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Letters to the Editor

Cart complaint

December 29, 2010

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To the editor:

This problem may be just a grain of sand on the beach of life, given the state of this world, but I just returned from yet another store where in order to disengage a shopping cart from about 30 of them all jammed together, I had to tug violently at two of them with another customer, each of us at either end of the stuck-together baskets, as though we were engaged in a tug of war. We managed each to get one loose, but not without getting my finger jammed in the process. I am watching the knuckle swell as I type this letter and I fully expect to lose my fingernail.

Almost daily at whatever type of store, I have found carts so tightly forced together that it is only after about five physically taxing tries that I manage to find one that frees itself from its captive companions (and inevitably that’s the cart that only makes left turns).

This time, I took up the matter with a store manager who listened politely and then proceeded to do absolutely nothing, probably rolling his eyes to the ceiling after I quit bothering him. This was despite the “greeter” at that store who was standing there doing nothing, and who could have employed his time productively by separating the baskets for the customers. Perhaps store owners who provide shopping carts would consider giving a gift to their customers at this festive time of year by making life a bit easier in this respect.

Comments

jimjones 3 years, 3 months ago

Let's all pray for relief from the evil that possess these carts. Demons, release thyselves of these carts!

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Ron Holzwarth 3 years, 3 months ago

People have commented about "mating cycles" and disease among the carts that become enmeshed. Because these are serious problems, there is only one sloution: We need prophylactics for shopping carts!

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rantor 3 years, 3 months ago

Jan, Here's your solution. Take the cart back yourself and push it in gently. If every other lazy bum would do this, your world would be perfectly balanced.

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sunny 3 years, 3 months ago

Good god Jan...you poor woman! Why don't you try a different grocery store lady if you aren't happy with your current one.

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black_butterfly 3 years, 3 months ago

I'd deal with misbehaving carts any day rather than have to deal with so called greeters who don't greet the customers, like that old coot at the Dillons on 6th and Wakarusa. I know his name but won't say it. He always has a scowl on his face and never greets me. I have even started purposely saying hello to him just to irritate him, but he will turn his head (and turn red) and STILL not speak. It must be my "year round tan" that he doesn't like. LOL.

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volunteer 3 years, 3 months ago

One of the most enjoyable threads to read in a long time. Thanks, good-natured humorists who came out to play.

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Boosh 3 years, 3 months ago

"You could stop a trolley by turning it over, when its wheels spun madly and uselessly. The wizards saw a number of enthusiastic individuals trying to smash them, but the trolleys were practically indestructible – they bent but didn’t break, and if they had even one wheel left they’d make a valiant attempt to keep going. “Look at that one!” said the Archchancellor. “It’s got my laundry in it! My actual laundry! Darn that for a lark!” He pushed his way through the crowds and rammed his staff into the trolley’s wheels, toppling it over. “We can’t get a clear shot at anything with all these civilians around,” complained the Dean. “There’s hundreds of trolleys!” said the Lecturer in Recent Runes. “It’s just like vermine! 15 Get away from me, you – you basket!”

15 Vermine are small black-and-white rodents found in the Ramtop Mountains. They are ancestors of the lemming, which as is well known throws itself over cliffs and drowns in lakes on a regular basis. Vermine used to do that, too. The point is, though, that dead animals don’t breed, and over the millennia more and more vermine were descendants of those vermine who, when faced with a cliff edge, squeaked the rodent equivalent of Blow that for a Game of Soldiers. Vermine now abseil down cliffs, and build small boats to cross lakes. When their rush leads them to the seashore they sit around avoiding one another’s gaze for a while, and then leave early to get home before the rush.

Reaper Man Terry Pratchett

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ralphralph 3 years, 3 months ago

If you swabbed the handle of a Mart Cart and did a culture from it, you'd never touch one again. EW!

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RichardCory 3 years, 3 months ago

Lastly, I'm confused as to why this letter was written to the editor at all? I'm going to give the benefit of the doubt, and assume that she really was dealing with two carts that were smashed by a car, and the metal bent in such a way that they WERE jammed together. Step one would obviously be to talk to a manager (or really, even the guy pushing carts should be capable of this). No one wants to hear complaints all day on the same thing, and no one really wants to do accident paperwork, so notifying someone that the carts aren't safe is a great first step. I would venture to say that most of the time, they'd be happy to add those to the pile that need to be sent back to be refurbished (again, if they really suck - obviously if the straps are just tangled, and in your tantrum, you've managed to wedge the plastic latch into the mess, you've just made a fool of yourself, and I imagine there WILL be eye-rolling). If that doesn't work, ask for a higher member of management, and if you've actually managed to talk to the main manager of the store, go to the service desk and copy down the store's hotline. Whining to your friends, writing a letter to the editor, etc. are guaranteed to accomplish nothing, but if a store manager has to explain to his or her boss why the store has received 47 phone calls that week about one easily-fixable problem, I suspect he or she will be a bit more motivated to fix it.

