Tuesday, January 22, 2008

The Adventures of Cart Bandit

Yesterday on my day off I decided to do a little bit of shopping. The sales this time of year are pretty good, and while I wasn't really in the mood for a big extravaganza at the mall, a trip to Target and some other nearby places wouldn't be too bad.

Unlike the Walmart in South Philly, the Target is a pretty respectable place. I won't get within a half mile of the Walmart. Forget for a minute that the store is a mess and nothing is in boxes or where it's supposed to be, but it's filled with people who shout, beat their kids, steal your cart, and workers who have all the charm of a tank of pirrhanas. So ... I go to Target. The store is neat, the aisles are big, there are enough registers open, and I can generally leave with my blood pressure still intact.

I went into the store planning to shop the sale racks, so I was in no hurry. I picked up some skirt hangers, tape, a turkey baster, a sweatshirt for Dave, and continued to meander. I was looking through the PJs when something caught my eye -- 3 girls emptying my cart, throwing my stuff wherever it landed. They had just dumped the last item and were taking off. I couldn't believe what I was seeing .... and they looked right at me as they ran off with my cart!!

After a few seconds of shock, I quickly moved on to contemplating my next move. Chase after them and say something? Quietly get another cart and reclaim my stuff? Some type of revenge? With it being MLK Day and me being the big dork I am, I even thought "What would Martin Luther King do?" I'm guessing he wouldn't make a big stink in the store, and he probably would've done something very mature. Actually, I don't know what Martin Luther King would do, but I opted for revenge.

My plot for revenge came after a deja vu moment. A few years ago, I was going to a Target at Christmas-time and the parking lot was completely full. Not just the spaces in the front .... ALL of the spaces. I found someone walking to their car, stalked their spot and waited patiently. Just as the person pulled out of the spot, someone came out of nowhere and pulled in. I was completely furious. Space Thief got the horn, a string of expletives, and then all the middle fingers I had. After I finally found a spot, I went into the store and looked for the item I came for -- they were out of it. So, I was doubly pissed -- all that aggravation and I didn't even get what I'd come for. So as me and my bad Italian temper made our way towards the door, I saw her. Space Thief ... with a full cart ... and she didn't see me. I waited until she was away from her cart, then I took off with it. I scurried through the store and hid it somewhere she'd never find it ... automotive, I think. I know it was immature, but something snapped and I just couldn't let her get away with her behavior in the parking lot. I was walking around pissed off, empty-handed and needing a taxi to get to my spot -- I'd had enough. I guess I missed the day in school where they taught "two wrongs don't make a right."

So yesterday in Target, the memory of Space Thief came flooding back into my head. The problem with my revenge the last time was that Space Thief probably had no idea why her cart disappeared. This time, the concept of "consequence" would hopefully be much clearer. I swear, something must be wrong with me. I actually followed these girls around the store .... lurking in the boys department, then linens, camping gear, Barbie ....until the moment was ripe. When they weren't looking, Cart Bandit struck again. I grabbed their cart and took off with it. I unloaded their stuff and put the cart back at the front of the store. There was no way they were gonna find it full and sitting somewhere, not even in automotive.

I know it's immature, wrong and stupid but those girls really made me mad. I hope I taught them a lesson and next time they are too lazy to get their own cart maybe they'll think twice.

The thing is, I believe in consequences. Without them, how does bad behavior change and how does good behavior get reinforced? Who was the guy on TV, Gomer Pyle maybe?, that always ran around yelling "citizen's arrayest ... citizen's arrest!" .... well that would probably be me if such a thing existed. Sure, I'd probably be shot within hours (or laughed off the planet) if I pulled a Gomer Pyle, but I'm not a person who's wired to stand around feeling like a helpless victim -- even if it was just a shopping cart full of stuff I didn't even own yet. People who think they can take whatever they want from anyone really make me angry. Um, hello ... didn't they learn The Golden Rule? In it's most extreme form, I guess what I did could be considered "vigilante justice" -- not something I generally support. But I do support standing up for myself and not letting a group of girls take my stuff while looking me in the eye. Cart Bandit will not be intimidated by people like that!!


Stacie said...

You GO Cart Bandit! You were WAY nicer than I would have been, I would SOOOOO have caused a scene until security came out to see what was up. Those girls deserve what's coming to them and more.

I laughed at the Gomer Pyle reference..that episode was just on not too long ago and i actually "heard" his voice when saying it when I read citizens arrest! LOL

Kelly said...

G - I am without words... sort of.
I would have wished for a way to hurt them. I go homocidal in 3 seconds flat. I got your consequences right here you little cart theiving B's!
Perhaps I should stay home today ...

Los said...

Wow - I thoroughly enjoyed this story, Babs! I mean, you totally stood up for all of those cartless shoppers in the world! Hip-hip-hooray!

Baroness von Bloggenschtern said...

Cart Bandit, you of the vigilante ways, you're my new hero. Was it the mature thing to do? Hell no. Did they get a smack with the BPDB justice stick? Hell yeah. Good for you! Damn kids. (and when I say "kids", I mean everyone under the age of 30...) :>)