SOUND OFF Shopping cars run amok in lots

I wonder what it is about grocery store shopping carts that scares people half of the time. I look around the city of Oak Harbor at Safeway, Ennen’s, Market Place, Albertson’s, Wal-Mart, Kmart, the Navy Commissary/Exchange parking lots and see shopping carts galore all over the lots.

The people going in to shop do not appear to be afraid of the carts. They grab one and run all over the store shoving all kinds of items into the little wire carts. And in a number of cases running into the display shelves and sometimes other shoppers. Reminds me of traffic on I-5 during rush hour. Then up to the checkout stand to unload their selections onto the conveyor belt. Then they whip out their checkbook, credit card or, in some cases, cash. No matter how they pay their shopping fee it is now time to head to their vehicle and unload the purchases from the wire basket with four wheels.

At this point many shoppers get some morbid fear of that shopping cart that they have been pushing all over the store and parking lot for the past half hour or more. It is like some disease is associated with the poor little cart and they cannot wait to get rid of it. So instead of returning it to where they took possession of it in the first place they leave it right there in the parking lot where they just unloaded it and drive off.

That shopping cart now becomes an obstruction to the next vehicle looking for a place to park. You run around the parking lot looking for a place to park. Many of the spots are taken up by shopping carts not in use. In time you find a parking spot not being used by a shopping cart. You park your vehicle and go about whatever brought you to this area. While you are shopping, and helping the local economy, Mother Nature enters the picture with some of her gusty wind. That little old shopping cart that someone did not return to where it should have been goes free, rolling through the parking lot. Bang. Some $30,000 vehicle that is the pride and joy of someone now has a ding, or dings, in it. The person that left the shopping cart in the a parking lot could care less about the damage to a vehicle, unless the vehicle is their own.

My guess is that in your own home, or wherever you live, you have a place where you hang your clothing, store your linen, stock your groceries.

The children are instructed to pick up their toys. And most everyone puts their dirty laundry in the laundry basket. A proper place for everything. Is the middle of a parking lot the proper place for the shopping cart that you took from some store? I think not. You took the cart for YOUR use so you should return it to its proper place.

Over the years my vehicle has been dinged four or five times by shopping carts that someone was too lazy to return to their proper place. Daily I am denied a parking place for the same reason, a shopping cart left in the parking lot by someone who is too lazy to return what they borrow, or they think the world owes them something. A woman once told me she could not return the shopping cart because she had a baby and it was against the law to leave the baby in a car unattended while she returned the cart. She was just a little right in her statement. It is against the law to leave a child unattended in a vehicle while you go into a bar, while visiting, or shopping for a given period of time and when the weather is very hot or cold. Putting your child in your vehicle with proper child restraining systems and then returning your used shopping cart to its proper place is not a violation of the law.

For those of you who do return your shopping carts, I thank you very much for being considerate of others.

Robert D. Brown lives in Oak Harbor

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