Black Friday Strollers…

I have a friend who has five children so she knows all about strollers, or push chairs as they are called here.

England has an awful lot of young mothers roaming the streets pushing their babies ahead of them.  They rule the High Street and Market Square, the shops and cafes, the parks and busses.

Some of the more expensive strollers (usually only seen at the weekend because both parents are working in order to pay for designer accessories for junior), have segue type standing platforms on the back for the slightly older toddler to ride on because he or she has been turfed out of the comfy front seat to make room for the newest member of the family.

Standing, chariot style, beats walking any day.

Whether fancy or plain they take up a lot of room, wherever they are.

In the parks these young mums are seen in flocks, or herds, or whatever a large group of pushchair shoving mothers is called, every afternoon.

And what are they called when they also have a toddler or two hanging onto the handle bars?  A gaggle?  This is apt because there is always an unholy din when these flocks come through!

My friend with five children complains loudly and bitterly about the strollers out on parade on Black Friday, which, for my British readers is the day after Thanksgiving, which, again for my British readers, is November 24th this year.

She claims they cramp her style when it comes to snagging a bargain causing her to stumble, not uncharacteristically I hasten to add with or without a moving shin slammer, and miss her ‘steal of a deal’ by a breath.

“Why do you have your children with you?  We’re shopping here not strolling,” she snarls, rubbing her scraped leg, “stay at home and watch TV!”

In England we are unlucky enough to have the pushchair brigade out in force, every day.  Coupled with the iPhone and headsets the pavements of a London street are thick with these slow moving, disrespectful,  hazardous, walking missiles.

Food shops are watering holes for the young parent and her unwitting next of kin.  Here they are a wonder to behold with the trolley tagging along in tandem…my friend would say,

“Are you serious?  Get your food delivered.”

In clothing shops mayhem reigns; the children, generally ignored by delusional mothers squeezing into Chinos that barely fit pre-partum let alone post, grab and hang on to random articles of clothing as they sail past in their carriages-come-chariot.

I join my friend in the wail,

“Why?  Why bring your whole family to Primark for an outfit to wear to the pub tonight?  Why?”

Shopping over, they manoeuver their way through an intimate café, determined to hang on to the life they used to have before babies.

“Give it up,” I want to say, “stay at home and play with the babies,” but then, “why not hang on?”  I did when I was young.

When not in shops they are on the pavements on the way to the shops.

The pavements accommodate three walkers abreast until a lamppost or someone moving in the opposite direction looms, then the one on the outside has to swerve into motorized traffic.  A stroller takes up the whole width of the sidewalk (for my American readers), because Mum pushes it right down the middle.  She stops and has a little natter with every other child pusher she meets, a veritable little social club right there on the streets.

There is nothing comparable to it in America.  We are cocooned in our cars and when we unload at the mall, we know no-one!

Before you start to complain about the odd stroller in the odd store on Black Friday, bear a thought for me in England where dodging baby carriers is a national sport and chatting is a pastime.

Anyone for tea?

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