I’ve had it up to here *pointing to my eyeballs* with people and their shopping carts. I don’t know if it’s the warm weather, or the general decline of common decency, but within the past week, I’ve been especially annoyed by the way people behave in the grocery store. My primary concern is their appalling use of shopping carts.
Case and point. I was at Costco last week and stepped a few feet away from my cart to grab something high off a shelf. The woman in front of me didn’t like the position of my cart, and instead of asking me if I could move it or discreetly repositioning it herself, she decided that the best way to achieve her desired effect was to play bumper carts. She rammed my cart with hers: “CRASH!” My cart went careening down the isle. I turned around to see it rolling quickly past me, and another one had taken its place. I dropped the item I was grabbing and chased after my cart, to keep it from plowing into other customers who weren’t paying attention to the spectacle.
You want more examples? I’ve got plenty.
Today, I was at Costco once again (yes, I’m there a lot-you’ve got to love those samples and cheap books). Our Costco parking lot was designed by 4-year-olds. It takes forever to get to the parking area, let alone locate a suitable spot. Now, it’s complicated by the obstacle course of carts, left by people who don’t want to return them. I’m used to watching people abandon their carts any old place, but I witnessed a completely new tactic today. The woman parked next to me didn’t want to walk the 20 steps to the cart storage spot, but using only 5 steps, she could push the cart out of the parking lot completely. That would at least get it out of the way for the cars, right? I watched this woman take a running start with the cart, and shove the cart with all her might so it cleared a curb, sailed down a hill, and landed at the bottom on some grass. To my astonishment, I noticed several other carts in the same area. There were other people like her, 8 of them to be precise!
But wait, there’s more!
This appears to be a cross cultural phenomenon. I went to my favorite Asian market on Monday, and like usual, I couldn’t find one of the items that I needed (The organizational logic to Asian markets completely baffles me). A helpful clerk came to assist me, and I abandoned my cart in an un-busy isle while I followed him to locate the miniature dried shrimp that I’d failed to locate with the rest of the produce (of course!). I returned to the vacant isle with no sign of my cart. Wherever did it go? Scratching my head, I retraced my steps. Did I bring it with me to fetch the shrimp? No. I zigzagged back across the enormous Asian market (this thing has about 15 isles), searching for my cart, but to no avail. What happened? I’d only left it unattended for 2-3 minutes, max. Now, suspicious that somebody else liked my selection of random pieces of produce, spices, and cans of coconut milk, I began eyeing people’s carts. I discovered that people don’t like it when you stare into their carts. I got lots of nasty looks (translates “go away” in all languages). I also didn’t find my cart. Finally, after giving up, and heading to the fish counter to watch the fish swim in the tank for awhile (I needed something tranquil to ameliorate my nerves), I noticed a cart pushed behind one of the fish display cases. Someone had moved my cart to the back of the store, a good 4 isles away from where it had been, and shoved it behind a cooler. The nerve! I really have no explanation for this one. Personally, I think somebody was just plain messing with me. It’s possible that an annoyed customer didn’t like the fact that I abandoned a cart and wanted it out of the way, way out of the way. Any way you slice it, whoever moved it wasn’t very concerned about the person using that cart.
Am I the only one witnessing such behavior? I’ve got more stories to share, but I think I’ll wrap it up now. I’ll save you the one about my neighbor who stole a cart to take her dog for walks in it…
I’m sure that I’m not always the paragon of cart virtue (I sometimes walk away with other people’s carts without realizing it. Hey, maybe that’s what happened to my cart in the Asia market!). However, I try to be cognizant of the way my choices reflect the God that I serve. If we are to show the love of Christ to others, what would that look like in the grocery store?
My main concern is that we think about how we’re representing Christ, not just with our carts, but also with our cars, and with our boats, and with our skate boards. Are we being rude and inconsiderate to others in public? How does that reflect back on Jesus?