TV therapy

Screaming children are an all-too-familiar part of the grocery shopping experience. And, chances are good that parents of the bored little tantrum-throwers will cut their trips short to regain some peace.

Screaming children are an all-too-familiar part of the grocery shopping experience. And, chances are good that parents of the bored little tantrum-throwers will cut their trips short to regain some peace.

Auckland, NZ-based company Cabco Group addresses this problem with TV Karts, grocery carts that kids can ride in and watch popular TV shows like The Wiggles and Bob the Builder to keep them entertained while mom or dad shops. And the good news is that the company plans to have a presence in Canada by early 2007.

‘The idea came from personal experience with bored and restless children in a supermarket environment, and the recognition that there were a billion parents with the same worldwide problem,’ explains Doug Bartlett, CEO of Cabco, adding that research shows that customers who rent TV Karts stay in the store an average of seven minutes longer than parents who don’t.

It entered the American market in 2004 with retail partners like Wal-Mart, Safeway and Publix, where parents can rent the carts for one dollar (non-refundable) at select locations.

Cabco provides retailers with TV Karts for free, in exchange for sharing the rental revenue. ‘We share revenue with the chain, but all supermarkets seem to focus more on the fact that it’s an extra customer service than on the revenue,’ says Bartlett.

The carts are good to go upon arrival – no set-up or infrastructure required, and they come equipped with automatic ‘charging mats,’ so the batteries charge whenever the carts are parked. Cabco has a unique GPRS system that lets them update programming from afar, and text messages are automatically sent to the closest service people when there’s a problem.

If you can’t wait until Cabco hits Canada, Bartlett says to simply give him a call to work something out in the meantime.

www.tvkart.com