Friday, January 18, 2013

Shopping carts do not kill people: people kill people.

 Beware of shopping carts. Walmart, just like other big box retailers, absolves itself of any damage "caused by shopping carts." Its that old argument: do shopping carts kill people or do people kill people. Where does the responsibility lie?
 In our local grocery store sleeping shopping carts wait for the unwary shopper. Shopping cart rage awaits. It can erupt at any time. I have seen it as shoppers try to entangle a cart from the rows of sleeping carts. I have seen it as carts crash into each other at the end of aisles. And I've seen many a screaming child begging to be released from the maw of an angry shopping cart. Are these rage encounters the fault of the shopper (carter) or of the cart as implied by Walmart?
 Carters are lured to use the free carts by promises such as the one shown here. "I promise you low prices." But at what cost to your independence.
This shopping cart seems benign as it lies in the snow at -20C. But it can readily be turned into a lethal weapon at any time. Do we really want our children to have access to such weapons?

In the United States some shopping centres have taken a few tentative steps to curb the menace. In some places carts are only available to be unchained with the deposit of a 25c coin. And this coin is only returned with the return of that cart.  In other states cart disabling technology jams the wheels of the carts when carters attempt to take them off the premises. Surely both techniques of control are subtle admissions of the danger of free-ranging carts.

It is no accident that carts in England are called "buggies." There are two theories as to why this is so. The first refers to the role the "buggies" have in spreading infections throughout the shopping world. In the 'flu season this is particularly distressing, so much so that some enlightened stores provide anti-septic wipes to reduce the effects of these infectious buggies. The second theory refers to the fact that the English carts, particularly at stores such as Tesco, are rumoured to be laden with electronic bugs. These give such companies all kinds of data about the users beyond their actual purchases.

The next time you use a shopping cart (buggy) be careful. Not only can they be legal but also they may be tracking your every move.

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