Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Update on my blog about Target last night!

Here is my update to this blog entry that I made last night

This afternoon while my husband, myself and our children were running errands, my husband received a phone call. The call was from a very nice representative of Target Corporation (I apologize, my husband does not recall his name). Apparently my blog post from last night made a big enough impact in a short amount of time that it made it to the executive level of the company. They matched up the email I posted with their system and got the info to contact my husband based on his email to them through their website.

"Hello, is this Tony L*****?"
"Yes, This is Tony L*****"
"I'm calling about the issues you had with the Target store."
"You're wife was the one who blogged about it, correct?"
"Yes, she was."

The representative was VERY apologetic about our whole experience. He went on to tell us that it is absolutely not the Target Corporation's policy to sell expired food and this was an issue with the store that they are now, after being made aware of this situation, dealing with on all levels in the store. He assured us the store was not following Target's procedures and he too would have been appalled had he been in our situation with how it was handled. He also said that the email response my husband received was not handled correctly and that was a fail in their channels there as well. He said they will be using this as an example to make improvements in Target as a whole.

I want to say how impressed I am with how quickly Target Corporation took action after seeing my blog. I only posted it late last night and received a phone call shortly before 5 pm this afternoon. The fact that it was noticed, made it's way to the executives, was discussed and we received a call so quickly, is really great and gives me some confidence that Target Corporation does want to fix this issue. The acknowledgment of our situation and the quick response directly to us, along with much apologies and thanks, is very much appreciated by my husband and myself. Thank You, Target. I'd love to name the nice man who called us if someone from Target would like to let me know.

So there is my update, Here's to hoping our next Target trip this weekend is a good one!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Target putting EXPIRED baby food on sale to sell it?

Is this what Target is about? Are they purposely putting expired BABY food on sale with their eye catching red sale tags on the shelves to get it sold to reduce profit loss? I'm not one to jump to conclusions, but with what my family has encountered with our local Target here and the lack of action from corporate, I'm beginning to think this is the case.

We are a family of 7. My husband, myself and our 5 children. We are loyal Target customers, have been for years and we are very literally there every week, often times, more than once a week. We have dumped so much money into Target over the years from our less than stellar single income military paycheck. I hate to even really think about how much that could be. Being the loyal customers that we are, our recent experience has left a bad taste in our mouth in regards to Target as a whole, not just this store. I'd love to see them take action to make me feel like they actually care about their customers.

Here is a little rundown of what we have been dealing with recently at the Target in North Charleston, SC.

Over the past 3 or so weeks we have now talked to team members, team leaders and managers about expired baby food, milk and other various food items in the store, on FIVE different occasions.
The first time we encountered expired baby food and baby juice. My husband moved it together on the shelf and went to find a team member in that section of the store. He told her the food was expired and showed it to her. The expiration dates ranged from February - April 2010, We're in JUNE 2010. She acted as if she was gathering it up and we went about our business, checked out and left. We didn't think much more about it.

The second time we encountered expired food was less than a week after the first time. Again there was expired baby food, baby juice and we also saw expired milk. Some appeared to be the SAME baby food he had told the employee about previously. This time my husband found a "team leader" and showed her the expired baby food as well as telling a manager at the front of the store after we checked out about the expired food and expired milk. The manager said it would be taken care of right away.

The third encounter was the next week. This time we weren't there for baby food, but we decided to take a look and again, expired baby food and baby juice. We decided to walk through the food section to take a little mental note of expired food. We found various expired items. My husband went and spoke to a manager, told her about the various expired food items and the previous 2 times that the expired food wasn't taken care of. She assured us something would be done.

Our forth encounter was this past week. AGAIN, in the baby section the same EXPIRED baby food and baby juice on the shelves, but this time with red sale tags plastered all over! There was also expired milk and some various expired items like the week before and most appeared to be the exact same items with the same expiration dates we saw and reported to the manager previously. My husband found a team leader, told them about it, told them about how nothing has been done for weeks and he was again, ensured it would be taken care of.

