August 05, 2010

Shopping Carts

At first it was nothing more than a simple disagreement over a parking space. Two drivers spotted the hole and simultaneously made a mad dash for it.  They drove with reckless abandon and a complete disregard for the safety of pedestrians who just happened to be walking from their vehicles to the store entrance.

I know this because I was there and I saw how it all began. I wasn’t one of the drivers that day, just a father who needed to pick up a few items for his family. Just a man who made a point of gathering a few orphaned shopping carts so that they could be escorted back to their stall.

A different man, a better man than I would have done this without regard for self promotion. He would have engaged in random acts of kindness for the sole purpose of making the world a better place and I applaud him for it.

But I am not that man. I didn’t take the carts for the purpose of reuniting them with their families. Their cries of loneliness and incessant bleating didn’t touch my heart. They were an inconvenience that I was unwilling to accept. What can I say, I am intolerant of lost shopping carts and unforgiving of the people who abandon them.

These carts may be made of metal and cheap metal at that, but they deserve more consideration than they are given. They never take a day off from work. They don't call in sick or complain about management. When you need them they are there for you, regardless of whether they have one bad wheel or several.

They don't complain about kids who smash into them at high speed or the elderly who remove them from their lot as short term replacements for their walkers. Nor will you ever hear them speak badly of the giants who leave their shopping lists lying in the basket.

And that reminds me to mention that I am grateful for that very thing. I never make a shopping list in advance. That would be far too easy and make too much sense. It is much more fun just wander the aisles and grab whatever strikes my fancy.

Or alternatively I can use the lists that they leave behind. Adds a little excitement and mystery to my day. I hate cats and would never own one, but if the list says buy kitty litter than I do it. Sometimes it is a bottle of Formula 409 and a box of baking soda.

But it is never more fun than when I find a shopping list for a party. I once came home and unloaded 12 pounds of steak, 38 pounds of potatoes and sixteen cases of beer. Oh and let's not forget a vat of whiskey. Wow, that made for some really good times.

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