Sunday, September 11, 2005

Cart Wheel

How many of you have pulled out a shopping cart, noticed that someone left a plastic bag or a newspaper advertisement or some other innocuous piece of debris in the cart, pushed the cart into the foyer and grabbed another one? You! Yeah, you. I’m looking at you because I’ve seen you do it. You know who you are.

So, this afternoon I’m going to be in and out. Fast. No browsing. I have my list and I plan to use it. Ten minutes, max.

I entered Kroger’s through the automatic doors that always remind me of the Starship Enterprise. Sometimes I think “Scotty, status report!” Sometimes aloud.

“Mommy, that man is talking to himself.”

“Don’t stare, sweetie, maybe he has one of those cell phone ear things.” Or maybe not, Mommy’s thinking.

The cart with a waded up, empty, vegetable bag was out in the open. Two people in front of me saw the cart, saw the bag and selected another cart. What’s the big deal, I thought, it’s only a bag and like the fool I am, I decided to take the cart and “show them all.”

Big mistake.

I was cruising along through the bread section when it happened. The front right wheel pivoted and locked. The cart suddenly veered to the right and I crashed into the bagel table. Several people stopped to stare. Surprised but undaunted, I backed the cart out, picked up the packages of bagels I had knocked off the table and hustled off to the vegetable section.

Along the way the cart locked and veered two or three more times. I hit the salad bar and a little kid who I admonished for "getting in my way."

Ah, so. Haunted cart. Just my luck.

Moving through the fruits and vegetables the cart began to lock up and veer more frequently. I found that I had to push hard with my right hand while pulling hard with my left hand just to keep a nearly straight line.

I began to berate the cart for bad behavior.

Ordinarily, muttering (actually more like snarling and threatening) to oneself in a supermarket will get one noticed at the least. Coupled with erratic movements, lurching, crashing into displays and more lurching turns out to be magical.

People get out of your way.

As I picked up my final item and lurched towards the check-out line my arms were tired, I was sweating profusely, I was snarling much more loudly and I had developed a particular gait that enabled me to keep the cart on more or less a straight path if I thrust out my right leg and hopped twice with my left.

There I was snarling, sweating, thrusting, hopping and don’t forget lurching, my goal in sight: check-out line number 3.

I heard a little voice behind me.

“Mommy, that man is walking funny.”

Mommy bent down to her daughter and said, “Sweetie pie, some people have to learn to cope with disabilities beyond their control. But, look, doesn’t he push his cart well!”


Bente said...

A couple months ago the wheel went flying off my shopping cart. I was stuck in the middle of the aisle trying to figure out what to do when a helpful employee came with a new cart for me. I was actually embarassed even though it was not at all my fault!

Anonymous said...

If there's a trash can nearby, and the trash in the cart isn't too wet or dirty, I'll go ahead and throw it away. I'll also give it a bit of a "test drive" and make sure nothing's wobbling. Sounds like you got one with an intermittent axle obstruction.

Apple said...

LOL! That's hilarious! The otherwise crazy cart is the one that has the wheel that won't stop the wrong direction - of course.

Anonymous said...

I laughed so hard I tooted a bit!

Bill said...

That will be our little secret, Kismet!

DC Adams said...

I always make sure that I never get a bum cart. I like to ride the cart around my Safeway grocery store, so it has to have good wheels and no trash. Now that I have a daughter, I make my wife get 2 carts so I can wheel around and ride it like an oversized skateboard while she pushes the kid in the other cart. She thinks I am being considerate!

Unknown said...

You must have been quite a sight! Very funyy.

Kroger, test computer, custom sammiches. It all sounds so earily familiar. Except for the Dean and Doluca reference I'd swear you live in BN and work at the Farm.

Anyway, at my old beloved ghetto Kroger all the carts had garbage in them. I just ignore it as long as it's store detrius and not someone's personal garbage.