When we arrived home he emailed Target and explained the situation. This is the response he received.

Subject: Your Recent Visit to Target®

Dear Tony L*****,

I'm sorry your recent trip to our North Charleston Target store didn't meet
your expectations.

We're always looking for ways to improve your shopping experience. Hearing
about your experience with our grocery area of the store is important to us.
I've documented your thoughts and comments, which will be shared with our
Store Operations team for further review. It's just one way we can keep
working to provide you with the experience you've come to expect at Target.

If you ever have concerns during your visit, please visit the Guest Service
Desk and ask to speak with the Guest Service Team Leader. They'll make every
attempt to resolve the issue during your visit.

We appreciate your feedback because it helps make Target even better.


Target Guest Relations
(800) 440-0680

What a wonderfully generic response.

This evening we went to grab a coffee at the Starbucks right near Target. I needed more packaging tape to package orders for my little online store, so my husband ran into Target. Of course, he made a detour to check out the baby section and the grocery section. What do you know? THE SAME EXPIRED BABY FOOD AND BABY JUICE that was there a few days ago, still sitting on the shelves! Shocking right? Not really. So my husband heads over to "Guest Services" and asks to please speak to the store manager. They spoke to the manager over the radio. The manager wanted to know why they were asked to be spoken to, the employee at guest services tells them. The manager says they wont come up to speak to him, but that they will send a team leader over to the baby food section. My husband stood in the baby food section for 30 minutes and not a single employee showed up. He left the store and purchased the packaging tape at Office Max.

I want to make it very clear. Every single time my husband spoke to each employee he was very polite and kind. Never once was he rude or did anything for them to ignore the information he was giving them. Even this evening, when the store manager couldn't be bothered to come speak with him, he was polite and kind.

So after all of this, we are left feeling like this must be a Target policy, to keep expired goods on the shelves until someone not paying attention buys it. If it's not Target's policy then why is this store being allowed to continue operating this way? We have tried doing the right thing. We don't want people accidently feeding their baby or child expired food or giving them expired milk or other food items. We've done everything we can, short of throwing it away, which would get us into trouble. If this is in fact an acceptable policy that Target has, why aren't they just telling us this? The employees all said it was unacceptable and would be taken care of, yet the food was left there to be sold. Which is it?

I wanted to add what the FDA says about formula and baby food.

Dating Formula & Baby Food
Federal regulations require a "use-by" date on the product label of infant formula and the varieties of baby food under FDA inspection. If consumed by that date, the formula or food must contain not less than the quantity of each nutrient as described on the label. Formula must maintain an acceptable quality to pass through an ordinary bottle nipple. If stored too long, formula can separate and clog the nipple.

Dating of baby food is for quality as well as for nutrient retention. Just as you might not want to eat stale potato chips, you wouldn't want to feed your baby meat or other foods that have an off flavor or texture.

The "use-by" date is selected by the manufacturer, packer or distributor of the product on the basis of product analysis throughout its shelf life; tests; or other information. It is also based on the conditions of handling, storage, preparation and use printed on the label. Do not buy or use baby formula or baby food after its "use-by" date.

I'm very disappointed, Target.

My husband took a quick picture with his phone of one of the packages of expired Gerber baby juice (this is either the yogurt or the vegetable juice) this evening (June 29th 2010). This particular item technically has a "Better if used by date" Which I find interesting based on the FDA regulations.

Insulting Breastfeeding Is "IN"...

...and make sure you do it as obnoxiously, vulgar and piggish as possible while you're at it, to be a REALLY cool kid! That's What Adrianne Curry thinks anyway!

