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King Sooper’s ready to roll out kid-friendly grocery-cart videos

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The solution to nagging kids at the grocery store? Entertain ’em with grocery-cart videos.

King Soopers is rolling out a new line of car-shaped carts that feature animated videos to keep children occupied while Mom or Dad gets the shopping done in peace.

Relative peace, anyway. The price parents pay is a series of commercial messages broadcast from the carts on separate video screens viewable by adults.

By the end of the month, King Soopers intends to have three of the video-equipped carts at each of its 29 metro-Denver stores.

Current video offerings, which will change quarterly, include “Mickey Mouse Clubhouse,” “Handy Manny” and “Special Agent Oso.”

For grown-up cart drivers, 30-second commercial messages will play as the carts pass by selected store items.

Initial feedback from parents is positive, according to the grocery.

“Shopping with a child can be a challenge,” said King Soopers spokeswoman Kelli McGannon. “If you can keep them entertained while you make decisions on what to buy for dinner, that’s definitely a win-win solution.”

McGannon said the carts are intended to be revenue-neutral for King Soopers. An outside vendor supplies the carts, the video programming and the product advertising.

Though some parents expressed concerns about video oversaturation, shopper Erin Postlethwaite dismissed such worries.

“I used one recently,” she said. “Pretty cool, actually. Get over it, world. We are tech now. Keeps the crew calm, and the shopping gets done.”

An ironic result could be that the merchandising practice of placing kid-oriented products on lower shelves where they’re most visible to young eyes will be diminished by the distracting videos, said marketing professor Darrin Duber-Smith of Metropolitan State College of Denver.

“The kids will be distracted from the nagging effect produced by sugary products placed at kids’ level,” he said.

As for the effect on adults, shoppers beware. “There could be an annoyance factor there,” Duber-Smith said.

-By Steve Raabe

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  • comment avatar Connie Weiss February 16, 2011

    I found these in my neighborhood King Soopers a few weeks ago and I loved them. They are entertaining for the kids and so much easier to drive!

    Just ignore the ads if you aren’t interested.

  • comment avatar angry as hell February 16, 2011


  • comment avatar Amber Johnson February 16, 2011

    It’s interesting how many people are ripping on them. Last week, I helped a friend at Costco try to shop while juggling her three kids under age 4. Would she have DIED to have something like these carts? You betcha.

    Sure, our kids are often over-stimulated but it’s a parent’s choice. When my kids were younger I definitely would have used them and my shopping experiences might have been more enjoyable. While the video may be a nuisance to surrounding shoppers, I’m sure most would agree it’s better than listening to a tantruming child.

    A couple of years ago, I STOPPED going to King Soopers because their current kid carts were so dilapidated it was embarrassing. It’s nice to see they’re stepping up and motivating moms to shop there.

  • comment avatar Karla February 16, 2011

    Bad idea. Spend that $$ 2 help the homeless or feed some of these families. VIDEO SHOPPING CARTS!!?? Get real.

  • comment avatar Ratna February 16, 2011

    I think it’s a great idea – in theory, but as a parent of two little ones- I fear the following: Will there be enough such carts? Is there a two-seater? Cause mine fight over everything right now. Sometimes we go there and all the carts are occupied or in the parking lot hovering near the cars. Great idea! Now, if executed properly- ie. can’t leave the stores, enough for all the kids who want them, then it will be just fine. Otherwise, I fear worse chaos will ensue (at least from my two vocalists).

    Ps. @ Angry as Hell- King Sooper’s is a private store so I am glad they made the decision to do this- it’s their free market decision to do what they want to improve their stores and the shopping experience for consumers who choose to shop there. As for other issues in Denver, there’s plenty of them and let’s hope the new Legislature can address them with you, the constituent’s, help.

  • comment avatar Candace February 16, 2011

    Help the homeless? Please. King Soopers has so many great community programs to help people in need.

    I think this is great, mostly because the execs at King Soopers sat down and figured out that moms are doing the grocery shopping and making the household purchases. When my kids were younger, I NEVER went shopping with them because it was just too chaotic to juggle them all. And so I was stuck shopping late at night when the stock boys were out with the shelves–talk about depressing.

    My kids were not bad children–just young. I tried many methods of engagement (telling stories, learning numbers, prices, colors, etc). but I’ll tell you what: I always left drained, the meltdowns were many and it was just easier to do it without them so I could compare prices, explore new products, etc.

    If you don’t like these carts: don’t use them. But the rest of us will enjoy our shopping experience in peace.

