The Shopping Shuffle

CartMy wife cannot enter a store without grabbing a cart. It doesn’t matter what kind of store it is or what she came for.  If there is a cart handy, she will grab it.

She once asked for a cart at Tires Plus.

When I ask why she does this, she says, “Because we might need something.”

You have to think about that a little.

She is not saying we might spot something we need. She is saying we might need something we spot.

Our entire economy is based on the peculiar shift of words between those two sentences. Need and desire have so been so cleverly confused by marketing that every desire becomes a need.


But back to carts and shopping. It doesn’t bother me so much that she is strangely compelled to grab a cart upon entering a store. What I find confounding is how she allows it to push her around.

Even if our only goal at a drug store was to pick up a prescription – her cart will draw her to the headwaters of the first aisle and from there, she will float along, like a rubber ducky caught up in a slow meandering current all the way through the store.

Her pace will be no quicker than a slow shuffle and it drives me nuts.

Inevitably I roll my eyes and whine, “Do we ALWAYS have to grab a cart and start at aisle one even though all we came here for is a prescription?”

And inevitably her response will be, “I might spot something we need. Go sit on a bench outside and read.”

It is our little ritual for we both know that I never accompany her to a store without a thick novel.

But this past week, she said something new.

As I was heading toward the door with my book, she called after me, “Why don’t you go over to Runnings?”

Runnings is a new guy store that recently opened in the old K-Mart that Wal-Mart put out of business.

It is a wonderland of stuff, targeted toward rural people, especially guys.. Everything at Runnings is bigger and beefier than what you would find in Lowes or Home Depot and they carry a lot of stuff for the farm that you cannot find anywhere else.  You can buy cat food there but it comes in 100 pound bags.  Even grass-seed comes in 100 pound bages.  It is the kind of place that explains why country people drive pickup trucks.

I love the place. I could spend weeks lost in the aisles, discovering new power tools or strange fittings and burn endless hours trying to figure out how everything works.

I was barely through aisle one when she rang me on my cell phone.

“I have been ready to leave for an hour,” she scolded, “where are you?.”

I tell her.

The phone went dead. A moment later it came back to life with the sound of a snicker which builds into a crescendo of laughter.

My wife could hardly control herself.

“Are you pushing a cart?” she asked.


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