Supermarkets are manipulating our children

Migros Children's shop

Something is wrong here; it is gnawing at me, slightly disturbing. This box is for children, for their mothers to buy. It is not over expensive, normally priced. The contents are OK, a mini shop for the children to play a pretend game with each other, just like the grown-ups, only this is too much like the grown-ups, too realistic. You can buy the mini ingredients to be sold in a special cardboard case. All products from our local supermarket, mini packets, all nicely labelled with the names containing small amounts of the food, the items that mummy buys every day in the supermarket.

The box is in German/French/Italian – our country’s languages. I will translate “Buy like the grown-ups” and at the bottom stands “mini supermarket”.

Is it correct to indoctrinate our children at school age with buying the right products in the right shops? There is an accompaniment to this new idea. As mummy arrives at the cash desk, she is asked by the saleslady “Do you want the sticky pictures for the album?” Yes, there is an album (free) where you can stick pictures of the products your child is selling at home in the game. I was also asked today, but I refused and if I had four children all at school age, I would have refused. I am sure there would have been a rebellion “But mummy everyone I know has one and a mini shop as well. I want one too”.

I like children, I have two myself, but they are now out of the child manipulation age thank goodness.

For some time now the supermarket trolleys are available in a mini version, for children of course. Those parents that encourage their children to push their own trolley and collect the goods that mummy wants to buy are convinced they are doing the right thing. There are also parents that do it, because otherwise they will have a crying, moaning child on their hands that has a Freudian nightmare because it cannot do what mummy does – spend money on food.

I am not talking about the annoyance I have when I trip over a mini trolley or have to push my way through a meeting of mothers with children and five mini trolleys to arrive at the cash desk, this is not important. The parents are doing the right thing, so they think

I shop 2-3 times a week, not really because I want to, but because I have to, otherwise the shelves and refridgerator in the kitchen would quickly be empty. Do we really have to force our children, let our children, do what mummy has to do soon enough. Why cannot we let our children be children. The hard realities of life arrive soon enough.

On the other hand the supermarket chiefs have found a new opening for marketing their products. Educate the children in choosing our products when they are children, and we have our future clientele when they are adults: all part of modern life I suppose.

Is this only in my country, or does it exist in your country as well?

Daily Prompt: What a Twist!

Tell us a story — fiction or non-fiction — with a twist we can’t see coming.

Photographers, artists, poets: show us SURPRISE.

I cannot just shake a story with a twist out of my sleeve for a daily prompt. That needs thought and I only receive the prompt in the middle of the afternoon in my country. This is a re-blogged story that I wrote some ten years ago. Perhaps not such a surprise, but things are never as they seem.

large moth

“Hi mum I’m home“

“Hi Jasper, how was school.“

“Had a bit of bother with one of the others. He started laughing at me so I had to defend myself. We had a fight.”

“Jasper I do not like fighting.”

“It’s ok mum, I just took a bite at him and he realised that although I have blond hair, I am still one of us. We made it up. You know how it is when you look a bit different.”

Shirley certainly did know how it was to be different, but since living away from home, she had got used to other customs, other places. She had almost forgotten how things were before she met Dreg her husband, although sometimes it was as if it were yesterday.

Shirley was not the prettiest girl in town. She had lovely blond hair, but her nose was a bit on the larger size, and her teeth were perhaps a bit oversized for her mouth. This did not really bother her. She was also very short sighted and from her younger years had to wear strong glasses. She sometimes wished she could be like her sister who seemed to be the complete opposite. Everything was in place on her, the perfect little girl and of course sister Janet grew to be one of the most popular girls, always having some boy in tow. However Janet had a good heart and would often go to town with Shirley. On such occasions Shirley would leave her glasses at home. She had got so used to seeing everything through a haze, she could still find her way around and when Janet was at her side, there was no big problem.

The carnival season was now on the horizon and both Janet and Shirley wanted to go to the masked ball. It was such fun dressing up and disguising; the once a year time when Shirley was treated as all the other girls, and did not feel like a human freak. She always chose a mask with a fringe to hide her oversized nose and teeth. She just disappeared at midnight when it was time for everyone to remove their masks and boy and girl to kiss each other. Shirley knew that she would not be wanted as a partner for any boy attending the dance and yes, she was a little ashamed to show her face.

The evening arrived and Janet and Shirley were dressed in their costumes. This year Shirley decided to dress as a devil. She had two small horns peeping out of her blond locks and was dressed in a long black silk gown, her face covered with a half mask. Her sister had decided to be an angel and as angels and devils do not really match they entered the dance hall separately. Janet was soon surrounded by boys all asking for a dance and Shirley sat in a corner with a drink watching the entertainment. That was until a young man came towards her. He also was dressed in a devilish costume, more with the vampire look she thought. His costume was excellent, wearing long false white molars in his mouth and his red eyes peeping through the mask. She thought it is amazing what red tinted contact lines could achieve. His black cloak set the final touch, together with his white powdered face.

