Mommy Dearest,

My friend and I like to take our kids shopping together once a week. The children keep each other entertained, and we get a chance to gab and buy groceries or birthday gifts and necessities. But, there's one thing that makes me uncomfortable — my friend lets her 3-year-old son and 11-month-old daughter each choose or hold on to a toy while we make our way down through the store. Then, she shelves them before check out. On our last trip to Target, she gave her teething daughter a plush toy that was covered in drool by the time she put it back. As a customer, I wouldn't want to purchase a germ infested item for my child. Do you think her practice is appropriate?

— You Play, You Purchase

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You Play, You Purchase,

I've seen this happen a lot while out shopping with my own kids. And, it's the reason I reach to the back of the shelf when buying things like stuffed animals. I'd like to think that those that are harder to reach haven't been gnawed or drooled on. While it's one thing to let a child try a rocking horse or bike floor model, which is put out for that purpose, it's another to have them use an item as their own and not pay for it. Is there a reason your friend doesn't pack a teether or small toys in her diaper bag? Or, at a place like Target have her kiddos select something from the $1 bins to occupy them so she can also afford to make the purchases? I'd suggest those options since her current practice makes you uncomfortable.
– Mommy Dearest

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