Shopping carts: The original all-purpose vehicle

FATHER’S DAZE
Emmitt B. Feldner for The Review

EDITOR’S NOTE: Our columnist is missing in action this week – or at least his column is – so we’re sticking this old column in here to fill the space.

Sylvan Goldman invented the shopping cart in 1937 at his Piggly Wiggly store in Oklahoma City, Okla., to make shopping easier for his customers and to encourage them to buy groceries.

They have been put to a lot of uses over the years, but I don’t think even Goldman envisioned all the things that our grandson Aiden could turn a shopping cart into.

For instance, in one trip to the grocery store over the weekend, our shopping cart was first a spaceship, then a race car and finally a garbage truck — according to Aiden, at least.

We walked into the grocery store and he took his usual post, hanging on to the front of the shopping cart.

I know, he’s supposed to ride in the seat, but I’m a safe cart driver I haven’t hurt anyone with a shopping cart in nearly two decades.

Besides, he never stays there very long. He’s usually off and walking or running pretty soon.

He did stay on the cart long enough to shoot a small platoon of aliens, robots and monsters that were apparently populating the aisles of the grocery store.

If I were him, I would have tried shooting some alien things in the grocery store that deserve to be shot like, say, anchovies or artichoke hearts or the like. It probably won’t be too long before he’s taking aim at things like that.

Having satisfied himself that the grocery store alien situation was under control, he got off the cart and took off down the aisle, telling me he’d meet me at the finish line.

If he was having some kind of race, then he’s already figured out how to win races, as he told me he’d meet at the finish line when he was already halfway down the aisle ahead of me.

If he keeps that up when he grows up, he could wind up some kind of Olympic sprint gold medalist.

That kept him entertained for a few aisles, until he apparently decided that Poppie couldn’t keep up with him in this race. That’s when he decided to hop back on the shopping cart and turn it into a race car.

I’m not sure what make or model this race car was, or who was the sponsor, but it’s a make and model I wouldn’t buy, and the sponsor was certainly not getting his money’s worth.

Every few feet we had to stop so Aiden could retrieve some part that had fallen off the race car and put it back in place so we could continue.

It started out as some unspecified part, then it became the battery. No matter how well he installed or attached the part in question, it kept falling back off a few feet down the aisle.

Apparently Aiden’s father the Army-trained mechanic hasn’t taught his son yet how to make proper repairs.

It couldn’t possibly be that that’s how they repair vehicles in the Army make sure they’ll fail or fall off a few feet down the road, so that you’re always assured of work.

The shopping cart/race car also ran out of gas a few times about as often as the driver, Poppie, did trying to keep up with Aiden.

Apparently, this was a true full-service grocery store we were in, since Aiden found gas pumps handy wherever we ran out of gas whether it was the canned goods aisle, the cookie aisle, the dog food aisle or wherever.

After a while it appeared that this race car was too much even for Aiden to fix, because it suddenly morphed back into a spaceship for several aisles.

Now, however, we had graduated from shooting aliens, robots and monsters and had advanced to shooting whole planets, according to Aiden.

If it had changed into a spaceship one more time, I shudder to think what we would have been gunning for by then.

There must have been a lot fewer evil planets in the grocery store than there were aliens, robots and monsters, because the car was now a garbage truck, according to Aiden, and we had to stop every few feet to pick up garbage.

Actually, I think it was probably all the broken race-car parts and dead aliens, robots, monsters and planets he was picking up.


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