Did you ever notice...?

At the risk of chanToo European for you?nelling the late Andy Rooney: did you ever notice that the small, double basket carts at the grocery store are always gone?

People don't actually fight over the things, at least not here in Cambridge, where people are really well behaved, but sometimes it seems like they should. While there are dozens of the big, traditional shopping carts, large enough to hold an entire side of beef, case of PBR, and a gross of Lean Cuisines, all of which require diving into the depths of the cart to retrieve, the nimble, post-divorce carts are in scarce supply.

Beware, you suburbanites. A Cambridge grocery store will terrify you. The aisles are just wide enough for naked mole rats to squirm over each other. You'll get claustrophobia, and the package sizes will make you feel that you've woken up in Lilliput.

Maybe thisAnything to keep them from scooping food from the shelves sport-model carts have no place in the rest of the country (though there must be plenty of divorced and single people everywhere), but here they are a wonderful invention. I see parents maneuvering those giant carts with the driving simulator on the back (two steering wheels--fortunately, self-driving cars will probably be mandatory before these deluded toddlers get old enough to apply for a license), but then, these people drive Escalades and probably have sectional sofas the size of aircraft carriers at home. For the rest of us, the sport model cart is just what we want.

Particularly for me, since I put my bike panniers in the bottom basket and fill the top.

So why do these grocery stores run out of them so much? There are any number of possible reasons:

  • They are expensive, despite their small size
  • They are easily stolen, damaged, or otherwise require frequent replacement
  • The manufacturers are having trouble filling orders
  • They require their own line, which reduces the available inventory of the tradtional carts prohibitively

You can come up with your own reasons. If I was an actual journalist, I'd do some research and learn what the supply and use contstraints really are, but really I just want to complain. If anyone does figure out an explanation, let me know.

Addendum, 2/1/17: I asked a clerk at the store, and he said that those smaller carts are stolen way more frequently than the big ones. They only have half of their initial purchase of 36 small carts left, and really have to think if it's worth the cost. At least everyone seems to like them!