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.

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On Thanksgiving 2018

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The most important decision each person makes in live is the choices they make of the people around them.

No matter the age – as children, teens, young adults, adults, and elders – the importance of the choices is the same.

No matter the place – work, school, neighbors, organizations, and more – the importance of the choices is the same.

No matter our choice of hobbies – dance, photography, travel, bicycling, knitting, blogging, or more – the importance of the choices is the same.

For Thanksgiving 2018, I am thankful for all the good people who have been around me all my years – my hometown, college, neighbors, work, church, conferences, dance, vacations, family, and many more – and that includes the good people in blogging.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Returning this weekend for Act 2 of Pronouns 2: The Musical featuring songs with Mine in the title. Curtain goes up at 1:00 AM (Eastern US).

On a Beach Walk: No. 39

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I like walking the beach. It’s good for the mind, body, and soul – and refreshing on my feet.

I see the vast water representing bloggers. Communities as WordPress and Blogger are two hosting communities – but not the only ones.

Bloggers are across the world – just another example of the world becoming smaller and more connected. I don’t know how many people from different countries have touched my little corner of the world – but I do know that I enjoy those who interact and return – especially those who have stuck with me for many years.

Each blogger writes for different reasons – marketing, personalizing, pontificating, advocating, educating, sharing, interacting, simply writing, and more. Poems, short stories, sports, politics, photography, travel, satire, music, events, hobbies, diaries, entertainment, fitness, wellness, cooking, religion, philosophy, humor, art, and more because blog pages allow readers to decide the topics they want to engage.

Each blogger wants something different. Some want interactions, others want friends, laughs, respect, community, a voice, and/or even just followers.

Bloggers are like the rest people in our life: they came and go – there are givers and the selfish – the jokers and the philosophers – the learners and the teachers – the encourages and the downers – the inspirational and the passive – the emotional and the practical – the extroverts and the introverts – and many more – even the users and abusers. Nonetheless, I firmly believe that (as a whole) bloggers have made the world a better place. After all, we are the everyday people helping the world go around.

This is the last walk of the season. It’s been fun – so thanks for walking along. This series started in 2017 with 15 posts – but 2018 increased to 24. Our plans are to return to the beach again in 2019, which serves as my writing time for this eclectic collection of personal thoughts. Hopefully my future includes more walks to share on my little corner of the world. After all, walking the beach is good for the mind, body, and soul – and refreshing on my feet.

On a Beach Walk: No. 37

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I like walking the beach. It’s good for the mind, body, and soul – and refreshing on my feet.

Summer is primetime along the Alabama coast followed by spring and fall. Its winters do not provide the regular warmth and sun of central and south Florida – but it is warmer than home in Cincinnati – or the homes of visitors from Missouri, Wisconsin, Iowa, Minnesota, Illinois, Michigan, the Dakotas, Canada, and the rest of Ohio.

Occupancy is comparatively low – but that also means reasonable rates – a month in the winter for about the same as a week during primetime – plus warmer temperatures than home.

People aren’t as plentiful – and the vast majority are retirees migrating to the south as snowbirds. Some younger faces join the mix on weekends.

As we walk, people pass by. Most offer at least a nod or a smile to acknowledge our presence. Some even add a verbal salutation.

People display identifications by hats and shirts may spark conversations – signs identifying homes, places visited, colleges, or sports loyalties. Other Cincinnatians spotting my University of Cincinnati hat identified themselves. As did other Ohioans and others from rival schools.

Many times when passing fisherman monitoring their poles, I would ask about their catches of the day. Most are willing to talk about their craft. I am not a fisherman, but we would watch with anticipation as they reel in their catch.

No matter where we are, each of the people we pass everyday has a story. Each person is walking history of joys and sadness, successes and failures, pride and shame, and more. They include the tall and the short; the old and the young; the successful and the not so; the caring and the selfish; the thinkers, dreamers, doers and so much more.

Today I think about the different people I pass on any given day. People – the plurality of persons. People – the individuals who make up humanity. Yes, it takes every kind of people to make the world go around. Even though people are complex, thinking about them is good for the mind, body, and soul – and refreshing on my feet.

On a Beach Walk: No. 35

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I like walking the beach. It’s good for the mind, body, and soul – and refreshing on my feet.

I see the faces of people I pass during the walk. I believe some people look at the sea and see faces in the water – but I don’t.

On the other hand, the sky is a place for faces. On this day, a full moon is in the daytime sky. Although it is not a bright smile as its nighttime glow, Mr. Moon’s presence is known – yet it can be easily missed. Each of us have memories of that face and how we see it.

Given that it’s daytime, we know Mr. Sun brightly shines to illuminate other faces; but we don’t see its face – yet we value its presence as it warms our face.

The clouds in the sky are always moving and changing. Sometimes they are happy and/or spiritual; other times a menacing evil. Sometimes a distinctive profile; other times an imaginative image as an ultrasound baby.

I think about real human faces – the ones that I pass during my walk and the ones that I’ve encountered through my 65 years. The many faces I’ve seen in malls, crowds, in my classes, during travels, and at any gathering I’ve attended. The faces of different people – the young and the old – the able and the disabled – the men and the women – the faces of different cultures and races.

The faces of different gifts and abilities – the musical, the artistic, the analytical, the athletic, the strong, the generous, the helpers, the kind, and many more.

The faces of smiles and kindness who are willing to embrace everyone. Those whose help lifts the faces of others.

