You’ve just started shopping. Your cart’s empty. You walk away, and when you return, your cart is missing.
It has always annoyed me.
But today I was on the other side. Today I stole the shopping cart.
Willa and I went to Fred Meyer’s for some much-needed groceries. It’s always an ordeal. An hour’s drive to town, and an hour home. This time our only other errand was dropping off recycling, but I still had to think about nap, feeding, and diaper schedules.
And where to put Willa while I’m shopping.
My usual trick is to put her, car seat and all, in the cart, packing groceries around her as we go. It works pretty well, until we get to the checkout. Groceries in bags are bigger than groceries not in bags.
Today I had planned to wear Willa in her Ergo carrier. But the logistics of that are tiresome, too, and Willa is the kind of child who wants to see everything. The Ergo is fine for the boring old condo. But in the grocery store? I couldn’t imagine her being happy in a carrier where she’s not facing the world.
So it was back to the car seat in the cart. And the problem of too many groceries.
I decided I would get one of the smaller carts for the overflow once I finished shopping. I would drag the small one behind me with one hand, pushing Willa in the bigger one with the other.
Except that the carts are stored on the other side of the theft-detection monitors.
And I have a deep-seated phobia about people thinking I’m shoplifting.
I kept thinking, “How am I going to get a cart? Maybe I’ll find an empty one somewhere.”
And I did. Close enough to the door that maybe someone meant to abandon it. Far enough that the person may have just walked away for a moment.
I’ll never know.
So the next time someone steals your shopping cart, remember this: maybe it was a stressed-out mama, just trying to figure out how to get her kid and her groceries to the car.
She was hoping you were done with the cart. If you weren’t, she’s really sorry, and she hopes she hasn’t made your day too much more stressful.
Because she’s learned that we’re all just trying to get by, as best we can.
Photo by MIKI Yoshihito, used under a Creative Commons attribution license.