A MIXED-MESSAGE NUISANCE – Marilyn Armstrong

Word Prompt: Nuisance


Speaking of shopping carts, this is one of those love-hate relationships. When I am leaning on a shopping cart, I can move through a grocery store with the best of them. I lean forward a bit, my back sighs with relief.

The wheels will take me wherever I need to go.

Left to their own devices, outside in the parking lot, shopping carts roll. Unless you have an awfully flat lot — and we don’t — they not only roll, but they wander as they roll. Because the wheels are never level or even.

Despite having installed storage areas throughout the parking lot– and of course, there’s always the option of walking your cart back to the store — people just leave them wherever they are. This wouldn’t be so bad, but they roll.

Then they roll into your car. They cause accidents. They bang into people in wheelchairs. They run over small children. They block parking spaces. They make driving lanes un-drivable.

All of which could be easily fixed by returning the cart to the store. After all, how much time would it take? A few minutes? Or even less time, putting it in one of the many stalls designed for that purpose?

I couldn’t shop without one. Neither could many of the disabled people and senior citizens who really need that cart in the shop.

So folks? Be nice. Take the cart and return to a place where it won’t roll elsewhere. Not into a car, a kid, or a driving lane.

Or my door!

Author: Marilyn Armstrong

Writer, photography, blogger. Previously, technical writer. Retired! Yay!

26 thoughts on “A MIXED-MESSAGE NUISANCE – Marilyn Armstrong”

    1. We always return our cart to a proper space. Never just leave it in an idle spot in the parking lot. Seems so irresponsible and often dangerous. I feel the same way about returning items to their proper space.shelf if you don’t want them. You don’t just shove them in any space without any afterthought.

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  1. We used to have those coin operated ones where I lived in Hallett Cove and it worked quite well for a while as kids would often grab the trolleys and take them back for the money but now I don’t suppose it would, twenty cents would not be enough incentive for a child even if they looked up from their phones long enough to notice. As for the adults well who carries change any more? Me, but who else?
    I have always made a point of returning the trolley to the nearest bay but they do get stolen a lot and you see them being fished out of rivers, abandoned on waste ground or in somebody’s back yard.

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  2. In France and Switzerland (but not in UK) you can only ‚unleash‘ your trolley by putting a token, coin or equivalent into the slot which then pushes back the chain of the next shopping cart and releases the first one. Easy peasy. And the carts come back because you need your token again next time……
    Why not ‚chez vous‘?

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    1. Because people really hated it and would go to whatever supermarket DIDN’T require some kind of payment for the cart. In the end, the issue was “do you want clients or carts?” They went with clients. Fortunately, it’s a small town, so mostly, the carts don’t go very far. And mostly, they eventually come back.

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  3. Too many people just can’t be bothered, plain and simple. It’s a battle I’ve been fighting since I started working in retail 20 years ago, and everyone just assumes WE’RE the lazy ones because we don’t have someone on the lot 24/7 to instantly scoop your shopping cart up. “It’ll give them something to do” is what I overhear a lot when a customer does something like that… or carelessly leaves merchandise they no longer want on a random shelf…. including things out of the cooler and frozen cases. Everyone always assumes that as a customer, there is someone else out there whose task it is to clean up after your lack of courtesy. I know many of the people who do this don’t have maids or servants working for them at home to tidy up their messes, so I don’t understand why they suddenly decide to be so lazy out in public…

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    1. I remember — years ago — my first husband was returning the cart to the store and a slightly retarded guy told him to stop doing that because this was the only job he could get and if everyone returned the carts, there’d be no work for him. After that, he ALWAYS left the car in the lot.

      But people really are careless of the people who work in shops. I think they always were. When there were more people, the people who worked there were like body servants seeking and finding sizes and color and bringing and returning. Unless you work in a store (I have, though fortunately, not recently) and my son has always worked retail, you don’t get it. But when it’s “in the family,” you begin to realize how utterly rude and uncivilized most shoppers are. And I suppose it’s even worse at the huge Mecca store they are building.

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  4. If it’s any consolation, probably all parking lots in supermarkets are sloped away from the store, so that the runoff from rain and melting snow flows downhill AWAY from the store itself. If it didn’t, every heavy rain would be an uphill swim, like salmon spawning, and since stores no longer have entrance steps, there’s no barrier to keep the water out.

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  5. I think there should be shopping cart cops. If you leave it out and don’t take 2 seconds to return it or put it in one of the holders, $25 first offense, $50 for the second, $100 for the third and $1000 every time after that. People would no longer leave them to just float around….

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    1. Covert, years and years ago, in another life, I worked as a children’s shoe salesman. Many of the other sales folks would return shoes to the wrong places. It drove me bonkers.

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  6. I fully agree. Even hubby, who seriously couldn’t breath in his last months, would take the danged things back to the store. I solved the dilemma by becoming so immobile that I use one of those driveable carts where one sits and complains because everything one wants is on the TOP SHELF. Seriously. Nice thing about the wheelie? Some bag boy or girl (I would have said bag person, but that just sounds like some homeless body looking for a few coins to ME) comes with me to the parking lot, helps me unload my meager groceries, and drives the thing back into the store. Valet shopping cart services in a sense. Maybe the stores should start offering THAT. Nah. They’d only raise their prices..

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  7. Pre the coin operated trolleys (carts) it occasionally used to happen in the UK. Today it costs £1.00 to use a trolley, almost all supermarkets have them, it works well with no abandoned trolleys. There is one supermarket I sometimes use that changed back to the coin free trolley. It’s a slightly more upmarket store than some of the others, and all trolleys appear to be returned to the appropriate trolley areas.

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      1. At the moment the UK £1.00 isn’t doing brilliantly, the exchange rate is $1.70 Canadian dollars and $1.29 American dollars. We put a £1 in our trolleys and I always keep a couple in the car. You can also buy a disc on a key ring that fits all trolleys, very handy to have one of those if you don’t lose it in some unused handbag (purse) like I have!
        It works over here, no one ever abandons a trolley. By the way the trolleys for the disabled are free, and the disabled can ask for assistance from the staff if they are unable to shop alone.

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