The inspiration for this piece came over the weekend when I was doing some grocery shopping at Harris Teeter. If you know me well, you know I cannot stand – seriously huge pet peeve – when people don’t return their shopping carts to the store or the cart return. It’s really not that hard, and 9 times out of 10, there’ll be some brace-faced teenager bearing down on you to get it.
God help you if you had to saunter your cheesy puff bloated hind side 15 feet across the lot to the cart return, you might not make it home in time to plop down and catch TMZ, American Idol, Jersey Shore or some other brainwashing television show marketed toward the same lazy, dumb masses in this country that keep us ranked towards the bottom in education compared with other Developed Nations (27/36 in Math & in 22/36 in Science in 2006 according to the OECD).
This isn’t some narcissistic display of arrogance and ego on my part, but a simple, irrefutable argument that the vast majority of people in this country are clueless, but we need not look at our dismal education rankings to see the devolution of our society. Take a cursory look around most American communities, and these folks will surely be present – the blue collar worker that keeps betting their weekly earnings at the Food Lion on Scratch off Lottery Tickets, the mindless ditz that thinks reading US Weekly means staying informed, the family that wields the latest cell phone technology but toils to pay off insurmountable credit card debt, and parents devoid of the basic requisite skills condemning their children to a life-long struggle with diabetes with meals that come in a cardboard box and with a toy.
Ok, so I veered slightly off topic, but incompetence, ignorance and idiocy (intended alliteration – thank you) really Grind My Gears (Family Guy).
So, I decided I would experiment. I had a preconceived notion that it was only likely that persons who abandon their carts not only share similar physiques but socioeconomic status as well. They would be the same class of individuals that I ranted about above, but after careful, and I’ll be honest, boring, observation, my analysis proves otherwise. Cart abandoners come in all colors & sizes, are from both Venus and Mars, do not belong to one particular tax bracket (judgement coming from their clothes, car’s make and model, and their overall appearance– yes, I’m prejudice – everyone is, it’s called basing your perception of current and future events on past experiences), and to my surprise, the Obama bumper sticker brigade was not the leading clan of cart abandonment artists.
Below are pictures and comments that I was able to capture before the assailants fled the scene of their quintessential acts of laziness and worthlessness.
The names below are made up, but the encounters were real, and since I didn’t have a pen and paper with me to transcribe the exact detail of the incidents, the dialogue is just from memory.
Bob ~65 years old, Cart guy at Harris Teeter
Me: “Where’s the craziest place you’ve had to retrieve a cart?”
Bob: ”Well, it’s not like folks are out to make my job hard, but they’re just plain lazy. I’ve seen so many folks just leave the cart in the spot beside where the car is parked. Also, they’ll push it towards the store but just leave it in a handicapped spot or in the bushes or on the curb.”
Me: “Lots of t-boned cars in this lot?”
Bob: ”Not as much as you’d expect, but I haven’t bee working here long.”
Cathy, well she looked like a Cathy – shopper, mini-van driver. 2 kids
Me: “Ma’m, why didn’t you return your cart?”
Cathy: No answer.
Me: “Excuse me, you’re only 15 feet from the cart return. Are you just gonna leave your cart where it might hit someone else’s car?”
Cathy: “It’s none of your damn business.” [She drives away…and I laugh. Amazing how flustered and hostile she became. Would hate to rely on her in a heated debate.]
Shontiqua – donning press on nails, highlighted hair, hoop earings & leaving the Dollar Store
Me: “Are you really not going to return your cart?”
Shontiqua: “Whatcha lookin at white boy?”
Me: “Apparently laziness.”
But, after all my ranting, at least it hasn’t grown this bad on the East Coast. Beware, shopping carts could be invading a neighborhood near you. Read here about LA’s abandoned shopping cart epidemic. Maybe Hollywood can incorporate this prevalent phenomenon into the next Vampire/ Werewolf saga movie that only girls between 14 & 24 will care about.
Oh, and there’s a Cart Whisperer out there. Here’s his website.
I plan to keep adding pictures and comments as I encounter them so do check back, and feel free to upload some of your own.