Adrianne Curry is a celebrity / model / "America's First Top Model" vulgar, attention seeking child of a woman girl. She jumped on the "lets insult breastfeeding" bandwagon. I didn't let Kim Kardashians comments get under my skin because I think she just spoke or "tweeted" before she thought and kind of ate her own foot. However, Adrianne's comments just down right p***ed me off. Now let me tell you, I'm no prude. I have the mouth of a salty sailor and the crude sense of humor to go along with it, BUT some of her comments were down right disgusting. There is no other way to put it... she is a childish, immature, selfish, self absorbed, disgusting pig. I know people that are uncomfortable around breastfeeding, but they wouldn't speak about it the way she did.

Breast feeding in public? Some say its ok cause it's natural..but so is eating pussy, but I dont see every1 doing that ; ) lol
"Eating Pussy" is natural huh? So we are all born with this natural survival instinct to "eat pussy"? Really? You're an Idiot.

Im sure I'll get blasted4it, but I find a baby sucking breast milk out of a nipple in public a little gross. I wouldnt do it.2each their own
You're only getting "blasted" because of the first statement you made.

sucking on nip[ples is just as sexual as eating someone out, in my book
That's because you have issues. Go to therapy. An infant or toddler nursing is not sexual like a man sucking on a woman's nipples. In that sense breasts have 2 completely different "identities".

it grosses a lot of people out. I would never wip my nipple out in public so some 12 yr old boy can fap to it later
Says the female who you can find naked pictures of all over the internet. You think a 12 year old boy has never looked at one of your boob pics online and "fapped", as you call it? Just for the record... my nipples do not "whip", it's more of a bouncy "plop" along with my boob (and I don't "whip" or "plop" mine out to breastfeed in public anyway. I don't need my whole boob out to do it). I'd love to see the breastfeeding mother who is actually physically able to "whip" her boob or nipple out, it'd be quite entertaining to say the least!

Thats it, u people are fucktards. I dont give a shit how you act in public, be a mother dog feeding her pups if thats what u want! NOT ME
See, here's the thing. You are entitled to not like it, it's your opinion, but being crude and vulgar in your delivery just makes you look like a gigantic douche.

Ok, so PEEING and POOPING is natural too, so why dont we start doing that publicly? Christ! double standards!
Breastfeeding is EATING. You eat in public right? Comparing breastfeeding to urinating and having a bowel movement is so offensive and ignorant. They are NOT the same thing and it makes people who use that comparison look like down right assholes. The breastfed baby deserves to eat just like you do. I would also like to point out that not all babies will nurse with their head covered by a blanket. Many will pull it off, my daughter included. Would YOU eat with a blanket over your head?

There are several other comments I wont bother to quote here, but most are just as bad. I question if the issues that she obviously and admittedly has, are a factor in her strong feelings against breastfeeding in public. I can only assume they are. If that is the case, that is YOUR problem Adrianne Curry, not mine or any other breastfeeding mother's. There is nothing sexual about breastfeeding, it's not dirty, it's not crude, it's not indecent exposure... it's nourishing the child. For me and most other breastfeeding mothers I know our sexual identity where our breasts fit in and our breastfeeding relationships with our child are 2 entirely separate things.

Now let me tell you, I did not always breastfeed my children. My first 3 boys were not breastfed. My views on so many things have changed since then. When I look back, I regret that I didn't breastfeed them as well. There are so many good things about breastfeeding from the nutrition to the bonding. It really makes me sad that so many people treat it as if it's something dirty or gross. "Celebrities" saying such strong INACCURATE things against it doesn't help any.

Here are some Breastfeeding Facts from the World Health Organization.

WHO strongly recommends exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of life. At six months, other foods should complement breastfeeding for up to two years or more. In addition:

  • breastfeeding should begin within an hour of birth;
  • breastfeeding should be "on demand", as often as the child wants day and night; and
  • bottles or pacifiers should be avoided.
Breast milk is the ideal food for newborns and infants. It gives infants all the nutrients they need for healthy development. It is safe and contains antibodies that help protect infants from common childhood illnesses - such as diarrhoea and pneumonia, the two primary causes of child mortality worldwide. Breast milk is readily available and affordable, which helps to ensure that infants get adequate sustenance.

