Mom Petitions Stores: Sell Health Food and Kids' Lit at Check Out, Not Junk Food and Tabloids

Is this mom doing the right thing or dodging parental responsibility with her plea to grocery stores about what they sell at the register?
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Hey, guess when I don't want to have to explain sex to my 8-year-old? Well, never. But specifically not when she sees the word plastered all over half a dozen magazine covers while we are checking out at our local grocery store.

I also rarely feel like giving in when my kids beg for M&Ms and Skittles—which are always conveniently displayed right at their eye level—as I race to bag milk, yogurt, and fabric softener before they wear me down.

Well now, in a potential bid to help all parents, a Michigan mom is appealing to her local grocery store to stop selling provocative tabloids and junk food near their registers.

Jane Kramer, a mom of a 13-year-old son she adopted when he was 5, created a petition on Change.org asking Meijer (which has stores in Michigan, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Wisconsin, and Kentucky) to switch out Twizzlers for health foods and gossip rags for kids' literature.

"I'm asking Meijer to put customer health first by removing junk food from its checkout aisles," Kramer wrote in the petition, adding, "Retailers know we spend a lot of time at checkout and they are counting on us to buy impulsively." She goes on to site the national childhood obesity epidemic as a reason the grocery chain should seriously consider her idea.

"As a mother, I'm also concerned that checkout aisles are flooded with tabloids and magazines obsessed with body image, gossip, and adult-themed topics – placed directly at the eye level of children," Kramer continues in the petition, which already had more than 750 supporters at the time of writing.

Of course, her petition has not been met with total support. As she explained to ABC News, "People say, 'Well, just go somewhere else.' Well, I could, but I don't want to. I get a lot of people saying, 'Just say no to your child.' It's not about being a bad parent and not about saying 'no' to your child. I think healthy food should be the standard at checkout so that we have to work harder to eat junk food. [R]ight now, it's too easy."

Kramer's critics have a point, as I too have to admit it is incumbent upon parents to, well, parent. I may want to buy the darn Skittles just so my kids won't bug me anymore but that's not sending them the right message. Similarly, I may want to dodge their questions about things they read on magazine covers but then again, it's not as if I can shield them in every single situation from adult topics they may see and hear online or on TV. That being said, it's not as if it's a bad thing to offer healthy foods and more wholesome reading options in a grocery store!

Kramer's ultimate hope is that if Meijer changes its check-out lane offerings, other stores will follow suit.

What's your take?

Melissa Willets is a writer/blogger and a mom. Find her on Facebook where she chronicles her life momming under the influence. Of coffee.

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