Say Cheese

There’s this thing I do.  I’m having a hard time finding a word for it because the one word that springs to mind isn’t quite right.  Combative. Not quite right because by definition it means: ready or inclined to fight.  That I am not.  I am, however, one who is ready and willing to call you out if you cross me.

I’m a person who honks the horn if you cut me off.

I’m a person who speaks an audible “you’re welcome” when I’ve held a door for someone who walks through expectantly and neglects to say thank you.

I’m a person who will tell you how much I’d appreciate you keeping your child from bumping into me or stepping on my toes (over and over and over again) while we’re standing in line for a ride at Disney World.

I realize how crotchety this makes me sound.  And if you choose to describe my tendencies as crotchety I’m okay with that.  I prefer to think of myself as a champion for respect.  I respect your space.  You reciprocate.  Peace and harmony prevail.  But when you have a general disregard for common courtesy, you best be prepared to be called on it.

Like I said, though, I don’t want to come to blows with you.  Rather, I’d like to call your attention to the matter in the hopes that doing so might open your eyes.  To that end, I’ve discovered a new–rather effective–technique that I thought I’d share.

I take pictures.

People do not like having their picture taken by a stranger.  I’d guess they fear it will end up somewhere unflattering.

Case in point?

A few months ago I was at the grocery store.  I pulled into a parking spot alongside a 40-something, fit woman who had just finished her shopping and was loading the last of her bags into the trunk of her car.  As soon as she was done she pushed her cart to the front’ish of her car and left it there.  She did not bother to corral it or even put the front wheels over a curb to keep the cart from rolling into (and causing damage to) someone’s parked car.  As she backed out of the spot I motioned for her to roll her window down.

Me: How would you feel if I left my cart right beside your car and you came out to find a sizable dent because my hastily discarded cart rolled into your car?  Would you like that?

Careless shopper: Well, no.  I wouldn’t.

Me: Can I ask, then, why you didn’t bother returning your cart to a spot where it wouldn’t cause damage to other vehicles in the parking lot?

Careless shopper: {looking around in disbelief} Everybody else does it.

Me: {Gesturing to Kennedy, who was sitting sheepishly in the passenger seat} Wow.  Are those the kinds of lessons we should be teaching our children?  Two wrongs suddenly make a right?

I had sincerely hoped that the careless shopper lady would then get out of her car and–at the very least–“park” her cart over the curb of a nearby planter.  No such luck though.  So I pulled out my phone, walked to the rear of her vehicle and started taking pictures of her license plate.  What did I intend to do with the pictures?  Absolutely nothing.  I mean, besides stir up feelings of anxiety on the part of the careless shopper.

It worked.

She yelled out her window, “why are you taking pictures?”

I ignored her.  I walked up to the driver’s side of her car and proceeded to click away at close range.

She really did not care for me taking pictures of her face.  She ducked for cover behind her hands, the sun visor, pretty much anything she could find.

Did she ever remedy the cart situation?  Unfortunately, no.  But I’d be willing to bet that the next time she’s ready to discard her used shopping cart she does so appropriately.

At least, I’d like to think so.

In which case my vigilante photography skills will have made a bit of difference to a defenseless bumper in a parking lot somewhere.

Don’t mind me.  Just doing my part.


26 Replies to “Say Cheese”

  1. This is fantastic! I wish I had your guts! I can’t stand when people don’t walk the extra few feet to return the cart. It’s not that hard! Or just park next to the cart return!!

    Don’t even get me started on non-disabled people parking in the disabled parking spots…..

  2. Whoa. I’m tempted to say that is riskier behavior in TX, but I’m also a big wimp. I do hate that people won’t return the carts, especially when there are tons of cart returns.

    1. My husband is from Texas and I frequently embarrass him with my outspokenness. But to date, I’ve never been pummeled so I guess it’s all good. :)

  3. I would never have thought of doing that…but alas, I’m with Heather, not sure if I would have the guts! I will admit that I don’t always return my cart to the corral if I have the baby in the car and the corral is 1/2 way across the parking lot, but I at least bump it over the curb or something to keep it from moving!

    1. In my book, bumping the cart over the curb is a perfectly acceptable practice. Leaving it out to run into other people’s cars though? Deplorable!

  4. Wow, you have more nerve than I realized. I would have loved to watch that conversation!

    The abandoned carts in the parking lot are pet peeve of mine too, right along with cars left unattended at gas pumps.

    1. Yay, you’re home! I’ve called you two weeks in a row now. And, um, for the record…it’s been decided that you either have to hightail it back to Tucson to visit or vacation with us because, um, I miss you guys and I can’t take it anymore.

  5. Yes, we’re home and I just finished catching up on your blog (as you can probably tell). I didn’t even notice you called. You should have left a message! The big kids are leaving tomorrow evening, and we have been on the go ever since they got here.

    Lets plan a vacation for 2013! We’re planning a family cruise for next summer. I could use some advice actually.

  6. My mom always did the “your Welcome” bit or a similiar thing- I do too – it embarrasses my kids sometimes but I feel great. I laughed til I cried reading about the pics- she probably worried she would be on Yahoo.

  7. Hahahaha! You’ve got guts Girl!! I do speak up most of the time…those first couple of paragraphs are me too. I’ve also taken license plate pictures…when people cut me off or such. I’ve also left notes on cars that parked really badly. But I don’t often confront people directly. Here is ABQ, that’s likely to get me shot or stabbed!

  8. I think you’ve lost it – but admire your taking a stance. I promise to bring Kelly back you way….

    1. Admittedly, I lost it a long time ago. ;) And I’m totally holding you to that promise.

  9. oh. my. LAWD!
    You have got to be kidding me!
    I only just came here for the first time this week, and already, I am in love with you!

    1. Okay, Darcie, admit it. You found my blog by googling yourself didn’t you? ;) Happy to have you here!

      1. can you IMAGINE! HA HA! I saw my, err, your name, on a mutual blog we both read…and I was like…WHA? Have I been here already today??? Then I clicked it…and discovered there is a totally cool OTHER gal named Darcie…and now, you’re stuck with me! ;)

  10. I love this!!! I was cracking up as I read about you taking her photo. I never would have thought to do that … but I might “steal” your idea one of these days. I too have a tendency to speak my mind … :)

  11. I find I get less and less shy the older I get, but my most recent memory of speaking up to someone…is something I think I want to post about now! Thanks! :) (I’m linking back to you like Heather did.)

  12. Ahahah that’s awesome! I will have to do that next time I see someone dumping their shopping trolley in the carpark!

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