“You are looking so attractive in your costume” he said to Shirley, his voice sounding so soft and sexy. “I would be honoured to have the next dance.”

Shirley was so impressed with the “vampire” she immediately accepted. She danced as if in a dream with this young vampire and he held her with his strong arms as she had never been held before. It was not just one dance they danced together, but were in each other’s arms the whole evening, Shirley thinking how lovely it would be if this evening would never end. At midnight a gong sounded and two chairs were put in the middle of the dance hall. Shirley’s stomach did a few turns. The chairs were for the couples, one by one, and how could she remove her mask and show herself to this vampire costume. He was certainly very handsome beneath his costume and she really felt like Cinderella who ran away leaving her glass slipper. Shirley fled from her vampire, but he was close on her heels, seemed to be almost flying through the air, there was no escape.

“Where are you going young devil” he asked.

“I have to be home. I must go” was her answer.

“Have I done something to annoy you?” he asked, “or does the removal of the masks disturb you. If so, please be assured. I also do not want to remove my mask in public. We will leave together and I will walk you home.”

Shirley was as if in a dream and the “vampire” walked her home. The way took them through the park, it was dark and empty. There was no-one there. The vampire kissed her softly on her lips and removed her mask slowly. Shirley tried to put her hand over her face, but the vampire” stopped her.

“You are the most beautiful devil I have ever seen” he said. I will now remove my mask as well, which he did. As Shirley was not wearing her very thick glasses, everything seemed to be in a haze and she saw the outlines of the face of the vampire coming closer. They sunk to the ground in each other’s arms and Shirley spent the most wonderful hour of her life behind a tree in the park.

“I love you devil” the vampire said “you are the most beautiful woman I have ever seen.” Shirley was so happy and she too felt a connection to this strange person. Perhaps strange because he still had his vampire teeth in his mouth, at least she did feel a slight point caressing her lips, but who cared, Shirley was in bliss for the first time in her life.

“I must now leave you” said the vampire, “but I will be back, please do not forget me.”

It seemed to Shirley that she felt the wind rustling in his cloak and then he was gone. No, Shirley did not forget him. Nine months later she gave birth to a beautiful boy and named him Jasper. Of course her parents were not very pleased, but Shirley was happy. True, her baby did resemble her vampire costume and there was talk in the hospital from the doctor that her son Jasper would have to undergo a plastic surgery operation to bring things to order. It seemed that his bloodshot eyes with the dark shadows and the fact that he already had two teeth protruding over the bottom lip should be corrected. Luckily he did inherit the golden hair colour from his mother.

The birth went very well and Shirley was on the way to recovery. One evening in the hospital ward Shirley was having problems falling asleep. For Shirley her son was the most beautiful, but perhaps it was because she did not have her glasses with her. Her mother said she would only lose them in the hospital and kept them at home, although if Shirley had seen the curious glances exchanged between her mother and father, she might have realised that there was a reason why her mother had left the glasses at home.

Suddenly the window to the ward flew open and Shirley heard again that familiar sound of the wind rushing through cloth.

“My devil, I told you I would not desert you. Is that the fruit of our night in the park lying in his bed? Such a beautiful baby, it is a boy.”

“Is it you my vampire. The doctors say that there is something wrong with him and he must be operated, I am so worried. Where have you been?”

Now the person who Shirley only knew as the “vampire” told Shirley the facts.

“Please forgive me for leaving, but I had to return to my planet.”

“Your planet?”

“I am not from earth, but from the planet Vania. Our people often make holiday trips to earth and it was on such a trip that we met. I felt so drawn to you as you sat alone in a corner with you beautiful costume and my elders gave me permission to visit again. I told them what had happened and we had the ability to see from afar that I had become a father. Our people do not desert their women and I am here to take you to my planet with our son. Please say yes.”

Shirley was a little surprised and was not sure whether to believe this. It was then that the “vampire” showed Shirley a photo of his family and she knew that it was the truth.

“My real name is Dreg” said the vampire. “Please come with me to my planet with our son. You will be so happy there.”

Shirley wrote a few words of an explanation in a quick note to her parents.

Dear mum and dad

Jasper’s father has arrived. He lives on another planet and he is taking me to live with him there. I am so happy, please be happy with me. I am sure I will be able to visit you one day.

Shirley

P.S. Please do not worry about my glasses, Dreg, my friend said I will not need them on the planet Vania.

and she was whisked away on that evening to Vania with her son.

All this happened so many years ago. She did have problems getting used to life on Vania. It seemed that when the planet was moonlit, the inhabitants spent the hours awake, going after their work and the children in school. During the time when the three suns were shining they slept in their homes which were underground. Dreg was a wonderful father to Jasper and to their other four children, but it was Jasper that had the blond hair. The other children were more like their father.

So if you think you have seen a vampire, then of course they do not really exist. One of their favourite places for spending holidays was in the Transylvanian mountains as the climate appealed to them.

Daily Prompt: What a Twist!

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