On Shopping Carts

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This post is about a cart, basket, buggy, trolley, carriage, trundler, barrae, coohudder, bascart, and wagon – and all of these may be preceded by grocery, shopping, and supermarket. For me, it’s a grocery cart. Then again (in my mind), the same cart in a different store could be a shopping cart or just a cart.

Long-time readers here know that I enjoy playing golf. While golf carts have a different application than carts at the grocery, I enjoy this 30-second commercial from the past that combines those two thoughts.

 

Back at the store and regardless of terminology, grocery carts haven’t been around forever. Sylvan Goldman, a Oklahoma City grocery owner, invented this wheeled apparatus in 1937. Before then, shoppers used a hand-carrying basket. Goldman’s idea had a simple purpose – allow shoppers to buy more! Have you noticed a grocery cart looks like a big basket (without handles) on wheels?

Having gone through various design changes since Goldman’s first edition, carts during my youth were the basically same from store to store (well, other than the feature identifying the store). Through the years, their size has increased to reinforce the belief that size matters. On one hand, this is a contradiction because people eat outside the home more.

On the other hand, today’s grocery stores are larger, offer more products, and some include clothing, home goods, hardware, sporting goods, and lawn & garden. Therefore the cart must be large enough to contain canned vegetables, milk, cereal, pasta, a toaster oven, a laundry hamper, package of underwear, a set of socket wrenches, a flower pot, an ornamental shrub, and a bag of mulch.

Through the years, I’ve been the primary grocery shopper in our home – so, I notice shopper behaviors as well as their carts. Store aisles are typically wide enough for two carts to carefully pass – but not much more. After all, stores must maximize space for stuff to buy!

Given the tight quarters, I’ve consider the idea that shoppers should pass a grocery cart operating test before being allowed to use one. For instance, shoppers should never stop the cart on one side of the aisle, and then stand beside the cart while analyzing shelf products on the opposite side. Never block an aisle. Never!

From Wikipedia

I’ve often thought that grocery should hire plain-clothed cart police to issue citations for poor cart management. Then again, that would be effective only if all stores participated with equal scrutiny. Other times I wonder if I should carry a prod to shock people for improper cart management. Clear the aisle, here comes the crazy man with the stick!

As I think about my primary grocery store, they offer full-sized carts, mini-carts (for shoppers with a short list), and two sizes of hand-carrying baskets. Battery-operated riding carts for elderly and the disabled are a great addition – but should operators be subject to standards by passing a test or attending a class?

Sean Dreilinger via Flickr Creative Commons

Oh wait – there are more carts! How about the carts the size of a stretched limo because they have a car attached to the front so a kid can ride while the parent shops. Of course, this is done to entertain the child so they don’t disrupt other shoppers with loud squalls. However, ever notice how much space those thing require to turn the corner from one aisle to the next?

If the limos aren’t bad enough, how about he miniature carts for a kid to push around. Beyond the “how cute” aspect, what the hell do they know about cart etiquette? Then again – the price we pay for another squalling-prevention technique.

Unfortunately, stores won’t require a shopping cart operating license – nor hire a team of undercover shopping cart gestapo – and I won’t be taking a shocking device with me to the store. But, at least I got this heavy burden off my chest – not that my message will do any good for society because two past posts (one and two) about grocery carts and shoppers didn’t change behaviors.

On the positive side, grocery carts can be a source of amusement – as Exhibit A below shows.

On Respect

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On 2nd October I did a post On Respect, one that I featured a 5-minute speech by a USAF Lt. General. Reactions to the post were positive in many ways with several comments mentioning that respect starts at the top.

Yes – respect starts at the top of each family teaching others the meaning of respect while modeling respectful behaviors.

Yes – respect starts at the top in every school classroom with its teacher leading the way.

Yes – respect starts at the top in every school building with its principal dealing with the staff and students.

Yes – respect starts at the top in every school district with top leadership in their dealing with the district staff and the community it serves.

Yes – respect starts at the top of every group, department, section, division, and headquarter of every corporation across the world.

Yes – respect starts at the top of every customer service organization as it deals with the public it serves.

