By John L. Ross
I walked out of a local grocery store the other day.
It was pouring down rain, and I was running and hopping through the rivers and puddles in the parking lot, fumbling for my car keys.
When I got to the car, I could have exploded.
I hadn’t been in the store for more than 15 minutes, but in that time two different customers decided to leave their shopping carts in the parking lot.
Right against my driver’s side door.
How rude and self-centered are people in this day and age?
Whatever happened to the basic principle of the infamous “Golden Rule?”
I’ll tell you what happened to that principle — day by day it gets trounced upon, sending it further and further toward the brink of extinction.
Of course, this was not the first time some selfish, lazy person decided to pile their shopping cart against my vehicle.
I was living out west, and I was driving an aesthetically-challenged Chevrolet from the early ‘70s.
I was sitting in the car, waiting for the women next to me to load their car with their purchases and get out of the way.
They filled the trunk and then began pushing their shopping cart — stopping against the driver’s side door.
And left it there.
Well, being a bit younger and full of vinegar, I made a nose-dive for the passenger door, jumped out, and got a hold of the cart they’d left.
And swung it around and put it behind their car.
Then I sat on the trunk of my car and awaited the inevitable.
She backed out, and hit the cart.
And jumped out cussing me in another language.
I just laughed out loud, pointing to the shopping cart return.
And then I stopped laughing abruptly, and stared at her.
She stopped cussing me, and got a scared look on her face — and took the cart in an angry huff back to where it belonged.
And I was satisfied — that day.
Another time I was at a shopping center. I can’t remember what I was doing there, but I had several packages to carry when it was time to go.
When I got to the area where I parked the car, I could see my Chevrolet and thought something didn’t look right.
My eyes were not deceiving me.
Some fool had parked his SUV less than an inch from my side-view, driver’s side mirror.
Which meant the chances of me getting my skinny can through there to get into my car were less than none.
Who in their right mind would be so callous?
Again, still young and vinegary, I entered my car through the passenger door.
Then I spent several minutes trying to open the driver door just as hard as I could muster. That driver should consider themselves lucky I couldn’t get more momentum when I was slamming my door against his vehicle.
But it happens everywhere you go anymore. I watched a lady in a busy gas station in Williamsburg block the whole entrance for a good 10 minutes to let someone out of the car to go to work.
I watched a man cut a line of people off in that same gas station parking lot as he was trying to pass a car to be first at the gas pump.
That same candidate for genius status tried the same move in the line inside the store, but chose the wrong fellow to try that trick with — the man threatened violence if he didn’t wait his turn. So when the guy stood behind him but in front of three other people, the first guy turns and says “If you don’t get your (fanny) in the back of that line, I’m gonna throw you back there.”
The attempted line-jumper then fled the scene.
I have a solution for the shopping cart problem. Since people are so rude as to not return them, stores should set up shopping carts on a deposit system.
For example, when I was a kid, if mothers with babies wanted to rent a stroller from the mall, all they had to do was pay $1 deposit in quarters, then they could use the stroller all day.
If they returned the stroller to the booth, they were refunded the $1.
If they wanted to be lazy about it, they lose their $1 deposit.
Stores that utilize shopping carts should follow on the same principle. They would save quite a lot of money paying baggers to collect the carts if this system were put in place.
As far as pushing for re-institution of the Golden Rule, I am at a loss.
Except to try to practice what I’ve “preached.”
Reporter John Ross can be reached at email@example.com.