It’s time for a trip to the grocery store. You find a convenient parking space, sensitively dodge the panhandlers, and locate a clean looking shopping cart. You give it a couple of test pushes, making sure it’s not one of those janky carts you always seem to get stuck with. It glides like the hot butter you’ll be cooking with later on. Triumphantly, you push your produce chariot through the carpeted lobby. When you hit the tiled floor of the store’s interior, your cart starts suddenly hitting invisible potholes. Grocery baggers and cashiers stop what they’re doing to see what could be making such a commotion, as though this is something surprising and not an assuredly constant occurrence. How did this happen?
Begrudgingly, you return to the cart receptacle to select a different vessel. You make a selection and once more give a couple test pushes. Everything seems to check out, but this feels a little too familiar. After running a few ocular diagnostics on the wheels— as if you’d even know what to look for— things seem to be in working order. Unfortunately, you’ve been swindled a second time, and this new cart is even worse than the first. “It’s just a cart,” you tell yourself, “get over it and buy the damn groceries.”
This is my Groundhog Day, yet without the charm or valuable life lessons of that famous Bill Murray film (also with 100% less Andie MacDowell and ice-sculpting). All through the store, pushing what sounds like an active jackhammer, I turn heads and catch quizzical eyebrows from fellow shoppers as if this were somehow my fault. The vibrations travel up my hands, through my arms, and make their way into my gradually hardening heart, while I watch my carefully selected items jostle to and fro. I’m done with it. From here on out, I’m doing us all a service and taking these over-the-hill mobile food cages out to pasture. They’ll get one more sentimental lap around the “farm,” then I’m taking them out back for the “Old Yeller treatment.” Someone has to start this revolution, and if no one else is willing to step up and be the hero we deserve right now, I’m willing to be that guy.
It is possible, however, I’m not alone. Perhaps, these heroes already exist and we haven’t even realized it. Think of all those times you have seen a shopping cart on the side of the road, miles away from any grocery store. Could that be the work of a like-minded cart vigilante? Someone so fed up with the cycle of shopping cart frustration, that they pushed it as far away from the store as they could stand? Whoever these people are, and whatever their motives, I commend them. That’s one less cart for me to have to send to the great grocery store in the sky.