Breastfeeding also benefits mothers. The practice when done exclusively often induces a lack of menstruation, which is a natural (though not fail-safe) method of birth control. It reduces risks of breast and ovarian cancer later in life, helps women return to their pre-pregnancy weight faster, and lowers rates of obesity.

Beyond the immediate benefits for children, breastfeeding contributes to a lifetime of good health. Adults who were breastfed as babies often have lower blood pressure and lower cholesterol, as well as lower rates of overweight, obesity and type-2 diabetes. There is evidence that people who were breastfed perform better in intelligence tests.

Infant formula does not contain the antibodies found in breast milk and is linked to some risks, such as water-borne diseases that arise from mixing powdered formula with unsafe water (many families lack access to clean water). Malnutrition can result from over-diluting formula to "stretch" supplies. Further, frequent feedings maintain the breast milk supply. If formula is used but becomes unavailable, a return to breastfeeding may not be an option due to diminished breast milk production.

For HIV-positive mothers, WHO recommends exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months unless replacement feeding is:

  • acceptable (socially welcome)
  • feasible (facilities and help are available to prepare formula)
  • affordable (formula can be purchased for six months)
  • sustainable (feeding can be sustained for six months)
  • safe (formula is prepared with safe water and in hygienic conditions).

An international code to regulate the marketing of breast-milk substitutes was adopted in 1981. It calls for:

  • all formula labels and information to state the benefits of breastfeeding and the health risks of substitutes;
  • no promotion of breast-milk substitutes;
  • no free samples of substitutes to be given to pregnant women, mothers or their families; and
  • no distribution of free or subsidized substitutes to health workers or facilities.
Breastfeeding has to be learned and many women encounter difficulties at the beginning. Nipple pain, and fear that there is not enough milk to sustain the baby are common. Health facilities that support breastfeeding - by making trained breastfeeding counsellors available to new mothers - encourage higher rates of the practice. To provide this support and improve care for mothers and newborns, there are now more than 20 000 "baby-friendly" facilities in 152 countries thanks to a WHO-UNICEF initiative.

WHO recommends that a new mother should have at least 16 weeks of absence from work after delivery, to be able to rest and breastfeed her child. Many mothers who go back to work abandon exclusive breastfeeding before the recommended six months because they do not have sufficient time, or an adequate place to breastfeed or express and store their milk at work. Mothers need access to a safe, clean and private place in or near their workplaces to continue the practice.

To meet the growing needs of babies at six months of age, complementary foods should be introduced as they continue to breastfeed. Foods for the baby can be specially prepared or modified from family meals. WHO notes that:

  • breastfeeding should not be decreased when starting complementary feeding;
  • complementary foods should be given with a spoon or cup, not in a bottle;
  • foods should be clean, safe and locally available; and
  • ample time is needed for young children to learn to eat solid foods.

In closing, I'd like to say to Adrianne Curry that she should go screw herself learn a little tact, a little compassion and educate herself about breastfeeding. It is not right for everyone, but do not shun those who do it. Making people who are breastfeeding and nourishing their child out in public feel like they are doing something wrong is a pretty crappy thing to do. I've experienced being made to feel uncomfortable while I had a baby who wanted to nurse and we were at a restaurant. It's not a good feeling.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Yes, I have 5 children... No, I don't want yours....

This evening at dinner was the perfect example of WHY people constantly compliment us on our children's behavior and our parenting when we're out.

Yes, I have 5 children... No, I don't want yours...

My husband had a fairly late day at work and we didn't have anything to make for dinner, so off to the Deli it was. We sat ourselves down, got situated, decided what we'd be ordering everyone etc. After we were settled down and my husband was ordering, 2 women sitting across from us gushed about how well behaved the kids are, how we're doing a great job and went on talking about how when they see children eating out they are often loud, running around and just generally misbehaving. I thanked her, because I really do appreciate the compliments and it makes me feel like even though my children make me CRAZY at home some days that they really are good kids.

