Getting pushy with shopping-cart scofflaws

Published 12:18 am Wednesday, September 14, 2011

I wish North Carolina would require a pusher’s license to operate a shopping cart.

Almost each time I go to a grocery store, someone proves he or she cannot properly push a shopping cart. And if they cannot properly maneuver a shopping cart, just how terrible are they when it comes to driving vehicles on the roadways?

Or is it that usually good drivers lose their knowledge of road rules when they trade the steering wheels of their vehicles for the handlebars of their shopping carts? Is there something about walking through those electronic sliding doors at the grocery store that triggers an electronic imbalance in the brain that causes a safe driver on the highway to become a shopping-cart menace in the food aisles?

Why do some shoppers insist on pushing their carts down the wrong side of the aisle? Perhaps they are under the mistaken belief they are shopping in England.

Whether it’s an aisle between shelves or a multi-lane aisle with a median (usually little islands of food products) separating the aisles, shoppers should push their shopping carts down the right side of the aisle.

Anyone caught pushing a shopping cart the wrong direction on any kind of aisle should be made to return to the corral for shopping carts and start over.

In America, we drive on the right side of the road, not the left side.

Those shopping carts traveling on those multi-lane aisles — the ones that stretch from the front of the grocery store to its rear — should have the right of way. If I had a dollar for each time some shopper on a smaller, side aisle pushed his or her shopping cart in front of me, well, I could eat steak everyday for at least six months.

Do we have to erect “No parking” signs along any type of aisle to prevent shoppers — usually one headed one way on an aisle and the other headed the other way — from blocking other shopping-cart traffic? While those two shoppers are gossiping, my fat-free, sugar-free ice cream is melting.

I’d support legislation for a police force to enforce shopping-cart ordinances. Let the stock boys and baggers pick up some overtime by issuing citations to the guilty.

Anyone found guilty of PUI (pushing a shopping cart under the influence) should be banned from using a shopping cart for 30 days and sentenced to performing 10 hours of community service, with said community service consisting of repairing shopping carts with wobbly wheels that make that “whumpa, whumpa, whumpa” sound when pushed.

When it comes to pushing a shopping cart, just remember the rules of the road. Better yet, don’t just remember the rules of the road, put them into use.

Push safely out there. We don’t want any crack-ups, especially on the egg aisle.

Mike Voss covers the city of Washington for the Washington Daily News. What’s the best shopping cart out there? One that’s full.

About Mike Voss

Mike Voss is the contributing editor at the Washington Daily News. He has a daughter and four grandchildren. Except for nearly six years he worked at the Free Lance-Star in Fredericksburg, Va., in the early to mid-1990s, he has been at the Daily News since April 1986.
Journalism awards:
• Pulitzer Prize for Meritorious Public Service, 1990.
• Society of Professional Journalists: Sigma Delta Chi Award, Bronze Medallion.
• Associated Press Managing Editors’ Public Service Award.
• Investigative Reporters & Editors’ Award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Public Service Award, 1989.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Investigative Reporting, 1990.
All those were for the articles he and Betty Gray wrote about the city’s contaminated water system in 1989-1990.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Investigative Reporting, 1991.
• North Carolina Press Association, Third Place, General News Reporting, 2005.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Lighter Columns, 2006.
Recently learned he will receive another award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Lighter Columns, 2010.
4. Lectured at or served on seminar panels at journalism schools at UNC-Chapel Hill, University of Maryland, Columbia University, Mary Washington University and Francis Marion University.

email author More by Mike