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RichardCory 3 years, 3 months ago

sigh Life is pretty good if this is the biggest thing we have to complain about.

I don't know how many times I've walked up on someone throwing a massive fit about two carts being stuck together (the whole yanking, cursing, etc), looked at them, and used all of two fingers to unwrap the child safety strap from one cart from the wires of the other cart. Sometimes a little logic goes further than fit-throwing. Sure, you do have the carts that someone has backed into with their car that get perma-jammed, and yeah, those aren't worth your time.

I'm thinking carts inside the store aren't the greatest idea. If it's precipitating at all, let's think about what's going to happen when you're pushing in 50 carts, four wheels on each dragging in water . . . not to mention any water that may be clinging to the cart itself. Yeah, you may have to walk all the way back to the entrance to get a cart, but I think that's a fair trade for grandma not having to worry about breaking a hip on her way to get Metamucil.

I'm also curious how many carts Jan walks by on her way into the store. There is a good chance that any bum carts that do materialize WILL be discarded immediately, so apply a bit more logic - it's pretty likely that if there are three carts in three hundred that suck, by the middle of the afternoon, they're all going to be right at the entrance to the store, where they were discarded. So, Jan parks her car, walks past 20 carts that were left in the parking lot, and goes straight for those three. If you really hate the junky carts, obviously someone liked the ones in the parking lot that day, so you might want to consider helping the cart guy out (as well as the person that's likely to not see it and smash into it before the cart guy gets it) and taking one of the ones you walk past.

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classclown 3 years, 3 months ago

UNIKU (anonymous) says…

I'd say you have a pretty good life if all you have to b**ch about is a freakin' shopping cart. Get a life! Things are rough all over. You and the guy who whines that delays while playing golf at Alvamar are "unbearable" need to get a room.

========================================

Don't forget about the bruschetta guy. I'm sure he's out there cringing somewhere right now.

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password 3 years, 3 months ago

The carts lock together when pushed in like that. All you have to do is lift up on the pushing handle and pull out. Thats all... just lift and pull. Works for me everytime.

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Multidisciplinary 3 years, 3 months ago

This is what happens when people put the left handed carts in with the right handed carts. They don't nest at all.

This is why those cart corrals have two lines for carts, lefties and righties. It's pretty easy. Any kid knows this, ask yours if it's a left handed or right handed cart. They'll tell you.

PS. Folks, most of the time the jamming is from the part that swings up when nesting getting interlaced with the cart that entered it. If you simply lift up, then pull the end cart out, it's pretty simple.

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gphawk89 3 years, 3 months ago

I have a different cart complaint. Standing in line at the checkout and the person behind you feels the need to bump their cart into your rear or heels every time you take a step forward. Probably the same people that tailgate while driving.

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kernal 3 years, 3 months ago

This whole cart jammin' thing is paybacks by the carts for leaving them out in the middle of the freezing cold parking lots where they get hit by cars and rudely shoved around by rude customers. Not the cart's fault some lazy butt left it out in the middle of the only remaining parking space instead back in the safety of the corral with its buddies.

Seriously, unless you have a toddler(s) in tow, are almost too sick to walk, are on crutches or otherwise physically handicapped, put the cart in the cart corral or back in the store. It's really disgusting to see a twenty something year old who is over 6' and 200 lbs. who can't put the cart where it belongs then see an elderly woman put it in the cart corral for him. Looser.

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g_rock 3 years, 3 months ago

I miss the old carts from Rusty's/Alvin's I.G.A....

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Carol Bowen 3 years, 3 months ago

These comments are really entertaining. It's good to see that posters can lighten up once in a while. Enjoyed reading them.

P.S. I agree that carts are a problem. A customer should not have to be an able-bodied cart-separating pro.

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pace 3 years, 3 months ago

If we just harnessed the energy this letter to the editor released we wouldn't have oil wars. Take tools with you, use a pry bar to separate the carts, then loosen and reset the wheels. and remember the adage, I felt bad about losing a fingernail until I met a man with no fingernails.

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geoismeo 3 years, 3 months ago

That's good, but don't they have motorized pushers to assist? Anyway, way to go Jarrod.

