Saturday, December 23, 2006

You Need a License to Drive a Car; What About One for Pushing a Cart?

Well, I did make it out to finish my last-minute Christmas shopping this afternoon, and although the store was extremely crowded I was able to get in and out in pretty short order. While I didn't see anything that would warrant a lengthy diatribe on social behavior at Christmas, I did notice several things which lead me to believe that the rules of the road are left in the parking lot. A few examples:

1. When folks are outside the store, they're driving in America -- on the right side. However, when they cross the threshold of the store, they're magically transported to Great Britain or one of its colonies where it's permissible to drive on the left side of the road/aisle (and some customers actually act like it's their right to be on the wrong side of the "street").

2. In traditional highway situations, cars arriving at a four-way intersection proceed through the intersection in the order at which they arrive at the intersection. In shopping-land, carts arriving at a four-way intersection are all entitled to barrel through at the same time. To (somewhat) paraphrase Admiral David Farragut, "Damn the other carts! Full speed ahead!"

3. Under normal circumstances, folks driving down the highway wouldn't leave their car in the middle of traffic and run into a convenience store to grab something along the way. When shopping, however, it's okay to get in line (yes, right ahead of me) and then abandon the cart while running off through other parts of the store. And what happens when it's their turn? There's no horn on my shopping cart to honk -- and somehow my exasperated stares and under-my-breath mumblings just don't do the trick.

Naturally, there are some similarities between highway driving and store driving: crashed carts will often lead to anger and perhaps a gently-extended finger somewhere on the hand; lots of hit-and-run incidents where no insurance information is exchanged and -- oddly -- there are no witnesses, etc. etc.

Just a few thoughts from a Christmas shopping survivor!!!


Patry Francis said...

You just described my shopping experience today to a tee! Next year I think I'll get out there earlier before the cart traffic heats up!

Merry Christmas to you, Matt.

ipanema said...

Very good observations!:)

My wish when i find myself in a shopping frenzy this time of the year is to come out alive with composure. :)

karen said...


rdl said...

wow where are you shopping? i didn't find it too bad this yr. guess i started early on black friday. are you shopping today, i wonder; i actually am not for once.

Matt said...

Nope, no shopping today. I don't do any shopping on the day after Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, and the day after Christmas (unless, of course, the major bookstores are having a HUGE sale:-)

patchouli said...

Welcome to my world! There are definitely shopping cart rules--and other people need to to know them!