Stalk: verb (used with object)
to pursue (game, a person, etc.) stealthily.
to proceed through (an area) in search of prey or quarry: to stalk the woods for game.
to proceed or spread through in a steady or sinister manner: Disease stalked the land.
I have a confession.
Once a week I become a woman possessed.
Behind the wheel of my minivan my eyes become transfixed on the goal. My ears fail to hear the cries and screams of my daughters, while I stalk my prey. I scour the crowd, my car creeping along. I need to find one.
I cannot complete my task successfully without it.
It is both a blessing and curse.
What is this fabled thing I write of?
Behold, the shopping car cart.
I know I am not alone in my grocery store madness but this little car cart is magical! With it, I can successfully manage my two little rugrats for our entire week's worth of shopping trip without killing one or both or all of us.
What is this magic I speak of?
Well, this cart along with some careful planning and a little food bribery permits me to spend about an hour leisurely strolling through Wegmans.
Yes, I wrote "about an hour leisurely strolling" and I'm not lying when I write this. Mo sits up front, steering the mega long car, while Maeve sits up in the seat section near me, usually tearing my list into little pieces.
Between pretzel rolls or croissants in the bakery, then a well timed trip for cheese and lunch meat snacks at the deli, the girls have enough of a food stash to make it through the meat aisle, produce section, dairy case, and frozen food section. Occasionally, I will hear pleas from Mo for more roll, but usually she and Maeve are content waving hi and smiling at strangers, while I debate purchasing one or two pints of Ben & Jerrys, or inspecting avocados, apples, pears and bananas for brown spots.
The cart is lovely for this reason, but a pain for another.
It is huge!
Ridiculously large to the point that there are many apologies throughout the trip given by me to unsuspecting shoppers who are nearly sideswiped or completely knocked down by this huge beast. I figure driving a hummer on a one lane back road would serve as an equal analogy to navigating my beloved car cart. I did have one run in with a display of soy sauce when attempting to do an equivalent of a three point turn. As a few glass bottles crashed to the ground, Mo turned around and looked to me and said, "Mama, that's not a good idea!"
She was right and I will admit, I have steered clear of the ethnic food section since that little incident a month and a half ago.
I guess my writing about our time in the car cart is truly just a blissful stage. I know soon there will come a time where I will be bombarded with pleas for me to purchase crap like cartoon inspired cereal and kiddie microwave dinners. For now, I can prevent this by promising Dum Dum lollipops out of the bulk bins near the cereal aisle for good behavior.
I would be lying if I said that every shopping trip is saved by the car cart, but it definitely has made shopping significantly easier for me. There have been quite a few trips where my searching was unsuccessful and in turn, our usually compliant and blissful shopping experience was far less compliant and bliss filled. On those occasions, I am green with envy as I see other moms or dads pushing their car carts, child(ren) steering up front.
(I won't get started on how pissed I get when I see a car cart being misused. Yes, this ruffled my feathers when the kid is walking NEXT to the car cart or sitting in the upper basket while the front car portion remains empty. I think to myself "Hey dumb ass do you realize you are pushing a huge cart with a car in the front that other people, like me for example, could really use?")
I know I am not alone with my mutual love and hate for this cart. There have been many shared nods and knowing smiles as I pass other parents attempting to steer their car carts through the obstacle course known as a grocery store. I have had moms in the check out reminisce about their shared disdain for pushing their now older children, but acknowledgment that the beast was beneficial in keep their kids corralled.
Myy stalker behavior appears to be not only unique to me. Many a morning, as we walk to the car, our cart filled with our bags, I see them. They too drive with a purpose. Their eyes perusing the lots. They too are stalkers looking for the elusive car cart and I've got what they need.
For the record, I do pay .10 for two pops and it's definitely worth it, unlike some of the older gentlemen I have seen sticking their hands into the nut bins and walking away as they eat. YUCK!