When Wilton mom Vivian Lee-Shiue sets her mind to something, it’s clear she’s going to get her way. This time, she did so on behalf of moms with more than one toddler who struggle with supermarket shopping carts that are either unwieldy because they’re too big for the aisles or because they don’t fit more than one child in the seat at a time. As a mom with 3-year-old twins, Lee-Shiue is very familiar with the problem.
She is also a blogger for the CT Working Moms website, and back in January she wrote a post thanking local stores Caraluzzi’s and Village Market for having carts that work well for parents like her. She also pointed out that the carts at Stop & Shop in Wilton not only were harder to use but also were frequently left outside in rain and snow without protective covering. Lee-Shiue also took Stew Leonard’s in Norwalk to task in the blog because their only available double carts were broken in addition to being too large for the store’s crowded aisles.
“It’s pointless to have those carts if they’re not useful to us,” she explained.
That original article went viral, logging 20,000 hits, more than 3,000 likes, and tons of comments, and it was shared all over Facebook (including by GMW). What’s more, Lee-Shiue emailed the corporate offices of Stew Leonard’s, more than once. “Then, their director of public relations took over, and she’s a mom of twins herself. She sympathized and helped push it along.”
And her campaign paid off–she found out recently that the Norwalk store has gotten four carts that fit their narrow checkout aisles but also safely accommodate two seated toddlers.
“I was very pleasantly surprised. I think when they realized it was a big enough issue, they did something about it,” Lee-Shiue said.
She updated her readers Monday, with a post playfully titled, “A Story About A Store That Lives Up To Its Motto,” referring to the “rule” posted at the Stew Leonard’s entrance: “The customer is always right!”
Smart move on the part of Stew Leonard’s and any other market that makes sure moms are kept happy. Consider them prime customers who will spend money in stores that make it easier for them to spend money–and they’ll withhold that same purchasing power if needed.
“I’ll usually go to Village Market over Stop & Shop because I can’t handle those giant carts that Stop & Shop has. If they’re with me, I almost always pick a store that I know will have a good cart accessible,” Lee-Shiue said, adding that she will shop at Stew Leonard’s more now that they’ve made the change in hardware.
What’s also clear–the power of just one voice, albeit a voice that was able to harness lots of other people with a well-placed blog post. “Judging by the comments the article got, it seemed to be a big pet peeve for a lot of people. And it’s always a topic of conversation among the mothers of multiples whenever we get together,” she added.