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w January 09, 2005

Shopping Cart Wars

It came to my attention recently that I have a profound and possibly irrational pet peeve, that of shopping carts abandoned at inopportune points in any given parking lot. Probably because of the holidays, I have been going to the grocery store far more than I would probably like, but the task is made even more onerous by these orphaned carts, which always seem to be right in the middle of the parking space I would like.

My truck is not with the elderly shoppers, who are probably getting help out to their cars anyway, nor is it with people for whom it would clearly be a struggle to have to walk more than absolutely necessary to get the grocery shopping done. That being said, most of us out there could probably walk the extra 20 feet (if that) to return the carts to somewhere that isn't supposed to be a designated car slot. Frankly, it would be a major benefit for most of us who ate too much fruitcake or gravy over the holidays, but as I'm fond of saying, that's another rant. I don't even think having kids in tow makes it all that much harder; it would seem a lot of them kind of like riding in the cart anyway.

It's laziness, pure and simple. Or a feeling of entitlement, that returning something to its appropriate spot is just far too unimportant to be bothered with. Let the minimum wage cart monkey do the job, right? I have no doubt that many of the offenders would go insane if someone didn't return something of theirs properly and promptly. Just return the damn cart. Just do it, to co-opt Nike's marketing slam dunk.

Now, there is a flip side to this story, which I am beholden to mention. Our friend Jim, himself a pithy observer of the human condition, did point out that it's kind of nice to have a cart handy once you get out of your car. That, and you get the added bonus of having a bit of metallic armor with you as you cross the parking lot. His theory is this: there are a lot of drivers who might not have much compunction about hitting a pedestrian, or at least shaving it close enough to scare the foolhardy walker into getting out the damn way. On the other hand, most people don't want their car to get nicked, scratched, dinged, or otherwise negatively affected, so they are much more judicious around someone wielding a shopping cart.

Perhaps there is something in this. But I still wish I didn't have to run the risk of dinging my car every time I run the shopping cart gauntlet.

by at January 09, 2005 8:28 PM | TrackBack Comments
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