Wednesday, February 20, 2013


Just this afternoon my husband asked me if I had written a blog post recently, and I replied--no.  Well, I hadn't.  I explained that I don't have many new thoughts these days--which is not to say I don't have thoughts...I have many.  But, I am aware that sometimes I cover the same ground.

All was well, and I was content not to have posted anything...and, then--then.  I went to the grocery store.  After I had done my shopping, I loaded my bags into my car, and began to return my grocery cart.  Immediately next to my car was an open parking space, and on the other side of that space was another car, with two women loading up.  They finished as I did, proceeded to get into their car and prepared to drive away.  Just before the driver pulled her door shut, I called out to her--excuse me, this grocery cart (which she had left SMACK in the middle of the parking space between us)--are you done with it?  Why, yes ma'am, she said.  I then asked--did you plan to leave it right there?  Yes, ma'am.  Well I said--I will be happy to return it with my grocery cart, SO SOMEONE ELSE CAN PARK HERE.
WWWP?--I thought.

Remember this rant?  WWWP? See, I keep thinking the same thoughts--and more than five years ago, I ranted, err--posted about this very subject.  And I concluded:  what's wrong with people? 

This particular time, the grocery store was all of three parking spaces away from where the thoughtless shopper had parked.  It really was no big walk.  I shook my head as I walked both carts back to the grocery store.  Amazingly, the woman was completely unfazed--and did not even thank me.

I think I must ascribe to the broken windows theory of society.  The gist of this theory is that an unrepaired broken window in building invites more broken windows.  Vandalism flourishes, trash accumulates, and--next thing you know--things fall apart, the center cannot hold.  There is something to this theory.  When you see something treated carelessly, it takes extra effort to treat it carefully.  And it is so easy to imitate the careless behavior and acquiesce to the degradation.

To my daughter's consternation when she was a little girl, I would pick up trash strewn about the floors of public bathrooms.  Trash invites more trash.  Abandoned grocery carts invite more abandoned grocery carts.  Neglect begets neglect.

A saying attributed to Gandhi is: You must be the change you wish to see in the world.  I don't know if Gandhi really said that, but the idea resonates with me.  Do I wish there weren't grocery carts left here and there in a busy parking lot.  You bet--well, then, I have to be the one to take MINE back and sometimes even someone else's.

But, I will still mutter--WWWP?

Photo:  not mine, but from a site indicating "in the public domain."


Peruby said...

WWWP? Plenty! You chose one of my pet peeves. The grocery cart. I always return mine. I walk it all the way, not just somewhere that people started parking them (like empty spaces).

When I am in a very gracious mood and I see one stranded, I say to myself "Maybe it was a single Mom who had loaded up her baby and could not leave the baby in the car to return the cart."

WWWP? Yep. Plenty!

Anvilcloud said...

This sort of thing drives me nuts. Our grocery store has corals (thank goodness) and most people get their carts there (thank goodness) but most can't be bothered to push them past the entrance so that no one else can get their carts in there. I am the guy who at least moves a few carts to the back. WWWP?

KGMom said...

@Peruby--you are more charitable than I in your thoughts--I assume the person responsible for an abandoned cart is a blot upon humankind.

@AC--we too have nice stalls wherein to park used carts, but this woman would not have returned hers even if she had been parked NEXT to such a stall. She really looked right at me and ignored the fact that she was leaving her cart in the middle of a parking space.

NCmountainwoman said...

This very morning my husband pushed a cart that was left in the middle of the sidewalk.

I have two big WWWP peeves. The first involves people who walk their dogs on our street and don't pick up after them. So we pick up poop from our dogs AND from theirs.

The other is the trash along the NC highways. I have to believe our state is worse than any other when it comes to fast food bags, beer and soda cans, and all sorts of trash. We have organizations who "adopt a mile" and we use prison labor on interstates. Shouldn't have to happen.

Climenheise said...

Mine is picking up trash when walking. Trouble is there's so much I really need to carry a big bag with me, which I don't want to do. Our small city is reasonably well-kept, but there's still plenty to pick up. Some of our local grocery stores use a system by which you have to put a toonie into the cart to release it -- and only get your toonie back when you return it. That helps.

Peruby said...

Climenheise - I had to google what a "toonie" is. LOL! Sheesh. One grocery store does that and it only costs a quarter (twenty-five cents).

I guess this strategy works.

KGMom said...

I'm with you, NC, on also abhoring dog walkers who leave the droppings behind. Grrrrr.

Daryl--interesting idea. I haven't seen that anywhere here.

Jayne said...

This is weird! I know I commented on this via Fb, and yet, it's not here. Hummph.

The grocery cart thing makes me nuts too! At times, I'll see someone load their car, and just leave their cart next to their car as they pull out. Many times, I'll walk by, smile, and take THAT cart into the store. I'd like to think it shames them, but I know better. People who throw out trash from their cars are another thing entirely. That one deed has sealed my impression of their character.

Ginnie said...

The "broken window" theory is actual fact. I saw it so often when I was living in NY City and that was years ago. If there are so many of us who think like you do you'd think things would improve but I guess we just have to keep up our end and HOPE.

troutbirder said...

"It takes a village" was the title of the book. And yet there are risks.... My spouse, a retired junior high teacher, were having dinner at a buffet. She went to the bathroom afterward to find to girls trashing it.... she ordered them to clean up there mess. Later their father approached our table extremely anger that anyone would dar to chastise his innocent daughter. Finally I had to tell him to leave off before it turned really ugly.....:(

Tossing Pebbles in the Stream said...

I am not sure if we are school enough in the ideal of caring about common spaces in a society. I too am a person wno adds other shopping carts to mine as I move toward the store to return my cart. I also pick up litter along the road. I have about a mile of road front property and twice a year I walk it and pick up the trash in the ditches. If one is a walker or hiker it is a good idea to carry a trash bag to pick up trash along the way. t infuriates me the most when people take trash into the bush and drop it off some forest access road. These people a too cheap to pay the fee to drop stuff at the dump. They seem to care nothing for the wonderful natural environment which surrounds us.

Anonymous said...

I have always returned my buggy to the Cart Return, but I confess I'd just shove it in until a friend of mine one day mentioned that one of her pet peeves was people who just slap-happily shoved their cart in when lining them up allowed many more carts in. She had no idea I was one of the guilty parties. Thereafter, I have arranged the carts in a neatly nested line when I take mine back.

I agree with you completely. I also am mystified as to why the big honkin' SUV's are the ones that park in the fire lanes.