I've been driving grocery carts since I was tall enough to reach the handle. They haven't changed much through the years, those carts. Easy to operate, no instructions needed. More things in life should be so simple.
While growing up, grocery shopping was a real family affair. My mother, who is a good planner, would load several coolers into the trunk (gotta keep those frozen goods frozen!) while prodding my sister and me into the car. Off we would drive to the commissary. Yes, the commissary. I never set foot in a non-military grocery store until I was grown.
We would shop for a month at a time. That's right. A whole month's worth of groceries were purchased in one trip. My sister, my mother and I each would push a cart. (Did you know you need to shake milk that has been frozen before using it? People who don't buy a month's worth of milk in one shopping trip and then freeze it until they need it may not be aware of this fact. If you don't shake it before using it you get lots of little floating white flakes in your milk. I don't like lots of little floating white flakes in my milk.)
Fast forward many years. I've been an independent adult grocery shopper responsible for pushing carts safely around grocery stores for a long time. If pressed, I may even admit to being an expert despite the fact professing expertise in grocery cart pushing seems rather lame. So when what happened on my last trip to the grocery store actually happened, it was startling indeed.
I was over near the deli, seeking out a sack of the sesame bagel chips Wendy so adores. I negotiated a slight turn, pushing my cart in front of me as I have done a million and one times before. It was a simple manuever, not requiring great concentration or serious cart control. Evidently, however, I was not applying even the minimal amount of necessary attention to the task at hand.
The folly of my inattentiveness would soon be apparent to all. To me and many other shoppers and employees at the Safeway.
Somehow, and I'm still not exactly sure how, but somehow I managed to clip the edge of a stacked display of cases of plastic bottles of bright pink vitamin-fortified water. My cart impacted with enough force to topple the top three cases, sending sixteen ounce grenades of pink fluid flying through the air then bursting as they landed, spraying their colorful liquid contents on everything nearby.
A nearby employee gave me the hairy eyeball then called for a cleanup crew. I smiled my thanks and gave a little "so sorry I'm such a fucking klutz and you have to deal with the aftermath" grimace-shrug as I hightailed it away from the scene.
Truth be told, it wasn't the first time I've made a huge mess in a grocery store and it may not be the last. The first time was also a container of fluid bursting like a fountain all over the aisle. That time it was a gallon of milk. There was no cart involved. That time I was goofing around carrying the milk on my shoulder and it slipped off. Don't ask. I'm not telling any more.
At times, it's a good policy.