  • comment avatar Heather K February 16, 2011

    Awful idea. I think kids watch way too much TV already- between TV’s in their bedrooms, DVD players in the car, this just seems ridiculous. Every kid has a bad day at the grocery store every now and then, but if you have to use this to keep your kid controlled at the store, there are bigger issues at play that TV is not going to solve.”

  • comment avatar Alison G February 16, 2011

    You can’t take them out of the store- a pain to transfer kiddos and groceries to a new cart to get them to car!

  • comment avatar Ratna February 16, 2011

    I wrote a comment and it never posted… so here I go again.

    I think it is a great idea in theory but the only thing I fear is will there be enough carts? As it is now, my kids get upset when there are no kid carts when we arrive there…. the carts are either in the parking lot hovering near the cars or in use and then, left abandoned in the parking lots. I really am looking forward to my two little ones getting in these and being occupied (and hopefully not fighting over them) but King Sooper’s, I hope you execute this awesome idea well- ie. keep them in the stores and available. Thanks!

    As to the people who think we live in a socialist country umm… not yet anyway. King Sooper’s is a private store and they can do anything they want (within the law) to make their consumers’ shopping experience better. I am glad they are doing it and it’s not a waste- they are a private corporation who do a lot already for the community. So, get a grip people and write your Legislature if you want other issues resolved in Colorado or if you want to feed the homeless, there are plenty of charities out there that are ready to take your money as well. As to the parents above who do not want to use, them- please don’t so there are enough for those who do. Keep the TV on in your home instead of the store. 🙂

    King Sooper’s, great idea– now, execute it well please or my two vocalists will let you know they want a cart. Ha!

  • comment avatar Great Toy Mom February 16, 2011

    LOVE them…only used them once so far, but got through my big “coupon” shop much more quickly! A treat, not the norm for us.

  • comment avatar Jessica B February 16, 2011

    Personally I like them!! My kids don’t watch a lot of TV so a little at the store to make my trip faster is great!

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  • comment avatar Gretchen White February 17, 2011

    Here comes Debbie Downer!

    I think the carts are kind of silly. My first thought when I saw them at our KS was: How long will it take for the first small child to yak on that screen? I gave it 3 days, tops.

    Those truck/car carts are ALWAYS disgusting. Gunk growing on the steering wheels, the horns are always cracked, the seatbelts are stiff from being exposed to mystery liquids, boogers on the doors.

    Or the seatbelts are broken, making it pointless to use the cart because the toddler you want to keep contained repeatedly escapes.

    When I’ve used the truck carts in the past, I always wiped down the surfaces inside with the Clorox wipes by cart area. One clerk told me I was the only mom she ever saw cleaning the cart! And I’m no germaphobe. But something about carts made for toddlers and preschoolers sends shivers up my spine.

    Add Mickey Mouse and Handy Manny and you have a rolling, brightly colored cesspool of intrusive marketing and streptococcus.

  • comment avatar JoAnn February 21, 2011

    I guess they can do what they want with the carts, but PLEASE KEEP THE PENNY PONY. That has been the BEST INCENTIVE for keeping my child happy.

    …and there are some days when I wish *I* could ride the Penny Pony. 😉

  • comment avatar Amy February 27, 2011

    Just think of all the missed educational opportunities!

    The store is a GREAT place for teachable moments. You can learn about nutrition, colors, math, reading all in one place – but none of that is possible if parents are disengaged and the kids are TV zombies.

    Besides that, the more time spent vegging in front of TV, the lower kids test scores are in school – it’s been shown over and over again – and the trend begins before most kids are even able to read.

    Instead of plopping your kid in front of the screen, why not talk to them! For babies, just describing what you are doing while you shop is a wonderful introduction to language. Toddlers and Pre-Schoolers can help pick out food: “Can you help me find the yellow bananas? We need 3 of them, can you help me count? 1-2-3. You are such a good helper!” For school aged kids this can be a great chance to help make their math practically applicable by asking them to help you choose the better bargain by looking at unit cost (price/oz, etc.) or to talk about nutrition!

    What a waste of such great opportunities if parents and caregivers just plop their kids in front of the TV!

  • comment avatar Amy February 27, 2011

    Though, if you know it’s going to be a long trip, or the kids aren’t feeling well – sometimes it’s just better to pay a babysitter, so you can do your shopping in peace.

    Or heck, King Soopers also has a program that will deliver groceries to your door! Between that and the Royal Crest Dairy – the kids don’t have to go with you to the store at all, unless you want to bring them along!