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Yes – respect starts at the top of every local, state, and national government entity on how it deals with its constituents and opponents.

Yes – respects at the top, and President Trump displays more disrespect than any American leader in my lifetime. He’s a pathetic role model, but he is not a reason to disrespect nor he is the cause of disrespect.

Yes – respect starts at the top for individuals in every human encounter regardless of background, position, gender, ethnicity, age, religion, skin color, and more.

Yes – respect starts at the top when one says Respect your elders – but that doesn’t give the elders the right to disrespect – nor does elder status command automatic respect.

Yes – respect starts at the top of every human encounter – but “the customer is always right” doesn’t mean the customer can be disrespectful to customer service employees.

Yes – respect starts at the top – but there are many tops, and each of us are top in many situations.

Yes – respect starts at the top – and each of us are at the top – Respect starts with yourself, then one can respect others.

Yes – respect start at the top of each individual – in the head containing a brain – the center of all choices each person makes in personal and cyber encounters.

A person is a person – no matter how small. (Dr. Seuss)

On a Bit of Kindness

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Although kindness comes in many forms, I wonder about human beings. Are we naturally selfish? Are we naturally positive or negative? How much of our behavior is innate as opposed to learned?

As a person who enjoys staying informed by watching the news, I realize most news stories typically focus on something negative. After all, when the station does a short positive story near the end of the telecast, it seems out-of-place.

On the other hand, I’m a firm believer that the majority of the world is good – which means I’m confident that the majority of people in people in international hotbeds are good. Yes, I believe the majority of people in Iran, China, Venezuela, Syria, Afghanistan, Russia, and all countries are good. After all, smiles and kindness are accepted with gratitude even with barriers in place as language, culture, and government..

Maybe all this is a reason that those simple positive news stories get my attention – and sometimes bringing a tear to my eye as the story touch my heart and reinforced my belief in kindness across the role. It’s been a long time since I focused a post on goodness, so it’s about time I get my act together! 🙂

I saw this not long ago on the Today show, so I’m glad the story is still available. NBC’s Hoda Kotb dressed up as a metermaid – an officer with a duty of issuing parking violations. Click here to watch the video, and enjoy!

On Exploring a Duet

Duet …
… two working together working together as one
… a pair performers working in concert with one another
… a duo, twosome, match, dyad, a couple a pair

There has to be chemistry in a duet, but if you go beyond the point of friendship and attraction, you lose something. (Kenny Rogers, entertainer)

To sing a duet together means sharing with someone both the pleasure and the responsibility of making music for an audience which is there to feel enjoyment through music. (Andrea Bocelli, singer)

Our mind is capable of passing beyond the dividing line we have drawn for it. Beyond the pairs of opposites of which the world consists, other, new insights begin. (Hermann Hesse, novelist)

Marriage should be a duet – when one sings, the other claps. (Joe Murray, artist)

Enjoy this animation by Glen Keane with this question in mind: What meaning do you apply to this Duet?

On Grocery Store Incidents

A grocery store is a wonderful place to witness a wide range of human behavior. Maybe that is a reason I used the marketplace in past posts. My recent trips brought these situations to my attention.

I cannot believe the idea came to me too late. A lady, who was buying a regular size bag of potato chips, was in front of me in the self-checkout aisle. I got the impression that she just put some money on a gift card, which had made its way through the cybermaze. The clerk got involved and directed the lady to the service counter. Then it hit me – I should have purchased the chips for her.

Some things make me feel guilty. For instance, one time I went back to the bank after discovering the clerk gave me 12 cents too much. Recently, I couldn’t pass on the calling from the Cadbury Egg display. Once I got to the car, I noticed I did not run egg through the scanner because it was still in the cart – not a bag. Heck yes I ate it, but several days later when I returned to the store, I paid for the egg with one from the display, and then returned the egg to the display

On the way out of the store, someone left a cart in the middle of a parking space, which was a space-and-a-half from the cart corral. To top it off, it was in the middle of a handicap parking spot. I pushed the cart into the stall, but I admit mumbling unkind thoughts. Later I wondered if the guilty party was physically capable of pushing the cart to its rightful spot. I will never know, and will not venture to guess – but I do wonder.

