“I’m just being nice. I don’t work here.”
I was trying to make it clear to the woman walking toward me with her shopping cart — just in case my overcoat, jeans, scarf and lack of nametag or apron didn’t — that I wasn’t a grocery store employee.
It didn’t work, or maybe she just didn’t give a damn. She dropped off her shopping cart between the handicapped-parking spaces and left.
At this point, my annoyance level was through the roof.
I had already seen one couple ditch their cart next to my car and another guy walk halfway across the parking lot to dump his, plus the half-dozen or so already there that I was collecting out of the goodness of my heart.
And all of this … maybe 50 feet from the entrance to the store. And all of it in the span of about three minutes.
The easy explanation for my hatred of people who can’t be bothered to take shopping carts back to the store or at least the corral is that I worked at a grocery store, and it’s a pain to round them up all over the property.
But it’s more than that.
The laziness of it irks me, that I would say at least 90 percent of the time — the possible exceptions a child who can’t be left alone or some sort of mobility problem — people leave their carts here, there and everywhere because they can’t be arsed to put them back where they belong.
But it’s even more than that. It’s saying to the people who work at the store, most of whom are young and not making much money, that they’re not even worth the minimal effort required.
It’s obnoxious, and it angers me to no end.