11 May 2010

on Shopping and Driving

I noticed yesterday that people drive their shopping carts the same way they drive their cars.

Instance 1: Man on Cell Phone
Scenario: I'm driving along in the right lane of a four-lane isle in target. A man takes a right into the isle, merging nicely in behind me, when he decides to step on it and pass me in the left lane. I'm ok with this--I'm going slower, he has the right to pass. As said man begins to speed up beside me, he gets a call on his cell phone. This, of course, causes him to slow down drastically, making the other fast-paced woman behind him come to a halting stop. Now, he's interchangeably increasing and decreasing his speed, not only making it impossible to pass him, but making it impossible for the other cart drivers to maintain a consistent rate of speed until their next isle exits. This man--I hate him. And he doesn't care, because he's on his cell phone and NOTHING ELSE is as important as that.

Instance 2: Soccer Mom in Mini Van
Scenario: The isles are bustling with traffic, each cart driver keeping to his or her own respective space. Some are reaching for pasta sauce, some for cookies, all anxious to go home and cook dinner. But then comes Mad Mom. She's got her two kids strapped into the front of the cart, and they're wailing about not getting toys. She's on a mission. She's gotta get home. She's gotta get the first load in the laundry. She's the only one with rights on the road right now, so get out of her way--and this is all completely logical to her. She's risking her kid's LIVES going 1/4 miles an hour through the isles, weaving in and out of traffic in a real-life Mario (Shopping) Kart. And she's winning.

Instance 3: Guy Who Doesn't Use His Blinker
Scenario: Ok, Ok, I know. Shopping carts don't have blinkers. BUT, there is a common courtesy when shopping that, if one is turning down the isle, he or she looks left, looks right, and looks left again, then heads visibly in the direction of the isle with a smile and a nod. It's a non-verbal communication that is essential to the shopping-with-a-shopping-cart experience, even more necessary when you're at the only grocery store in a 20-mile radius at 5:30 pm on a workday afternoon. But then there's that guy, who rams his cart into the center isle, or jerks into another lane, or cuts you off in the check-out line... all without the slightest signal of intention or direction. But why not? I mean, he's the only person in the store that really matters anyway.

Result: An Open Letter to Shoppers around the World
Dear Shoppers: Please be nice. Please be courteous. Please remember that there are other people who have to get places, too. Stay alive--don't text and drive.