you.”

“Then do we have to talk about it?” he sighed.


I dropped some yogurt into the cart.

“OK, both of you go grab one snack each for your lunches this week.”

“Oh yes!” Kevin exclaimed and dashed down the chip aisle, David close behind him.

Kevin grabbed Cheetos and David, Cool Ranch Doritos.

I was so incredibly done. And no one had even climbed into the freezer.  PS

Renee Phile  loves being a mom, even if it doesn’t show at certain moments.

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