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black_butterfly 3 years, 3 months ago

Oh the woes of shopping carts. Jen, hun, if you lift up slightly on the retracted drop down basket that is meant for babies to sit in while you are pulling the cart out that should free the cart from the bunch. Also check to make sure the security straps meant for the babies aren't "attaching" the carts to each other. Good comment UNIKU.

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riverdrifter 3 years, 3 months ago

Jarrod, a lot associate at Home Depot, set a personal record today: 22 carts shoved in in a single line. Way to go, Jarrod!

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cozy 3 years, 3 months ago

I like how no one thinks about older/elderly people or handicapped people that may not be able to tug at the carts to get them loose. Its also then a liability issue, what if the elderly person hurts their shoulder while trying to pull them apart? Then they could sue. Its possible.

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bearded_gnome 3 years, 3 months ago

LOL!

I really don't like the idea of carts outside or at the entrance as they are unsightly and there are more than three unrelated jammed together. The city really needs to create an ordinanace[sic] for stores to not allow so many unrelated carts outside.

---Q: how do you know when carts are jammed together that they are unrelated? this is clearly not DNA!

pushing 100 or so carts all together as one across the lot. if carts could talk, you'd hear them calling this the "death march!"
but then, if carts could talk, would they ever get jammed together at all?
or, would we even succeed in shopping with them?

... three unrelated carts jammed together? is that even legal, I mean it would scare the horses!

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mr_right_wing 3 years, 3 months ago

I've never had this kind of problem at any of the Dillons stores I've gone to. So shop at Dillons!! (Plus they have those cool 'mini-carts'!)

(Ok, I'll take that $25 in groceries now.....)

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barlowtl 3 years, 3 months ago

Where I live there are three grocery stores, the greeters in 2 of them separate carts & make them easily available, in the third they do not. Guess where this 80 yr old does most of her shopping. So if your local businesses read these postings it would be worth their while to take note of their content.

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JackMcKee 3 years, 3 months ago

This LTE has to be a joke. Right?

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scopi_guy 3 years, 3 months ago

Shopping carts are a priviledge, not a right.

I've experienced the 2-4 carts jammed together most every week at the grocery. It's part of life. If I can't get one un-jammed in ten seconds or less, I move on to find one that comes apart from its friends a little easier. Of course, it's always the one with 1 wheel that wants to go back out into the parking lot while the other 3 wheels want to shop.

It may have something to do with how they're corraled and wheeled back into the store. I've watched, facinated, at the store employees who have a chain of what looks like a hundred-plus carts linked together, wheeling them across the parking lot into the store.

That can't be good for the carts.

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Take_a_letter_Maria 3 years, 3 months ago

I prefer to shop without a cart myself. I find that it controls the amount that I spend if I can only buy that which I can carry through the store and to the check-out stand.

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tomatogrower 3 years, 3 months ago

If my biggest problem in life was grocery carts, I'd be doing lots of cartwheels. Want to trade lives, Jan? Stop shopping if it's that big of a problem. Or carry one of the baskets.

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DirkDiggler 3 years, 3 months ago

Jan, Jan, Jan. There is a really simple trick to "unsticking" the carts. Sometimes the collapsible front basket gets caught on the cart in front. All you have to do is lift it up to dislodge it. It's the same with every grocery cart on earth. These are not "defective" shopping carts. It's like complaining that your car is defective because you are driving on flat tire.

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rockchalker52 3 years, 3 months ago

Less cart wheels & more cartwheels!

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oneeye_wilbur 3 years, 3 months ago

The most important point the letter writer left out is that no stores in town have carts available except at the front entrance or outside. A true customer service based retail store would have carts in various places inside the store. Of course that won't happen because the vendors want to rent floor space which the carts would take up

Now one way around town to have carts throughout the store would be to create revenue for the floor space and the first revenue source would be from the city of lawrence which has plenty of money to spend. Example: sign on a shopping cart that says "Ride the T". The store could charge the city $5.00 for each cart the sign is on. The city would pay the $5.00. The taxpayers won't care because they don't care now that the T is empty. The idea behind the cart advertising is to raise money for the store and to have a cart available for customers who will fill the empty cart.

Lawrence is so far behind the times. The cart could even have one of the new city GPS systems attached and the store and the city could figure out how many trips around the store and parking lot the cart makes and then more carts would be purchased if not enough.

Rumor there is a cart manufacturer coming to Lawrence and can be bought off by the city for something like $30 a day, just like PlastiCon.

I really don't like the idea of carts outside or at the entrance as they are unsightly and there are more than three unrelated jammed together. The city really needs to create an ordinanace for stores to not allow so many unrelated carts outside.

