What Is It With Men and Shopping Carts?

Next time you’re at the grocery store, look around.   Who’s driving the shopping cart?

I noticed this recently on a grocery excursion with Cowboy Fan.  He latched onto that cart like it was a TV remote, and I was never able to steer its wobbly wheels or touch its germy plastic handle again.

The cart was never where I thought it should be.  I’d look around and discover he was parked 20 feet away.  Or he hadn’t come down the aisle—too crowded.  Sometimes he parked right in front of the product I needed to peruse. “Uh…could you move?  I need to reach in that shelf.”

Then the cart would go 20 feet away.

I tried.  I tried to regain control.  If I sent him on an errand…”Sweetie, go over to the next aisle and pick up a box of that awful bran cereal that tastes like carpet fuzz while I pick out cans of  soup.”

He’d take the shopping cart with him.  And NEVER  come back.  I’d have to shuffle over to Aisle 8 with soup cans tucked under my arms and chin.  He’d be standing there comparing the nutritional listing of  wheat mulch goop to rice bits goop.

I came up with a plan.  When we reached the milk case, I strategically mentioned.  “Why don’t you pick out some chips?”  There are about 50 feet of chip choices.  That would keep him busy, and I could dash through the store spiking groceries into the basket —right in front of me.  “Leave the basket,” I reminded him, and he walked away with the enthusiasm of a kid headed to the principal’s office.

My victory was short-lived.  He found me over in the health and beauty section.  I saw him coming and could have made it to the check out if they hadn’t stocked my Consumer-Report-Says-It’s-The-Best-For-The-Money toothpaste on the bottom shelf.

I snagged a tube and when I arose, I came up through his arms.  He’d locked onto the cart.  I was caught in the middle.

He drove ol’ Betsy (I’m sure he’d named it by now) through the check out, to the car, and to the cart corral where they probably had a fond good-bye.

I didn’t see it.  I was in the car waiting for him to drive us home.

About Barb

I escaped from a hardscrabble farm in Oklahoma. I'm not sure why people think I have an accent. I miss the sunshine, but not the fried foods.
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16 Responses to What Is It With Men and Shopping Carts?

  1. Susan Landis-Steward says:

    This is why I had the good sense to marry a woman!


  2. Lisa Nowak says:

    You always crack me up, Barb. Fortunately, my husband does most of the shopping himself, and when I go with him he’s pretty mellow with the shopping cart.


  3. Beth says:

    The Mayor does most of the shopping. He claims he’s faster, and is not prone to impulse buys. We make the list together, and somehow I find things that weren’t on it, but he’d “planned to get them all along.” When we shopped together, we split the list and each took a cart, then met near the checkout. Since I had done the produce, bulk aisle and meat, I was slower, so he decided it would be faster if he went earlier and alone. Fine with me.


    • Barb says:

      OH HO. So we can expect to see our mayor wheeling a cart down the aisles. Well, it would be interesting to see if he has the same perspective as our other male commenter about women blocking the aisle.

      Of course, leave it to you all to find an acceptable alternative with both of you herding a cart. Now we’ll look for him–ALONE–in the cereal aisle


  4. Alice Lynn says:

    I guess you could color me “lucky.” My husband does 95% of all our grocery shopping and he even cooks! 🙂


  5. Les says:

    Man-driver here. Iris, (my wife)likes me to drive the cart. Less pressure on her persnickety shoulder. That’s fine with me, I don’t mind. As for those that question the reasoning for leaving a cart at the end of a busy isle while retrieving an item? Hello… does it look like those 10 ladies down that isle want to move their carts from the center one iota for someone to squeeze by? I don’t think so! They may let a flattened body with head turned sideways and stomach pulled in squeeze by, but that’s about it.

    Let’s face it… who hasn’t seen two women, (yes, usually women,)chatting in the middle of an isle, carts parted right next to each other facing opposite directions, perfectly positioned to block the entire passage, as immobile as a double-wide trailer? Then you get “the look” if you smile to indicate you’d like to pass through there some time that day.(If you ask nicely, they’ll let you by, but otherwise never acknowledging your existence or missing a single syllable of their conversation.)

    Ah yes, cart stories are so fun. Thanks, Barb, for bringing up the subject. Now you have one man’s perspective.

    Let’s also not forget that Wal-Mart supplies antibacterial wipes for the handles for a reason. Has anyone ever considered that the child’s seat section, where one is very likely to put items, may at one time been blessed with fluids or other fun things from leaky diapers! Eww! I saw an Educational TV Network show on that once, (OETA, for fellow Okies,) and I’m telling you… I don’t use that small section of the cart, NO MO! Nasty… yes, with a capital N.(Roxie knows what I’m talkin’ about!)

    Stop by my blog tomorrow, and we can discuss the alternative to the cart… the small basket. I bet we ALL have stories about those as well.


    • Barb says:

      Thank you Les for the man-view. But you’re earning some glares with that statement about women blocking the aisle.

      Well maybe it’s true.

      Okay…all right. But double-wide trailer? I’ll drop by your blog, but unless your alternative to a cart is a Brad Pitt look-alike that follows me around carrying my little recyclable basket, I don’t think I’m going to be too keen about it.


  6. Roxie says:

    Actually, I prefer that he drive. I sort of trail along with my hands in my pockets, keeping an eye out for the brain dead who look left and shove right and run right into you. I don’t have to worry about parking in front of someone else who is trying to find something on the shelf. I don’t stress about getting caught in the jam between the mom who has four kids fighting over which brand of sugar chockos breakfast cereal they’re buying this week, (I would feed them oatmeal and save the money for dental bills, but that’s just me and it’s easy to say what you would do with your kids when you don’t have any) And the woman who wants just two or three things and is enraged that she can’t just run in on a Sunday right after church and pick them up. I’d far rather let him do the driving, handle the germy, wry-wheeled cart and carry the stuff to the car. What I want to know is, why is it a point of honor for a strong healthy man to get THE closest parking space to the door? He’ll drive around for ten minutes trying to get a closer space. I want to scream, “Just park it for
    God’s sake! We can walk an extra twenty feet!!”


    • Barb says:

      You mean you send your beloved out for all those supplies to host those Martha Stewart parties you throw?
      The man’s a saint. Of course, I think you and Les have been colluding about the aisle-blocking women. Your authoritative voice could clear a burning building if you said, “Comin’ thru.” And I can just imagine you adding some commentary about “Chockos” too.
      But I understand the moral to your story….If you can’t stand the crowd, stay out of the cereal aisle.


  7. digipicsphotography says:

    WOW! You could be talking about my hubby! He does the same thing!


  8. rose says:

    LOL I am glad my husband never wanted the cart, but he wanted to buy all the things we did not need, would never use and totally odd!!!! When he went along, the grocery bill was always $50 more!!!! Thank goodness he does not go anymore with me.


    • Barb says:

      Rose, I know what you mean. “I freeze and my shoulders bunch up at the sound of, “Hey, this looks good.”

      If it’s a small size, no big deal, but it’s usually a half-gallon of pickled something or other, which will be enriching the compost pile in a month or so.


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