Now Mom Shops Alone

Some of my happiest childhood memories involve a supermarket shopping cart and my mother (who has just turned 80). When I was still small enough, she'd place me in the shopping cart, roll me around the aisles, and occasionally give in to my pleading for animal crackers, though her own cookies were the best. When I got too big to sit in the steel cart, I started pushing it for her. That early consumer experience is about to change with the advent of the TV Kart. It's a colorful object that resembles a car equipped with a color liquid crystal display showing Barney and the Wiggles. The TV Kart is already deployed in 17 supermarket chains in the manufacturer's native New Zealand as well as in Australia and the United States. Within the U.S. it's hit 175 Meijer stores in Ohio, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky and Michigan. And it's about to roll into Wal-Marts in three states, according to National Public Radio. There is an upside here. If kids are distracted by TV, they might be less likely to beg for snacks loaded with sugar and toxic oils. The downside, as a disturbingly ecstatic mother told NPR: "Now Mom shops alone."