Monday, October 13, 2008

So near, and yet so far.

Recent stories from the world of science and technology report that a young man was equipped with a bionic hand, another man received two transplanted arms, and the U.S. Army is developing something called "synthetic telepathy ," which will allow people to send emails or voice mail by thought alone. (And for the sake of this entry, I'm pretending I didn't hear about the malfunctioning space toilet.)

This is all well and good, but here's what I want to know: Why can't someone create a shopping cart that doesn't take two strong men and a monkey to muscle through store aisles?

I was in StuffMart on Thursday night, on one of my bi-weekly trips for milk, socks, and underwear. It was 12:30 AM. I was the only shopper in the store. Well, there were a couple of guys lurking in the magazine aisle, but I think they were just killing time until their meth lab finished brewing back at the trailer park.

Anyway. You'd think the odds were good that I would get a cart with 4 wheels that all move, AND that move in the same direction. No. Apparently, StuffMart has a contract with a shopping cart manufacturer to buy only these types of carts:

  • The Political Cart. One front wheel goes left, the other goes right, and a back wheel tries to secede from the cart altogether.
  • The Mental Illness Cart. On this model, one wheel has an obsessive-compulsive tendency to pick up every bit of thread, string, dental floss, and barbed wire that lays on the floor of the store. (What, your StuffMart doesn't have barbed wire laying around? How do ya'll keep your tailgates fastened to your trucks?) All this twine is then wrapped around the wheel's axle, thereby causing the wheel to rotate at half the speed of the other three wheels, which then creates a paranoia state for the OCD wheel, which then tries to commit hari-kari by twisting sideways in an attempt to get kicked to death by the shopper.
  • The Two-Year-Old Cart. A toddler-like wheel stubbornly will. not. move. at. all. And if you force it, it screams bloody murder.
  • The Microbiology Experiment Cart. (A must-have in a community with a lot of homeschoolers.) You think those letters on the shopping cart handle are imprinted? Think again. That's 80 trillion organized bacteria. "C'mon, guys. Everybody get in formation, like rocks on a beach. We'll spell out StuffMart on the handle, and then watch the flu party get started! Yee haw!"
  • The ADD Cart. You roll this one out to your car, and in the 2.5 seconds it takes you to open the trunk, the cart has drifted 10 feet away and is about to smash into the side of a BMW belonging to the police chief's wife.
And while I'm thinking about shopping carts, I also want to say that every StuffMart should install a Cart Wash operation at the entrance to the store. You know, like a car wash. First, the hot, soapy water wash. Then the cart passes through a bleach rinse. Then an alcohol spray, and finally, an ultraviolet light drying period. I believe that if these steps are followed, we can eradicate measles, mumps, chicken pox, the common cold, and possibly even Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever in our lifetime. In some cases, it might also be necessary to force the shopper through the Cart Wash as well, but this is the price we have to pay for good community health.

And now I must go answer an email I received from my memory-impaired mother. She said something about a chimp, a can of sliced peaches, and Ron Paul. Either that synthetic telepathy thing is on the fritz, or she just got home from StuffMart.


Anonymous said...

Thank you for getting me kicked out of Panera, TC. For some reason, they don't appreciate it when you spew coffee and scone crumbs in a 15 foot radius.

(I don't know what their problem is...sheesh!)

Kelley said...

I have to say....reading this blog is the highlight of my day and the first ten minutes that my brain hasn't hurt all day.

:)De said...

I have laughed myself into a stomach ache! Thanks... your talent is priceless!


Keeley said...

Hahaha!! Brilliant! =D

I've fantasized about shops having cart washes for years. In Ikea in Germany they had something like it. The carts were put in one end, sprayed, dried with huge driers then came out the other end for the shoppers to grab. It was fairly awesome.

Junosmom said...

Terrific writing, TC. You need to send that one for publishing.

Camflock said...

Agreed. This needs to be published!

Mostly Sunny said...

I think mom said, "Ron Paul is a chimp who throws canned peaches." But then again, maybe I just had a bad phone connection with her.

Dawn said...

Oh my stars - TOTALLY WITH YOU ON THE CART WASH idea! LOL! Brilliant!

Meliss said...


I just saw a news report this week that some grocery stores now have a cart "wash" at the front of the store.