Michael Thiele is a woodsmith who makes musical instruments and playable furniture. He spends most of his life either in the shop or out on the road buying wood and selling his work at craft shows. In recent years, his travels have begun to inspire his own writing, so he sends me his thoughts.
Look, I’m not much of a Walmart guy. My preference is their competitor, Target. More space in the aisles and on the shelves. My shopping venues need to breathe a bit. That said, this morning when I needed a Sharpie on the way to the show I only stumbled onto a Walmart.
I pulled into a more remote parking space (I drive a large van). Three spaces away a guy had just arrived back at his vehicle with a shopping cart filled with purchases. He had one of those cauliflower red noses. The guy, himself? Rotund. The Jovial Joe type. Maybe ten feet off the passenger side of his car was one of those shopping cart corrals.
Jovial Joe took one look at the cart rack, pushed his cart to the center of the parking space next to him where he then left it, strolled back to his car and drove away. A broader view of the Supercenter parking lot revealed the same scene repeated again and again. Carts in the middle of parking spaces everywhere. Cart racks? Not so much.
So I have long wondered about Walmart customers. Across the country no matter where you go they are challenged this way. Starting with the a priori assumption that these are not just rude or thoughtless people, I have come up with some possible solutions in no particular order as to their likelihood of efficacy.
(1) Equip the cart corrals with some form of tractor beam that activates whenever a cart is anywhere nearby. Customer participation not required.
(2) Equip each cart with a device which locks people out of their cars until the cart is placed within the cart corrals.
(3) Require people to rent and return the carts for a refund. Charge $10.00
(4) Equip the cart with a taser type devise which zaps people whenever they attempt to leave the cart anywhere except inside the cart corral.
(5) Shoot offenders.
Some of these solutions may seem a bit inhumane. Aw shucks.