shopping cart from hell


we’ve all been there. trying to act smug and steer it anyway. ikea has the worst ones.

so today, i went to Costco. we’re out of mayonnaise and toilet paper. don’t ask. (i happen to be listening to Pandora’s 80s mix right now and New Order’s “Leave Me Alone” just came on. New Order… does it get any better than them? i mean really. ….)

ok. back to Costco. so i park my massiveMobile (Costco does have great parking lots, i have to say). i get out my eco-shopping bags, my freezer bags, my Costco card, because they won’t let you in there without one. try it. the little retired ladies, former librarians probably, at the double-wide front doors with their red vests will throw you down faster than you can say “banana split.” if they can’t click that headcount clicker tallying Members Through The Door you may as well be in line at Spago in L.A. with clean hair, sober, employed and wearing cotton: it’s not happening.

None Shall Pass.

so i get out my card and out of the corner of my eye i see a woman with crazy hair wildly stare about the lot as she deposits the cart she used nowhere near the corral. i mean, in the middle of the lot betwixt four spots, on the grid lines.

in retrospect, i regret not yet having read the book Blink because if i had, i know i wouldn’t have done what i did.

i decided to get her cart and use it. i thought, do the right thing; finish the job, close the circle, be responsible, pick up where she left off… the little voice, the one that had clearly read Blink and any number of Stephen King novels as it turns out, said to me: the cart corral is on the way in to the store; i don’t need to do her a favor. her hair is crazy. she practically ran away and crossed herself when she let go. she lined it up on the grid. maybe she cast a spell on it. 

there was a corral right behind me, not 15 feet from my car. when we first moved to Va. in 1981 they didn’t have them anywhere. my father was convinced that the reason we had them in buffalo was because the mob there wanted the kids who could walk your gorceries to your car scrubbed out because they didn’t need protection being junior members of Local 1919, an’ all.

>Spandau Ballet’s “True” just popped in on Pandora… swinnnnngg and a miss…<

so being smarter than the smart voice, i took the cart and almost immediately regretted it. it shanked hard right. now before any of you golfers out there call me on saying a shank is a left curve, i’ll be happy to remind you that i’m left handed. so for me, a shank is to the right.

it was subtle, this cart. no apparent wheel wobble like those that look >and sound< like wheel on a   semi that just heaved steel-belted death into your path of travel on the interstate. it looked innocent enough.

two steps into my stride this cart took a near-180˚ turn after i endeavored to move forward.  immediately i felt like jerry lewis in The Nutty Professor. warily looking around the parking lot, my hair, previously in a neat pony tail was now flying about my face. pbbbpting it out of my mouth and using all the surface area of my gloved left hand to clear it from my eyes, i realized the cart and i were heading for the the double-wides. i had tunnel vision and everything felt so far away; we (the cart which had its own personality and i) were about 1.5 miles from the entrance.

with their extra layer of skin on them, my hands were protected from imminent blisters. trying to maintain my cool composure, i eyed the cart corral and was desperate to unload my hearse. my right forearm now searing from its vise-like management of the cart felt like it’d been holding the halyard line from Stars and Stripes in the America’s Cup in a category 3 gale.


oof. there goes the back. my posture now resembling a hyena’s and come to think of it, if i weren’t wearing sunglasses my eye that was still open and not pinched from the stress would’ve too, my hands began to sweat and if i could’ve felt my left hand i’m sure i would have brought it to my teeth to pull off the gloves at the fingertips.

suddenly i was that crazy-looking woman who unloaded the cart wherever she freaking could. i took her place. i got to the corral, slammed that cart into the others with a vengeance that was mine alone and put my mitts on the first one i could.

it didn’t budge. peering about myself for a camera crew and some dapper dude in a bad suit with hair like Jimmy Johnson’s and holding a huge microphone with a fuzzy cover on the head, i felt like one of those women in the PMS ads that ask in the voiceover, “Is the day not going your way…? Does nothing seem to feel right…?” what they forget to ask is, “Are you about to take hostages?”

well, if it doesn’t work the first time, you’re all hunched over, your hands won’t slip out of their leather gloves because they’re all sweaty now, your hair is in your face and you can’t see out of one eye, do the rational thing: PULL HARDER.

swearing helps.


it didn’t today.

no crowd gathered. people were busy scurrying for cover.

after the third pull i gave up. the smart voice was rolling on its back laughing itself stupid pointing at me as it was sampling spinach ravioli inside the warehouse.

so i tried the next cart and it released beautifully. i fixed myself up, dusted myself off and started all over again. and forty-five minutes, three BPA-free water bottles, 24 glue sticks, two roasted chickens, seven sonicare replacement toothbrushes, four pounds of frozen strawberries, and 36 eggs later i was out the door.

i forgot the mayonnaise and toilet paper.

>The Romantics “What I like About You” just started. dance party.<

thank you.

About Grass Oil by Molly Field

follow me on twitter @mollyfieldtweet. i'm working on a memoir and i've written two books thus unpublished because i'm a scaredy cat. i hail from a Eugene O'Neill play and an Augusten Burroughs novel but i'm a married, sober straight mom. i write about parenting, mindfulness, irony, personal growth and other mysteries vividly with a bit of humor. "Grass Oil" comes from my son's description of dinner i made one night. the content of the blog is random, simple, funny and clever. stop by, it would be nice to get to know you. :)

4 responses »

Whatcha Think, Smahtypants?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s