See That Horizontal Metal Bar? That One, Yes.

A grocery cart abandoned

Peeves are not what I blog about. Today’s an exception.

Moving to the back of an elevator, standing to the right on an escalator, pushing your cart over to the supermarket shelf if you need to stop (as opposed to leaving the honker smack-dab in the middle of the aisle, what are you thinking?) – those are actions many people take almost instinctively. It’s part of taking up one’s own space, part of leaving space for others.

Same with cars. Stay in your lane unless passing, then signal and scoot. Saves space, saves time, saves anger, as this article regarding road rage in Delhi shows – lanes being totally optional in the capital city of India. Yet we can all do our bit toward creating a more civil world, and we needn’t point accusatory fingers at Asian drivers.

How about grocery carts in the parking lot? Let’s start there. You roll out, find your car, open the trunk, stow your purchases (perhaps kids, as well), then take that cart and . . . shove it? Leave it lonely and subject to smash?

You probably roll it over to the cart corral (two points), where you then . . . shove it?

Ohhhh, nooooo, Mr. Bill!

See, the cart corral was designed to stow carts in rows. Two, three, four parallel rows. If you blindly shove your cart in its general direction, even if you roll it into the corral and leave it a foot or so from the next cart – or, if you’re the gold-medal first one, from the horizontal metal bar ahead – your cart doesn’t yet have the brains and self-propulsion to move itself into line.

That’s up to you, the human.

This is just like getting onto an elevator and moving to the back, except that instead of your body, the act involves returning an item you used as a body extension – don’t have that many hands, do we? – to its proper place and allowing other people to do the same, thus avoiding the sickening crunch as an improperly stowed cart loses its grip and rolls backward into a car. Enter insurance guys, whom everyone adores.

Do your part, people. Push the cart all the way into the corral in line with others. It’ll take just two more seconds of your life and make you feel clean and tidy and virtuous, which gains you another two points.

Teach others this skill, and you got game.

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