But, Anyway... We get our food and we're eating. A group of people who appeared to be pregnant mommy, Grandma, Grandpa, Auntie and pregnant mommy's toddler were sitting a couple of tables away from us. They were playing with the toddler and letting him walk around, which I don't allow, but whatever, it's not my kid, right? But wait, here comes cute toddler, walking over to us... surely Grandma or pregnant mommy will snatch him up... NO, of course not. They just sit there and smile as he walks over to our table... with 7 people who are in the middle of eating their dinner. IN THE MIDDLE OF EATING DINNER... We weren't at the park here people, we were in a restaurant trying to eat. I have enough slobbering little cute children of my own. I don't need someone else's cute little slobbering toddler hanging out at my table while we're eating dinner. Why would you let your child of any age bother someone else at a restaurant while they are eating? I've seen this so many times! Do people think I wont mind because I have 5 kids sitting there? Yes, I have 5 kids... No, I don't want yours... I apologize if you do this and are offended that I'm venting about it... but please.. Don't do it anymore! It bothers people! I LOVE kids (if you couldn't tell by me having 5 of them and all), but it's just rude.

I believe this is why people make it a point to compliment us.

So.. uh.. yeah... I think that's a wrap!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Balancing Kids and Cooking

This is something I'm asked about fairly often and I was asked the other night to make a blog entry about it, so here goes :). I also wanted to say how much it means to me that some people value my advice and appreciate what I do. Thank You.

How do I cook meals while caring for the children? Well, it's something of a balancing act, but simple little things can make such a huge difference. Here are some "tips". It's truthfully nothing groundbreaking, but they help.

Plan meals! Planning meals will help keep things in order. Write a menu and shop according to the menu so you have everything you need for each meal.

Decide what the meal will be early. In the morning or even the day before decide what meal you'll be making that day.

Prepare ingredients ahead of time! THIS is a huge help! Preparing ingredients ahead of time is probably the most useful thing you can do to help with time management while you're trying to juggle the cranky baby, cleaning up the mess the toddler made, letting the dogs out and cooking the meal. When you have a few free moments during nap time or while they are content, cutting up the veggies, preparing a side dish or marinating the meat will help a whole lot when all hell starts breaking loose while you're cooking.

Don't be ashamed to use distractions for short periods of time. When you need your hands free of the baby while cooking, don't feel guilty about letting them play in the jumparoo with the TV on or letting the toddler play a game. If toys are an effective distraction for your child, put them in a safe place (playpen, childproof, gated room etc.) with some toys! I absolutely do not believe in the TV being a babysitter all day, but if it helps for short periods of time, I'm not ashamed to do it. (but honestly, it doesn't work well for my kids lol)
I also often keep the baby in her highchair while I am cooking so she can see me. She's fairly clingy and likes to be in the middle of everything. The highchair and a couple of small toys helps keep her occupied most of the time.
The older boys are usually asked to go to the playroom to play a game or read etc. or play in the backyard (where I can watch them from the kitchen) while I cook to keep them from getting under my feet and getting hurt in the kitchen. I do however incorporate them in food preparation when it's something they can help with (keep in mind, my oldest is only going on 8... the other two are 5 and 4). The toddler is usually somewhere in the middle of the things I do. He often naps until dinner, but that is slowly becoming less common. He is either sent to the playroom with his brothers or is in his highchair to watch me cook. But none of this goes smoothly all of the time, if you couldn't have guessed that!

There are plenty of times the baby is screaming at me to hold her while the boys are fighting upstairs and one of the dogs just threw up in her crate. This is where your multi-tasking (and stress management) skills REALLY come on handy! I told you that you need to learn those if you haven't already right? I can't say I've never threatened the children with not cooking their food until they stop fighting and behave nicely... you know, I'm still human and all.

There we have it, my not so groundbreaking advice and tips. Simple, useful and not all that original.