The faces who are willing to share. The faces who truly try to help change the faces of others by helping a variety of needs – these are the faces bringing the shining light of humanity – but so are the kind faces who smile to each other as the pass when walking the beach.

Let’s keep on smilin’ because I like walking the beach as it is good for the body, mind, and soul – and refreshing on my feet.

On a Beach Walk: No. 32

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I like walking the beach. It’s good for the mind, body, and soul – and refreshing on my feet.

Today is my birthday – February 17th – which is a good day to reflect on my life. I think about different people.

I think about my mother. A kind, gentle woman who came to America at age 26 with a 3-month old, knowing only my dad, and not knowing English. In time she learned the language well enough to converse with customers, visitors, friends, family, and neighbors.

I think about growing up in a small town in the rural Appalachian part of Ohio. Different times there then than today. I had wonderful friends in that isolated, small world. Good times with good people in a good place at a good time.

I think about my college days – a four-hour drive from home – a place that providing great times and a beginning for my career. The place that I established many long-term friendships. The place where I met my wife of 40+ years. Yes, we are called Falcon Flames.

I think of my teaching career – such an important, challenging, difficult, frustrating profession. My career was one of two halves – time when I thought I knew how to teach and times when I knew how to teach for learning. (past post?)

I think about my years in training development. Wish I could have done more of it – then again – I needed the last half of my teaching career to guide it.

I think about 40+ years of marriage – the ups and downs – the travels, hobbies, events, and friends – the love, support, growth, and challenges.

I think about all the people I’ve encountered in 65 years – family, friends, neighbors, classmates, co-workers, professionals, fellow church members, medical professionals, my students, dancers, cruisers, and many more. I’m steadfast in my belief that the most important decision people make in their life is the people one chooses to be around.

I think about the new world of the cyber-connections I’ve made with fellow bloggers. Many wonderful people from most US states (if not all), and from all the world’s continents. You have confirmed my belief that the majority of the world is good.

I think about those who died during my journey. From Effie, a fellow third grader, and (of course) family and friends. Those from accidents, natural causes, illness, and violence – and now I am 6+ years older than my mother when she passed.

Reflecting is an important thing to do. My birthday is a good occasion for looking at life – and the beach is as good as place as any for it. After all, walking the beach is good for the mind, body, and soul – and refreshing on my feet.

On Buying Food

The story below is true – a story that an English Second Language student wrote and I helped edit. The story touched me enough to want to tell others. The words below are a blend of mine and his because I continued working on this story with hopes of posting it here with the original author’s permission.

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The Real Truth about Buying Food in Venezuela

Today is Friday – the day that I can buy food. Not yesterday, not tomorrow – today – Friday.

The government uses the last number of our National ID to set the day of the week citizens can buy food. My number is 27654328, so Fridays are my day, and today is Friday. I requested and received a day off from work for this day – the day I’m able to buy food.

It’s 3 AM. Time to get up to find the shortest line. Yes, some people will arrive earlier than me. Others will spend the night in line. I must be careful because a short line could mean that nobody knows if the store will have any food to sell. I don’t want to take that chance.

I’m going early because the lines will be longer after 5:30 AM, the time the public buses start operating. Some people arrive very early because they own a car. I’m lucky to ride with a friend.

It’s 4 AM. I get in a line at a store that I think will sell food. I count the people and determine I’m 225th in line. There is another line with about the same number of people who are pregnant, disabled, or older than 60 – but that’s not me. This store won’t open until 9 AM

It’s 6 AM. The trucks with foods begin to arrive. I feel lucky and grateful, but realize the grocery store may be empty. I know two other grocery stores are 6 blocks from where I now stand. I wonder if I can get a position in another line? I better walk to them to see.

Success! I’m going to walk back and forth to try to maintain my place in line for both stores.

It’s 7 AM. The second store will open in 30 minutes. Oh no, I’m wasting my time because they have no food.

I immediately return to my first line. I count the food packs from each truck, and then recount my position in line. Yes, there is enough food for 700 people and I’m 225. Even with the second line for special needs, I’m in a good place.

It’s 9 AM. The store opens. Security controls the line by letting 20 people into the store. Soon, people start organizing in groups of 20 with one person collecting all the identification cards in the group. Time passes as I wait my turn with my group, but I still think we’re fine.

It’s 12 noon. Just one group is ahead of mine, so I remain hopeful. Then I hear, “The food purchase is over. There is enough left for 10 people.” I’m stunned.

I don’t know what happened because I counted the food packs and the people. I suspect the store employees and security guards got the first chance to buy food. Some of the food was probably taken for the black market. My 8 hours in line today was a waste of time. I took a day off from work with hopes of buying food.

A lot of things came to my mind with many emotions. I didn’t know if I should laugh, cry, or yell!

How can I survive? Should I not waste my time? Should I eat more often in restaurants? Should I spend money to find food on the Black Market? As I walk away from the grocery store, I thank God because I am luckier than many others, and returned to my house for some rest.

It’s 4 PM. I awaken, but hungry. I am calm because my salary of $30 a month is much better than the minimum wage of $10 a month minimum wage.I can eat 3 times a day at a restaurant where the average meal costs $1.50.

I organize my money I have so I can eat until next Friday – the day I might be able to buy again. Maybe I’ll go earlier next week.

This is my story from 2016. I’m no longer a computer systems analyst in Venezuela. I received a tourist visa to come to the United States, a place where I wash dishes. I am happy here in the United states, but I want others to know that this is still happening to Venezuelans today.