Everyone has a theory about shopping carts

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The next time you head to the grocery store, consider the simple shopping cart as nothing more than a rattle basket blocking your parking space.

In the 1930s, the name of an American grocer was Sylvan Goldman invented The forerunner of the modern day shopping cart, using a folding frame fixed on a set of wheels. He hoped that people would buy more groceries if they did not have to carry heavy baskets while browsing.

and they did.

But over the decades, the shopping cart has evolved from its mundane existence into the centerpiece of every grocery store run.

like Campbell’s Soup Can, it has become an unexpected symbol in a subculture that celebrates the common object.

The focus of the shopping cart has been Books and movies, and their use was investigated magazine column and classes as tools to explain how humans behave in public. They have found a suspicious place on the Internet, such as stars of a youtube show, then half a million people. He has also inspired musicians: the incessant thud of a car rolling down an alley was an inspiration for both the sound and the words. Neil Young’s 1994 song “Safeway Kart.”

They are also a nuisance. Legislators and store owners across the United States have fought for how to prevent vehicles from being stolen, abandoned in disabled parking spots, abandoned on sidewalks, abandoned at bus stops, or stuck in creeks. be given.

In 2005, a cart Infiltration in the British Museum, when artist Banksy hooked up with a cave man on a piece of fake prehistoric rock art—and then secretly installed the rock in a gallery that went unnoticed for days.

Another Banksy creation, the painting “Show Me the Monet,” was included. abandoned vehicles in nature. it sold at auction for about $10 million In December.

John H. Leonhard, History of Technology professor at the University of Houston, described the shopping cart as the “glint of genius” that changed American lives. case His public radio show, “The Engines of Our Ingenuity.”

Decades after that 1995 broadcast, Dr. Leonhardt is still trying to explain how the utilitarian origins of the shopping cart expanded into cultural appeal.

“They mirror us,” he said in an interview. “We want to walk. We want to carry. And now we help with our walking and carrying. And then our walking and carrying becomes mentally connected to wheeling.”

“This means that mango technology is very important,” he said.

2009 moviecartShows what Dr. Leonhard calls the “symbiotic relationship” of humans and shopping carts.

In the film, a shopping cart is given its brain, navigating the perils of the city streets as it searches for the boy who left his jacket in the basket. The car then stops the oncoming car and saves the boy’s life.

Jesse Rosten, the director said that the idea came when he and a friend saw an overturned car in the parking lot. A sad song was playing on the radio as they crossed it, raising the potential for cinematic melancholy.

“We laughed all over the house, imagining the stories for this down-and-out cart that was struggling against the world,” he said. “We’ve all seen abandoned shopping carts in the world, and the movie is based on how the carts end up.”

Pictures of wild trains are also captured in the 2006 book.The Stray Shopping Carts of Eastern North America: A Guide to Field Identification

The Buffalo artist behind the book, Julian Montague, spent seven years driving carts in dumpsters, in alleys, on lawns, wherever they turned. “It’s a strange thing,” he said.

“Someone can take it somewhere and cut the wheels, or move the laundry to the basement,” he said. “Unlike a plastic bag, it holds many lives.”

Some people steal them. Others leave them where they want.

Private companies have become creative. In California, there are vagabonds reported on the hotline For companies that specialize in bringing them back to their store lots.

At supermarket chain ALDI, shoppers unlock carts with a quarter, which is returned when the carts are in place. Some customers leave the quarter in the cart for the next person to use.

“We’ve always been amazed by the sense of ‘pay-it-forward’ that we have in our parking lots,” said ALDI communications director Kate Kirkpatrick. “As a result, we rarely run into issues with carts not being returned.”

Over several days, Seth Sanders, 20, a clerk at Safeway in Bellingham, Wash., can be found dodging cars as he rounds cars that people have left in parking spaces or aside from mass. has been pushed.

He estimates that about a quarter of customers don’t even bother to return their carts, which means he spends a lot of time doing it for them, picking up groceries, cleaning, and finding items for customers.

Mr. Sanders drives cars in the cold, in the rain, and in the smoke Forest fire. A customer hurriedly pushed a vehicle in his direction so hard that he injured his leg.

“I want to say it’s almost selfish,” he said. “It is kind of a test of character. It’s our job to follow people, but if it’s the smallest thing you can do to help, I think helping a little isn’t a lot. “

Of course, shopping cart slackers have their reasons.

In a 2017 column in Scientific AmericanIn this article, anthropologist Cristal D’Costa explores why people failed to return carts. this “hit a nerve,” she wrote in a follow-up.

in over 2,000 comments Magazine Facebook page, some said they fear leaving children unattended, or struggling with a disability, or having one’s job obsolete. Within the past year, the so-called The shopping cart theory has become an article of faith on Reddit and other social media sites. The theory holds that the decision to return the vehicle is the ultimate test of moral character and the ability of a person to self-govern.

This is a principle known solely as video vigilance. Car Narcs, self-appointed promoters who encounter shoppers trying to leave without returning their carts. The series has nearly 500,000 followers on Facebook and YouTube.

Shopping Cart Theory has even reached academia – if middle school is counted as academic. Students at Lausanne Collegiate School in Tennessee were recently asked by Greg Graber, the school’s director of social and emotional education. Analyze this in a class on critical thinking.

One student said that anyone who saw a misguided vehicle should return it. Another warned against rushing to make a decision. Mr. Graber agreed.

“It now seems to be a popular belief that people who leave their shopping carts at places lack values ​​and ethics,” he said. But that faith “does not allow growth or grace.”

In April, the Shopping Cart Theory was cited coverage Under a proposed state law that would penalize shopkeepers for not returning their vehicles.

New Jersey Disability Ombudsman Paul Aronsohn approached state Senator Kristin Corrado with the idea. He said that the state needs to stop the shopkeepers who leave the vehicles at the wide spaces earmarked for the disabled.

Senator Corrado Senate Bill No. 3705 introduced, Which will incur a fine of $250 for doing so.

“Obviously, it’s a pet peeve for a lot of people,” she said.

One person who will benefit is Kelly Boyd, 41, of Hamilton Township, NJ, who has used a wheelchair since the age of 9. When she drives her van to the store and walks down the ramp to get down on her motorized chair, she often finds a car blocking her way.

So Ms Boyd said she’d have to get it out of the way with her van, or drive to a far side from where she could use two places to get out. This left angry notes on his car and led to a collision with other drivers.

“Everything I do as a person with a disability takes longer and then is more frustrating to deal with,” said Ms. Boyd. “It’s amazing how some people don’t care.”

This isn’t the only state law dealing with shopping cart infestations. Some locations, such as Los Angeles and Clark County, Nev. require wheels, which lock in place when a vehicle is towed away from a store. some cities in Washington fines imposed on shops for free vehicles, and Other cities are noted.

Last year the Board of Supervisors met in Fairfax County, VA to address “visual clutter” a. stray carts with Proposal to impose a $500 fine On those who turn them away from the store’s property.

“It’s a real problem,” says Jeffrey C. McKay told his fellow observers during the session. But others on the board argued that it would penalize those who are struggling financially and use trains to bring food home or carry their belongings.

One of the observers, Dalia A. Palchik said it has been his childhood experience.

As immigrants to Argentina in 1989, Ms Palchik said, she and her three siblings often accompanied their mother to the store and then pushed the car to their rental home on the edge of Fairfax City. He had no car available.

Memory flooded during the discussion. “It was one of those things I used to be ashamed of as a kid,” she said in an interview. “Why are we criminalizing people trying to go to the grocery store?”

The ordinance is still under consideration.





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