The problem: I go nuts over people who leave their shopping carts in the middle of the parking lot. If you need the cart as a walking assist, park next to a cart rack.
Low road: Run up to their car with a big smile, holding their cart. “Excuse me! I think you left this!”
High road: This reminds me of a conversation I had with a guy in a parking lot once. He was heading to his car and I was heading into some Big Box to buy something I didn’t really need, but at least was getting in a large quantity. He handed me his cart and said, “Now we both win!”
As I tried to navigate the unruly thing through the parking lot and into the store (where a hundred other shopping carts awaited me) I kept thinking, “Wait. what did I win?” Anyway, yes, it is annoying to see shopping carts helter-skelter in between parking spots or just abandoned precariously, with only the slightest shift in wind speed required to launch it into the side of a car.
I feel bad for those underpaid workers who have to gather up and parade the shopping carts in a mile-long, slinkyish motion back inside, usually while it’s sleeting.
So, first, remind yourself there are few more stressful places in modern life than a parking lot, with everyone behind a wheel hangry and in a hurry. Focus on the good eggs, those folks who take the time to let you park, or who push their cart into its happy nesting place instead of launching it forward and hoping for the best. Be sure to smile and thank them when you can. And be a good egg yourself. Place your cart in the rack, along with another cart you grab along the way. It’s egg-cellent role-modeling for those in your back seat, and a gentle reminder to the launch-prone around you.
Send questions about life’s little quandaries to firstname.lastname@example.org. Read more of Gail’s “High Road” columns at startribune.com/highroad.