When I was a boy I used to love it when my father would ask me to “take a ride” with him. It usually meant that he had some kind of errand to run and wanted a little company. In a house full of a zillion sisters and a mother it was important for the boys to stick together, or so I thought.
More importantly it was a chance to engage in what my son now calls special daddy and Little Jack time. I have vivid memories of climbing into the car and looking out the window as my dad drove. When I thought that he wasn’t looking I would stare at him and try to imitate his gestures. Decades later I have them all down. When the family gathers I can bring down the house with a five minute impression of him, but I digress.
Usually these errands found us in one of three places, Builders Emporium, Gemco or the supermarket and that brings me to the heart of the matter; shopping carts.
Yes, that is right the ubiquitous shopping cart. The four wheeled dolly that we all use to transport the items we purchased from the store out to our automobiles.
One of the things that I learned from taking a ride with dad was that after you finished emptying your groceries into your car you had to return the shopping cart to the store or to the shopping cart parking lot depot. I can still hear my father explaining that we returned the cart because it was the polite thing to do.
Unfortunately it seems that at some point in the last thirty years the polite thing to do is no longer considered necessary. More often than not I find myself navigating parking lots that look like they have shopping cart measles. Just pulling into a parking space can be tricky because if you are not careful you’ll end up hitting a shopping cart that was left there by someone else.
Still I always try to do the polite thing. When I no longer have need of the cart I take it back to the appropriate space. If there are people waiting for my parking space this sometimes creates an issue. Nobody wants to wait for me to return the cart. Instead of smiles they will honk and roll their eyes. Sometimes colorful words accompany the honking.
Maybe that is the new polite thing to do. I don’t really know anymore.