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funkdog1 3 years, 3 months ago

All of you people b*ching about "the public experience" need to try working there yourselves. Then you'd understand how difficult it really is.

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acg 3 years, 3 months ago

RE: Cart related rant. You know what drives me nuts? When people shop at Walmart and then take their cart across the street to the bus stop on the Kohl's side. If you can't carry the crap to the bus stop then how are you getting it home on the bus without the use of the cart? Then, after the bus comes and picks all the peeps up, there are a dozen carts all over the grass and out in the middle of the road. And Jan, I agree wholeheartedly about the cart jams. I especially hate it when you're trying to jerk one apart from the rest but it's hung up on the broken child's safety belt (which any child over 1 1/2 can unbuckle, btw). Ugh, carts piss me off.

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bearded_gnome 3 years, 3 months ago

shhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh! george, pst! hush! you're giving them ideas man!

Almost daily at whatever type of store, I have found carts so tightly forced together that it is only after about five physically taxing tries that I manage to find one that frees itself from its captive companions (and inevitably that’s the cart that only makes left turns).

---inevitably, of course because you live and shop i ... lawrence where all the shopping carts swerve handsomely to the left, roundabouts take money to fix broken streets, and all the children are above average!

no, this problem is not because of mating carts, no not george bush.

I have it on good authority that these carts are made by a subsidiary of ... Halliburtn! they were done on a no-bid contract put in through a secret backdoor deal so that each time you push one of these, each time you pull them apart, money flows into Dick Cheney's wallet.

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George Lippencott 3 years, 3 months ago

I bet that with a little effort we can create a city department of grocery carts. We can send supervisors to the stores to make sure that all the carts are lined up and ready to go. Add in clean and in good repair. Maybe freshly polished. Good lord, what next – toilet paper – have you noticed the rolls are getting smaller??

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RETICENT_IRREVERENT 3 years, 3 months ago

I hate that Aldi makes you use a bolt cutter to get a cart, and then you get these people who will give you their cart, but only if you give them a quarter.
Friggin cart scalpers.

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UNIKU 3 years, 3 months ago

I'd say you have a pretty good life if all you have to b**ch about is a freakin' shopping cart. Get a life! Things are rough all over. You and the guy who whines that delays while playing golf at Alvamar are "unbearable" need to get a room.

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Chris Ogle 3 years, 3 months ago

"(and inevitably that’s the cart that only makes left turns)."

That's what happens when you piss off the cart.

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jayhawklawrence 3 years, 3 months ago

I would look for the answer in the field of genetics. You probably are missing the shopping cart gene set.

For many years I swore at coffee pots and milk cartons because I cannot seem to pour anything from them without at least a small spill.

I had to accept the reality that it is not the coffee pot's fault.

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Andini 3 years, 3 months ago

Nobody likes shopping carts. Nobody.

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Tom Shewmon 3 years, 3 months ago

Jan, I LOVE your rant! I think you and I would get along great! The public experience is certainly enough to make me go apes*** crazy for sure. Last night for example, my wife and I actually braved the movie theatre for the first time in I don't know how long. The management decides to maximally understaff the concession stand and I missed the opening credits/scene of "True Grit" (which was marginally redone and I'm being nice and especially for a Cohen bros. movie). People started leaving the line---not me. I stayed until I get my p/c and soda and let the kid and the mgr. w/in earshot know what a joke this was. I usually take a xanax before I enter the public arena, for the safety of others and myself--lol! Again, excellent rant!

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consumer1 3 years, 3 months ago

I am pretty sure the cart problem is Bush's fault. Or Govenor elect Brownback's.

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pusscanthropus 3 years, 3 months ago

Brad, I always knew you were a genius!

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Brad Maestas 3 years, 3 months ago

That's the way the cart wranglers get back at you for taking them for granted. You see, in the beginning it was just an unfortunate side effect of efficient corralling - fast approach speeds and the eventual momentum of dozens of carts created a compression effect still unknown at the time. Several years of intensive laboratory trials were conducted by Dr. Bubbles in Nova Scotia and a paper was eventually published outlining the particular metallurgical properties of various carts and their associated friction and compression coefficients when stacked together. After the paper was published and the information was interpreted and disseminated by the CWI (Cart Wranglers International), the cart wranglers of the world finally had the science to back up the perfect outlet for their grievances against society. Don't bother asking one of them. They will feign ignorance. I've said too much.

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domino08 3 years, 3 months ago

Jan, I suggest you hit the gym.

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deec 3 years, 3 months ago

When you pull the carts apart, you are interferring with their mating cycle...

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