An artist’s rendition of the shopping cart retrieval lady in action.I met an amazing person today. She is the woman who drives around the neighborhood in a pickup truck and picks up shopping carts that people take from local grocery stores. I don’t know when she started making her rounds because I only noticed her work recently, but I am glad she is there.

In addition to people and cockroaches, the 400 unit apartment complex where I often masturbate in also houses an abundance of shopping carts. Over time they grow in number until they are blocking hallways, entrances, and exits. The other day there were three down the hallway. I noticed two under the stairwell today. Most of them belong to Vons, some to Ralphs, but regardless of where they are from they have all made this apartment complex their home.

I can’t be completely sure how they get here but I have an idea. People often walk to the grocery store, buy groceries, and bring them back in a shopping cart. On their next trip to the grocery store they often forget about the shopping cart they used the last time and invariably bring home another banged up old shopping cart that just gets added to the herd.

However, these residents simply are not wanted. They are old, rusty, and create quite an eyesore. They don’t pay rent, nor do they abide by our community rules. They have parties clear into the night with their shopping cart friends. They make this old dump look like an old shit. It’s embarrassing. We don’t say it out loud, but their presence makes us look low class. And so the shopping cart retrieval lady was hired to take them back to their rightful home.

The shopping cart debate isn’t so cut and dry as it may first seem. There is a war going on out there.

On one hand taking a shopping cart from a grocery store parking lot is technically theft. It’s not yours. You did not purchase it. The shopping cart was purchased by the grocery store to help people carry around their groceries in the store and then ultimately to their car. If you don’t have a car and need to take your groceries home it may be a good idea to invest in your own cart or possibly a wagon. Don’t you shopping cart thieves have a ton of kids anyway? Why not make them carry the groceries home? What good are they then?

The shopping cart isn’t always a tool used to carry crap around. I, for instance, call it home.On the other side of the coin, the people who use shopping carts to take their groceries home are not the most well off folks in the world. They often hover around the poverty line, unable to afford a car. They lack the intellect required to use condoms and other forms of birth control correctly and are forced to conceive child after child. Because of this they cannot go to school, get better jobs, and better their lives. So why not let some people take a shopping cart or two? You’re a big rich grocery store and they are poor. You won’t miss that shopping cart, but they really need it.

Let me tell you which side I fall on the shopping cart debate. The second someone takes a shopping cart from the grocery store parking lot they should be arrested, handcuffed, and beaten to death. Let’s be realistic here. This is theft. Grand theft shopping cart is becoming a serious epidemic here in America. Every year the grocery store companies lose billions of dollars replacing shopping carts lost in the field. This results in higher prices for you, me, and the very people who take those shopping carts!

Both sides on the shopping cart debate make very good points but I also wanted to obtain an opinion from someone on the frontlines. In order to get a unique perspective on this fuming argument I decided to talk to Carlota the Shopping Cart Retrieval Lady myself and get her opinion on this growing problem.

Spokker Jones (me): Hello Carlota the Shopping Cart Retrieval Lady. Thank you for taking the time out of your busy schedule to talk to us today.

Carlota the Shopping Cart Retrieval Lady: No problem.

Spokker:: Carlota is a very pretty name.

Carlota: Uhm, thank you?

Spokker: Today we are talking about the shopping carts that get taken from grocery store parking lots and become abandoned in local neighborhoods. Let me ask you, how many shopping carts do you find on any given day?

Carlota: In a standard five block area we usually recover around 20 to 30 shopping carts.

Spokker: Wow, that is quite a bit. Who hires you to do this?

It’s an image of a generic shopping cart to fill out this shitty article.Carlota: The grocery store. They tell us to go into apartment complexes and look for shopping carts. We usually get permission from the landlord before we do this.

Spokker: Amazing. You know Carlota, you have very pretty eyes.

Carlota: Uh-

Spokker: In your opinion, do you feel that stolen shopping carts are a problem in our neighborhoods?

Carlota: Well, I wouldn’t really call it a huge problem. People need a way to get their groceries home and sometimes they can’t afford a car. I guess that’s why the store doesn’t stop them. How else are they going to get their groceries home?

Spokker: That’s a good point. So… are you going out with anybody, Carlota?

Carlota: Huh? What does that have to do with anything?

Spokker: Look, I have a confession to make. I'm not writing this update because I care about the shopping cart problem. I wrote this update as a way to talk to you. I really like you Carlota, and was wondering if you would like to go out for coffee sometime.

Carlota: I have a confession to make too. I have been admiring you from afar Spokker Jones, in the rose garden. You have entranced me with your slumped over posture and your relatively clean shirts. The way you lose at video games and get mad about it show a determination unlike any other. Take me Spokkero Jose!

Spokker: I am yours!

There you have it. The shopping cart debate isn’t going to be settled anytime soon, but at least the grocery stores have one trick up their sleeve, the shopping cart retrieval lady, who is on a quest to retrieve the world’s shopping carts at a price negotiated in a frozen meat locker. Do you have something to say about the shopping cart debate? Chime in today by sending off an email to us!

Update: Since this update went to press Spokker and Carlota are now married with four kids. They enjoy long walks on the beach, Super Monkey Ball 2 on the Xbox, and setting traps on the lawn for the UPS guy. They live on public assistance and lose it all on online poker sites.

Editor’s Note: There is no way that Spokker Jones went outside and talked to an actual person. He probably sat in his living room eating tacos, scratching his balls, and watching Xena in his underwear like he does every Saturday night. We apologize for the inconvenience folks.

– Zachary "Spokker Jones" Gutierrez

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