Past Grocery Store Posts

On Freeing a Burden

With Christians all over the world in the midst of Holy Week that leads up to the pinnacle of the Christian calendar and the foundation for the Christian faith, this post gives you something to ponder.

People activate a variety of feelings within us. Although the feelings can be positive or negative, people can make us angry, bitter, instill anguish, feel rejected or unloved, scared or stressful.

The Christian God is one of love, grace, acceptance, peace, and forgiveness; however, we live in a world in which we encounter circumstances and people that push our button of negative emotions.

While God gives us his unconditional love and grace to all, we allow the actions of others to act as a heavy collar of burden to drag us down in daily life.

While God is the ultimate forgiver of the sins we commit during our earthy existence, our pride (much of the time) blocks us from doing what God would do – and that is to forgive.

From his book Christianity and Process Thought: Spirituality for a Changing World, Dr. Joseph Bracken (retired professor of theology, Xavier University), writes this enlightening words.

Especially in his healing ministry, Jesus touched the minds and hearts of those around him. He cured their physical diseases, but above all, he offered them forgiveness of their sins. Thereby, he assured them that he cared for them as the unique individuals that they really were. He restored to them the humanity that they had somehow lost in the sordid scramble for the good things of the world. All that he asked in return was that they be as humane to one another as he had been to them, that they extend to one another the same practical forgiveness of sins as he had offered to them.

So while we carry the yoke of pent-up anger, bitterness, resentment, rejection, hurt, fear, stress, and other related emotions caused by others, we must remember that the beneficiary may not comprehend or appreciate your act, it is your forgiveness to others that will lead you to a new freedom in life that is without the yoke of burden. Yes, another version of a Judaism Passover theme of “triumph over adversity.”

Happy Easter to we Christians…. and yes, Happy Pesach to those in Judaism.

On Christians, Jews, Vulcans, and Valentine

Although not published on this day, I happen to be writing this post on Yom Kippur – the Jewish Day of Atonement. I’m not Jewish, but I do believe that not only do different religions have some things in common, but “other than your own” religions provide principles that are important in helping a person live a spiritual life.

On Yom Kippur Jews use prayer to be retrospective on their own life, and then seek forgiveness for their wrong doings against God. By looking within at they have been and how they can be better, Jews use three steps of repentance: recognize, acknowledge, and resolve.

We live in age of town hall cranks, self-serving politicians, reality-show television, smack talk, obnoxious talk-show hosts and their listeners who help proclaim the spews of evil and ridicule of others to dominate our society of greed and self-promotion and interest. Therefore it seems that all of us could use self-reflection to develop civility, ethics, compassion, and an outlook of pulling others through the difficulties of life.

I’m not a Trekkie, but I’ve seen my share of Star Trek episodes and movies. The scene that sticks in my mind is the initial Vulcan assessment of Earth humans because they were appalled at our behaviors, cultural divides, use of fighting, and many other humanisms, which seemed uncivilized and barbaric to them.

Although some think of Vulcans as emotionless, I believe that it is more accurate to say that they work to suppress their emotions through self-control in order to use reason and logic in their problem solving and decision making. I often wonder if Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry thought of Vulcans as what humans could be.

And then there’s Philippians 2:1-4 from Christianity:

If then there is any encouragement in Christ, any consolation from love, any sharing in the Spirit, any compassion and sympathy, make my joy complete: be of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility regard others as better than yourselves. Let each of you look not to your own interests, but to the interests of others.

I can’t forget Tim Valentine whose blog I often read. Tim often writes about race because he truly believes that race should be irrelevant in human encounters. Although Tim realizes that society has made positive strides, to him advances are too slow as he wants people to treat each with civility and respect–regardless of race, religion, political labels, nationality, heritage, or whatever segments society uses to divide people.

So there it is, a religion embracing self-reflection for living a better life through care and compassion, another religion expressing love and compassion over selfishness, a fictional society stressing logic and reason to seeking meaningful solutions, and one person trying to not only practice what he preaches, but also promote for the good of all through respect for all. Wouldn’t the world be a better place if these principles were commonly practiced?