Saturday, August 27, 2011

The Runaway Shopping Cart

I love those new shopping carts at Target. They have a modern look to them, almost like they came out of The Jetsons or something. The rounded corners are particularly appealing, they aren't as easy to get hurt on. They're particularly easy to push, smoother than most shopping carts.

Kudos also to those half shopping carts that they are beginning to have at supermarkets. I've seen them at Roche Bros., Whole Foods, and now even Stop & Shop. It's good because when you take a full cart you almost feel like you have to fill it up. For some reason it doesn't seem right to push a cart around with one or two items in it, unless of course they are big, heavy items and then it's perfectly acceptable. The full cart is almost the stores way of guilting you into buying things that you really don't need. I have better will power than the majority of people, I'm usually good at only buying what I need, but a half cart helps to ease the guilt.

Although I love shopping carts, I cannot tell you about anything more annoying than coming out of a store, walking to my car, and finding a shopping cart within a 20 foot radius of my car, unless of course I have parked next to a shopping cart return portal. I can honestly tell you that at times I have parked as far from the store that I am going into as possible because no one else parks there which typically means there will be no chance of a shopping cart damaging my car.

I've been thinking about this lately though, and it really isn't the shopping cart damaging my car, it's my fellow human being. Is it me, or have people developed a more lax attitude in the past 10 years? I never remember finding so many carts traveling aimlessly around parking lots and finding their way into people's cars like magnets as I have lately. I am not going to discriminate and tell you that I see more at certain stores, or in certain towns or cities. I will tell you that I do notice patterns, yes, I do keep track of this in my head. I think of it as my own personal sociology experiment. I may even start keeping a log of some sort.

Last January, I was in a three car collision that was not my fault and the rear bumper of my car was destroyed. I brought my car to the collision shop where they gave my car a brand new bumper. I have never had anything new for my car; I bought it used. I got my car back sometime towards the end of February, and was out with a friend at a shopping center near their home less than one month later. I came out to my car to find a cart had been left near my car, and it was touching the rear bumper. Sure enough, when I removed the cart there were several deep black scratches on my tan car. Clearly, I was a victim of someone who couldn't bother to bring their cart back, and as a result it damaged my car. I can almost guarantee that if the person who damaged my car had their car damaged, they would be even more up in arms and angry than I was at the time.

I think what it comes down to at the end of the day is values. People in general have little to no respect for another person's property. I don't know whether it has do with the change in times, how people are raised now, or maybe I am just around more rude people than I am used to being around. I was raised to believe in the golden rule, not the rule that says, "whoever has the gold makes the rules", but the rule that says, "treat other people the way you would wanted to be treated." Even if you want to make the argument that you don't care about your car getting scratched by a shopping cart, it doesn't mean the someone else wants it to happen to their car. Some people take great pride in their cars. I know people who wash and vacuum their cars every week whether it needs it or not.

Secondly, Call me crazy, but people in the medical and health fields keep talking about the problem we have with obesity and depression in this country, wouldn't we be helping that problem if we walked and little bit more, hence, bringing our carts back to shopping cart return portals or God forbid, the storefront itself?

Personally, I use the time returning my shopping cart to de-stress. You would be amazed what a difference that three minutes makes in helping me to clear my mind and unplug from a stressful day. We are all in such a hurry all the time, but just where is it exactly that we're racing to? Is it to the end of our lives? Are we racing to life as the lax, valueless people we've become? "Life is a journey, not a race," that's an old proverb I like to keep handy. So next time you think about not returning your shopping cart think about where it is exactly that you're racing to, and think about shopping carts racing into cars, maybe even yours.

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