Thursday, June 24, 2010

Memoirs of a Mom with a Car Cart

Exhibit A:  The Car Cart

I know what you're thinking: UGH, whose idea was it to make this monstrosity of a cart?  Whenever you see these in the grocery store, you shudder and steer your own normal cart the other way.  Don't you.  Yes, you do.  Why?  The car cart is big, virtually unsteerable, bangs into everything, and clearly contains humans small enough not to realize that we keep arms and legs and long, curly hair inside our vehicles at all times for a reason.  

I can tell you this from experience:  Moms do not want to drive the car cart.  Dads don't drive the car cart.  You never see that.  It is so front-heavy and full of unpredictable toddler that you can't really blame people for turning their carts away and heading quickly in the direction opposite the food they are actually looking for.

On the morning of Father's Day, I drove the car cart.  I took both girls to the store to grab some bacon for HH's celebratory breakfast whilst he slept.  Now, Tootsie Roll is generally fine in stores.  She is 7, and although she sometimes grumps that she has to walk (yes, I expect the slave driver comments to come pouring in, I have my armor on) and she wants everything, she is also big enough to know that she is big enough to walk and even she gets tired of my pre-recorded response, "Put it on your birthday list" (which works just as well for Count Chocula as it does for the newest must-have Silly Bandz).  Curly Jones, on the other hand, is just at the age where she wants to do everything herself, and keeping her safely in the small seat in the front of a shopping cart is generally an exercise in futility because she can unbuckle and stand up.  Unlike Toots, she wants to walk, but if you have ever tried walking around a store at 3 yr old pace where exciting things line every shelf at 3 yr old height... yeah, it's not exactly the most efficient shopping experience.

So there we were, with CJ in the car cart and TR complaining beside me.  When you shop by yourself, other shoppers do not generally go out of their way to talk to you (at least not in New Jersey).  But the car cart is an attention magnet, eliciting comments from just about every person you go by (well, at least the other people who are awake and in the grocery store at 7am on a Sunday), ranging from, "Are you sure you can drive that thing?"  to "Don't crash!" to "Whoa... aren't you kind of young to have a license?" (not much of a range is my point) all directed at the youngster in the car.  People mean to be friendly, but said kid in car ignores them because they can't see anything from the car cart except maybe the person's legs.  So Car Cart Mom smiles, secretly cringing at all the crashing comments, seeing as the weekend before, Tootsie Roll and I were in a car accident that shook her up a lot.

I managed to wrangle the car cart to the card aisle to pick out some Father's Day cards (better late than never, I know).  The aisles are not super wide, but I was able to put the car cart all the way to the right of the aisle (on the birthday card side) and leave plenty of walking space on the Father's Day card side.  A few people came by and picked out cards.  Finally, one woman approached from the opposite direction and literally ran her body right into the front of the car cart, pushing it away from the birthday cards.  Startled, I said to the woman, "Sorry, I'd be happy to move the cart if you need to get a card."  She sighed (not just audibly, it was like a stage sigh) and said, "Yes, obviously."  So I went to move the cart and she started to go behind it and stare at the Father's Day cards on the other side of the aisle.  I said, "Oh, if you need one of those, why don't you just go around to the other side?" meaning there is a reason I have my cart pushed all the way over here to THIS side, taking my chances with a 3 yr old within reach of about ten million birthday cards.  But I said it nicely, because I don't want to be in someone's way with my giant car cart.  She replied, "YES, WHY DON'T I DO THAT,"  walked to the other side, where she had a good several feet of space in which to gaze annoyedly at the Father's Day cards and literally bang her body into my cart on purpose about six times.

Now listen.  I don't want to be driving the car cart.  I don't want to explain for the umpteenth time that you cannot get out while the cart is moving.  I don't want to hear everyone's comments about driving.  I don't want to listen to my big one whine about why my little one gets to do everything.  By the time we got to the checkout (which is almost impossible to drive the car cart through), I was still just feeling a little bit like a wounded puppy, wondering why people decide to just be nasty for no reason, when another woman, shopping by herself with no kids, gave me the most empathetic look and said, "I've driven that bus."
Thank you, fellow Car Cart Lady.  You have no idea how I needed that.  Oh,what we do for bacon...
Happy Father's Day to my Handsome Hubby :)


Natalie said...

LOL! I can totally relate! I hate the car cart. I have 3 kids of riding age and it's always a fight to see which two will ride. And I hate that one crusty person who is always at the grocery store waiting to give me the evil eye or comment on my lack of parenting skills. I know I suck, lady! You try pushing three crazy kids in a cart without sides.

So you are not alone. The bacon looks amazing though, so I'd say the outing was worth it. :)

April said...

Oh man, I am never using one of those carts! Thankfully, the Little One is almost too big. Well, she is really, but she insists on getting in the cart anyway, even when I'm loading up tons of stuff, even when I'm loading up the bags at checkout...she doesn't seem to mind being in my way.

You definitely earned that bacon!

Falen said...

ugh what a rude woman. I'll never understand people who go out of their way to be rude. Why waste the effort? I mean, it's so important for you to be rude that you have to make an effort? WTH?

also, BACON!!!!

storyqueen said...

Ah...the car cart!!! It's been a while since I had to drive the dreaded car cart.

But I'd probably do it again....for bacon.


Southpaw said...

Reading this story made me want to smash a cart into the card woman. What a snot. Thank goodness for the one perceptive person in the crowd.

Julie Hedlund said...

Hilarious! The dreaded car carts. So glad those days are over (for me). Reminds me too of a time I was on a plane with my 2 yo daughter in cattle car. The man in front of my daughter put his seat all the way back, practically crushing her legs since she was in her car seat, and then had the audacity to complain that she was pushing her feet against her seat. I was pregnant at the time and practically tore the guy's face off.

Nonetheless, the bacon looks delicious! Makes me want some right now.

RS said...

I enjoy your blog.


coffeelvnmom said...

I have another complaint to add about the cart - IT'S A TWO SEATER! I have three kids! (All within less than three years of each other!)

Add the constant arguing about who goes first, then having to pay attention to "fair" time increments to the already big hassle it is to push that thing around, and that clunker makes shopping with little ones even harder than it already is! Thank goodness my girls are past that stage. Honestly, any time I see a mom pushing one of those, I immediately cringe!

And as for moving the cart out of the way, isn't it interesting how those of us who actually *do* try not to block anything get attitude, and those who *don't* seem to always be perfectly in our way?

Wendy Ramer said...

Whoever designed those things definitely was not a mother!

Old Kitty said...

Gosh!!! What a thing to invent!! I've never seen such a thing! Oh dear!! I'm so sorry about your awful experience - some people are just grumpy by nature - you did very well to be so calm under pressure - you and TR and CJ!

I hope you and your family had a great Father's Day anyway!!

Take care

Kathi Oram Peterson said...

Good grief! Some people. How nice that the other lady understood what you were going through. I hope your hubby appreciated his bacon. :)

Anonymous said...

I like your blog !!Thank you. They are really great .
do not miss my goods , they are very beautiful !!
Fashion watches
Discount watches
Antique pocket watches

Glynis said...

Thank goodness they had not been invented for my 3 darlings!

Some people are out to be awkward, I think it is a hobby or something.

Misty Waters said...

OMG! You got hit with the same Anon Commenter I did! I totally wrote them a letter . . . .

And also, People are crazy!! This post had me a little fired up for you . . . in fact, I retold your story to some friends this weekend.