Friday, March 11, 2011

Gripe Of The Week: Stranded shopping carts (Dec. 16, 2006)

Current mood: annoyed

You see them everywhere: Shopping carts sitting in the parking lot, far from the "Place carts here" spaces. Often they will be adjacent to spaces for the handicapped, which I can understand, but seeing those does not annoy me, nor do the ones that congregate by the plaza bus stop. It's all the rest.

I learned at a very young age that you take the cart back to the store, no matter what the weather, no matter how hard someone is crying, no matter how much of a hurry you're in. Just like anything else, if you got it out, you put it back. It may also have had something to do with my father cursing for seven solid minutes about the idiot whose cart rolled 100 feet across the parking lot before clobbering our car as we walked out of the store, leaving a scar on the side that cost close to a thousand dollars (in today's money) to repair.

Every parent knows that the kids love to push the shopping cart in the store. My own kids, as soon as they were capable of walking through the parking lot without Daddy needing to hold their hands, were instructed to grab a cart and bring it in, just like Daddy was doing, and add it to the line of carts outside the store. This in itself was inherently safe, as a child pushing a cart is a whole lot less likely to run in front of a car, or to be missed being seen by a driver.

One hidden aspect in all this is money. Someone gets paid to push carts in, of course, but that person could be doing something else to help customers, like opening up another register so we can get out of there faster. Those pushing devices the bigger stores have also cost money to purchase and operate, which comes out of what you're paying at the store. So don't bitch about long lines or high prices if you leave carts in the lot.

I always bring carts in. I don't know why everyone else doesn't, any more than I don't know why everyone doesn't return the carts they took out. I chalk it up to laziness, I guess, a desire to park as close to the store as possible, as well as selfishness, a desire to get out of the place as fast as possible. So sorry ... tough friggin' luck ... bring in the cart!

On Friday, I unicycled to the plaza about 3/4 miles away, and much to the amusement of fellow shoppers, unked two carts back in from the lot, before making my trip to the bank. The carts I brought in were in the handicapped spaces, which I feel is doing a courtesy to them, since they probably can't help it. Same goes for the carts by the bus stop. If I bus to the plaza, I bring in any carts by the bus stop.

Most of the time, though, I'm in the car. As I pull into the lot, I never park close. Instead, I choose the space nearest the cart stranded the farthest out, and if the kids are with me, instruct them to bring in any others stranded, or at least get them to the cart-parking space.

So, someone please explain to me, why everyone else cannot do that, too? Please reread the first sentence of Paragraph 2 before answering.

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