I originally wrote this after a particularly…um…eventful trip to the grocery store when I only had two children. I’ve updated it now that I have three and thought you might enjoy my chaos.
They should create a new season of Survivor called Survivor: Suburbia. Here’s how I imagine it would work.
It would only last 7 hours, from 6:00am when the participant is rudely awakened by a small body propelling itself onto theirs while yelling in an attempted whisper, “Mommy!!! Are yooouuu awwwaaaaakeee?!!!!”, to 1:00pm when the reward isn’t a million dollars, but rather a 2.5 hour nap.
A glorious, “I-would-lose-my-mind-if-my-kids-didn’t-take-a-2.5-hour-nap” nap.
The Grocery Store With Children Challenge
One of the challenges would be called The Grocery Store with Children challenge. The participants must shop for a list of 120 items arbitrarily written on a milk stained piece of scratch paper.
And an additional 30 items that must be remembered, but not written down.
To prevent any harm to real children, participants are required to carry a slippery octupus (to simulate an infant), a deaf monkey, the howling kind (to simulate a toddler – who is apparently deaf to all parental commands), and a repetitive, inquisitive parrot who incessantly asks questions. Incessantly. With the questions. Repetitively. A lot. With the questions. Repetitively. (To represent a school age child).
They have to be carried and herded in from the back of the store parking lot because a car full of teenagers will take the only close up parking spot. The participant will have to carry 50 pounds of offspring and pull the remaining child by hand through an obstacle course of flying shopping carts and whizzing cars. Halfway to the store, it will begin to rain, and the participant will be required to return to the car for the green bags and sippy cups.
Selecting A Cart
- Option #1: Fun Car Cart – far too small to hold all 150 items needed from store, but may keep slippery octupus, howling, deaf monkey, and inquisitive parrot calm and relatively quiet while shopping.
- Option #2: Limo Cart – It has a seat area on the front for two of the children (or in this case – primates, invertebrae or fowl), and it will hold all items needed on list. However, this cart is difficult to maneuver as it is about 47.3 feet long.
- Option #3: Standard Cart – This cart offers a large basket as well as straps to help confine the participant’s monkey, parrot, and octupus, but said passengers, will be located in close proximity to the participant. Participant may be subject to physical protests from passengers in the event that passengers select an item from the store that is not on the list and must be returned to the shelf. Participant may be pecked, kicked, hit or sprayed with ink.
The Chaos Begins
Once the cart has been selected, the participant will begin shopping, at which point, the slippery octupus will extend all appendages, continually grab unwanted items, put them in the basket and knock everything else off the shelves.
Meanwhile the deaf, howling monkey will begin howling at 120 decibels. The inquisitive parrot will identify all sugar based food products and request that they be added to the list. Pleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeease? ‘Cuz you neeeever get them. Pleeeeeeeeeeease? Can we? Pleeeeeease?
Participant must be able to make wise financial and dietary purchases while attempting to contain the octupus, trying to minimize the sound level of the monkey, and explain to the inquisitive parrot – fiscal responsibility as it related to nutrition.
A smile and happy voice must be maintained through out the challenge.
Each participant is given three treats to use to alleviate the mischief of their animal passengers. Timing the use of these treats is crucial. Too early, and the participant is left without a bargaining chip. Too late and the “children’ may be past the point of appeasement. When the participant determines that the time is right, she pulls out a squid, banana and crackers to give to the appropriate animal.
Since all reality shows have a disgusting element and few children finish all of their snacks, both the octupus and howling, deaf monkey will return one third of their respective snacks for the participant to either:
- Carry for the remainder of the challenge.
- Or stuff in their pockets.
The Gauntlet of Fire
Finally, the participant will arrive at the checkout line – aka “The Gauntlet of Fire.” At this point, the slippery octupus will be feverishly reaching for M&M’s, Butterfingers, Reeses Pieces while knocking beef jerky and lip balm on the floor. The participant must replace all displaced items to their respective boxes and the octupus must be removed from the cart and held by the participant. In protest, the octupus will flail its appendages and then spray ink all over the participant’s clothes.
Meanwhile, the howling monkey will be ramping up to 150 decibels and the person in front of the participant will have 5 items needing a price check.
While holding the slippery octupus and attempting to mute the howling monkey, the participant must inconspicuously divert the attention of the repetitive (and literate) parrot away from the many magazine covers and their “interesting” headlines. This is done both to avoid loud repetition of the phrases contained on aforementioned magazine covers and to ensure there are no inquiries regarding meaning.
Again, participant must maintain a smile and happy voice.
The winner of The Grocery Store with Children Challenge will be the participant who emerges from the store – sane and with three living and unharmed animals.
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