Friday, July 29, 2005

Shopping Carts and the Lazy People Who Use Them

When I was in high school in Sugar Land (a suburb of Houston, Texas), like many others, I worked at a grocery store. I was a sacker, then later a checker. One of the funnest jobs I've had really. Of course one of the duties of the sackers wasn't just to put your groceries into the bag and take them out, but also to collect the carts from the parking lot. At the time, it didn't really bother me that shoppers would go, unload the cart into their car, and then just push the cart onto the grass sections or other areas of the parking lot. No biggie, it gave me something to do. At the time, however, I did not own a car.

As an adult, I don't know if there's anything that bothers me more than people who do this. It is probably my biggest pet peeve. The reason it bothers me so much is because people are super lazy. Most stores place a little section multiple places in the lot where you can place the cart into it, and it has a lip to keep them from rolling back out amongst the parked vehicles. I have watched people who are parked just across the aisle from the cart return areas and still not put the cart there.

It's begun to bother me more recently. We've all heard the stories of the "runaway carts" that invariably put a dent in someone vehicle. My mother-in-law, Linda, had it happen to her at Wal-Mart. Some lazy shopper just couldn't find the time or take the effort required to put the cart away and left in a place that it could roll into Linda's car. She has a nice new Toyota hybrid that she very much loves, but it now has a HUGE dent in the door. Most people love the cars they have. Most people take care of it. The individual who let the cart roll probably has a 2005 Cadillac that they would be very upset to see a scratch on, but don't give another thought to the people who could be affected by their carelessness.

I see people leaving the cart just whereever, but I don't have what it takes to say something to them. I'm certainly not going to leave my ice cream to melt and go gather them up and put them away, either. But I always put my own cart away. If it's a smaller store that doesn't have a cart return gizmo in the lot, I take it in.

Shame on Wal-Mart, too. I can see them saying "Uh, look...we can't be responsible for that." And I agree. However, when Linda talked to the store about it, they actually told her they would take care of the cost. When she told my wife and I this, we couldn't believe. "Kudos for Wal-Mart" I exclaimed. I asked her about it roughly two weeks later and she told me that Wal-Mart changed their mind and were not going to cover the cost. BOO on Wal-Mart! If they had told her no upfront, that's understandable, but to let Linda believe they were going to pay for it, then dash the hopes...well....that's just piss-poor customer service.

The worst part is that you, for something you didn't even have anything to do with, can't really report it to your insurance company because that will just raise your rates. So what happens? You're disgusted every time you go to your car and see the big dent.

All because some lazy, irresponsible, selfish shopper couldn't take 15 seconds to walk the cart to the return area.

PUT YOUR DAMN CART AWAY! Maybe I'll start saying something to people. Maybe I'll politely ask them to put their cart away. Maybe, while they are getting into their car, I'll walk in front of them, grab the cart, scowl and put it where it belongs. Maybe I'll just get angrier. Maybe I won't do anything. But you can bet I'm "ranting" about it here. This is the primary reason I started this blog, so I could complain (out loud) about lazy people and their runaway shopping carts.

- Will Belden
July 29,2005

Monday, July 25, 2005

Sometimes I really hate people. (In cars...)

Any of you who are familiar with me may know that my wife and I are training for the MS 150 Bike Tour. It's 75 miles from St. Augustine to Daytona Beach, FL on one day then back the second day. It'll be grueling for someone like me...a bit out of shape.

Part of this training is actually riding the bike for long distances. (Go figure...) This past weekend, we did 30 miles on Saturday morning, then another 30 again on Sunday. While it's great that Ponte Vedra has some good distances of running/biking trails, they don't go the whole distance that we need to train on. Past that, there's a good length of "HOV" lane, reserved for bikers. But it, too, runs out before the mileage we need to cover. At that point, we're on A1A, riding with traffic.

On Sunday, the roads were still wet from rain the night before. Puddles were everywhere, and so getting a bit wet and muddy was a given. However, I wasn't prepared for what happened to us.

We were riding along, and a white or silver Nissan 280Z honked at us, and then deliberately hit a puddle to splash us. At first I wasn't sure this was the case, but another biker who had passed us and stopped on the road further up had exactly the same thing happen to her. As a guy, I can understand wanting to do that. Guys are mischievious and sometimes bad mannered. But there is a BIG difference between thinking about it and actually doing it.

What prompted the title of this posting is that it's really sad that many people, especially people in cars, have no social conscience whatsoever. People do things in cars they would never consider doing on foot. Like speeding up, running you out of your lane so they can cut in front of you or flipping you off as they pass by. Apparently being in a moving vehicle afford a feeling of anonymity that you can partake of to do as you please, regardless of the consequences to others.
My advice of the day.... THINK about others when you're driving.

- Will Belden
July 25, 2005

Is she Anakin Skywalker or something?

My wife, Cindy, apparently thinks she's Anakin Skywalker and is prophesied to bring "balance to the Force". She's countering my humble (and mumble) complaint blog with one of her own.

Check it we can complain together about her!
Uncommon Ground of Positives.

Actually, I think it's cool that she thought enough of what I'm doing that she is willing to join in. Usually it's the other way around, with me following her excellent lead!

- Will Belden
July 25, 2005

Welcome to my first Rant

Welcome, commoners! Why am I doing this? I have no claim to fame or greatness. No particular desire to sway the world to my way of thinking and no particular need for attention. (Well...maybe a little...) I just desire a place to rant about the stuff that irritates me all the time. Maybe once in a while someone will agree with me, maybe they'll disagree, whatever. Just let me know!

Prior to this, I had a "blog". Not a real blog, mind you, but "My Soapbox" on my website Belden.NET, in which I posted infrequent meanderings on my site. I have them there (all 6 of them) dating back to 1999.

I have one I'll be writing in a few minutes, a need for ranting that I cannot contain. I won't be talking about anything specific to my work environment, or about my employer, so don't even think of looking here for that kind of information. I've read way too many articles about people being fired for doing that. And just in case you're wondering, no, my rants (or raves) don't express the opinion of anyone but myself. Not my friends, family or employer. (Unless I indicate otherwise by quoting them.)

I look forward to your readership. And if you aren't reading this...too bad for you!

- Will Belden
July 25, 2005