Monday, October 03, 2005

Why why WHY with the shopping carts!!!

Few things chap me more than to see someone leave their shopping cart next to someone else's car and then drive away. One of my all-time biggest pet peeves. Why do people do that? Why litter the landscape with your leftovers? Do you allow your kids to leave their shoes out so someone else has to deal with them? No! It's a matter of respect for those around you. Just walk it to the Cart Caddy, it ain't that hard! (Or Kart Kaddy - it's an east coast/west coast thing... I believe Southerners prefer Buggy Corral).

One day not long ago I was in line behind a lady at the Winco store who, upon emptying her grocery order out of the cart, left said cart at the end of the conveyor belt and proceeded through the line. I was instantly irritated when I realized that, not only did she have no intention of putting her cart away but she was just leaving it there in the check-out line!

She was fashionably clad in her yoga pants and teeny tiny hoodie sweatshirt, all cuteness and health, quite easy on the eyes I must say. I'm secure enough in my womanhood to say quite frankly that she was enjoyable to look at. But you could tell she knew it. I hate that. And she had that intolerable "my car is bigger and better than yours and my kids are smarter" attitude about her and I hate that even more. Two strikes - prettier than me AND snobbish.

I locked eyes with the kid in the cart behind me, who incidentally had his index finger knuckle-deep in his sinuses picking for all he was worth. We agreed: this lady was goin' down. I swear I could hear the music from "The Good, the Bad & the Ugly" in the background.

I decided right then and there that she wasn't going to get away with it. I took one look at her and knew this woman had been leaving empty grocery carts in parking lots all over town for years. Well no sir, not this time! I was going to win one for the Gipper! (Okay, by the way, who the heck is the Gipper and why can't that guy win anything on his own?)

Anyway, I smiled sweetly and pushed her cart over to her saying, "here ya go." (cue a cute little chuckle and another sweet smile.) She just looked down at the cart, then glanced smugly up at me and kept moving through the line. Unbelievable.

When she was paying for her groceries, I pushed her cart to her again (because she'd completely ignored it sitting there in the line) and I said, "boy, this thing just keeps trying to get away from you!" (chuckle chuckle smile smile.) Again, she just looked at me! I couldn't believe it. I looked around to see if I was the only one noticing this. Even The Picker was speechless.

It seemed as though my patented smile-disarmingly-distract-them-with-my-super-cute-baby-in-the-carseat-nicey-nice approach was getting me nowhere. Dang. It always works on old men. But apparently this lady's hearing and eyesight were better than that of the last old man I'd encountered. Oh well, that's fine. I can be direct. I looooove to be direct. heeeeee!

Now the woman had finished bagging her groceries and was walking away without her cart! I called out, "just a moment ma'am, here's your cart." Still polite but very direct. On the Emily Post scale of 1-10, I'd say I rated an 8. Yoga Pants had the nerve to whip that perfectly highlighted blond ponytail of hers around and snap, "I was done with it!"

This was it --- the moment! My opportunity to win one small battle in the war fought every day by grocery store employees the world over. Nobody asked me to be their poster child but I volunteered for the job! I love a good fight! I strapped on my pink flack jacket with the batenburg lace utility pockets and the little sterling silver heart thingy on the zipper pull and marched straight to the front lines.

Yoga Pants pivoted on her Reeboks and faced me, clearly irritated at having to explain the obvious to the likes of me. I gathered my skirts about me and set my feet, I squared my shoulders, flared my nostrils and retorted "Well what makes you think the rest of the world wants to clean up after you? Put.. your cart.. away!"

There was a collective intake of breath the likes of which I've never heard. The Picker stopped picking. The checker stopped checking, her fingers poised above the cash register keys, and surveyed the scene, no doubt wondering if Olaf from produce was within earshot. Nobody moved. Nobody breathed.

It was at that moment that I realized I hadn't been breathing either. I was busy planning my hasty escape via the back door. If I exploded my bag of flour in a cloud of smoke I was sure I could outrun her.

It seemed like an eternity but in reality it was only a few seconds before she grabbed her cart and with a mighty "hrumph" flounced off in the direction of the Cart Caddy, perfectly highlighted blond ponytail and all.

The Picker resumed his picking, the checker resumed her checking, and Olaf went back to his asparagus display. All was quiet again. Dellaina the Great had fought and won. I rewarded myself with a double tall hazelnut mocha at Starbucks and wondered if I could expect a thank you note from the Gipper.

I've since wondered if Yoga Pants continues to leave her carts for others to shag up or if she actually puts them away. I'll probably never know. Hopefully she thinks about me every time she picks up her husband's underwear.

I've also wondered if The Picker's finger would stick like that if I smacked him on the back. But some things are just better left alone, eh?
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