DAVE: Cart Confessions

Written by Dave Miller in the November 2016 Issue

When I go grocery shopping, I have a system. I choose a well-functioning cart and follow my standard route through the store starting in produce. I park my cart, set forth and forage on foot to gather my bounty. I repeat the process at several key locations throughout the store until I’m done. I get in. I get out. I’m efficient—if not a bit rigid.

Cart Confessions CartoonBut plans do go awry. On a recent shopping expedition at Whole Foods, I looked down into the cart I was pushing and saw yams? I don’t do yams. Pumpernickel? Jarlsberg cheese? The list goes on and on. None of these items are mine. I had nabbed someone else’s cart. The fear and embarrassment quickly overcomes my calm, cool, collected persona and I slink away from the cart of foreign items.

Where’s my cart? I backtrack my process and find it. Oh, how I missed you. I plug back into my process, and I’m back on track. Like it never happened. Except when I see a visibly annoyed lady telling her husband that she can’t believe some idiot took her cart.

Along with my regimented shopping program, I also try my best to work a program of rigorous honesty. So I pause and think, yeah, I’m gonna go do this. I approach the irate woman and proceed to tell her I’m the idiot who took your cart and I know where it is. Can I go get it for you? And I am sorry. She does not look happy. I’m not sure what’s gonna happen next. Then she bursts out laughing. She explains that she’s already replenished her new cart and it’s no big deal.

When systems fail, it’s good to have a backup plan. And in my case, telling the truth was the backup plan. Trying to right a wrong felt much better than slinking away from my mistake. I wish I could say it was a lesson well learned, but I nabbed another cart on my maiden voyage to Trader Joe’s. If it was yours, I am sorry. 

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