Idle curiosity: division of non-motorized vehicles

There was some intensive bus-riding going on during the hottest part of September and this entry belatedly records an observation that finally solved a longstanding mystery: why are those H-E-B grocery carts tipped on their sides all over town?

After a long-ago brief experiment with inferior plastic carts, H-E-B returned to the quality item, with the all-metal body and the better wheels. These carts withstand practically any misfortune that might ever possibily befall a cart, requiring only occasional work on the wheels or casters or a replacement of the plastic handle-cover. They must cost a substantial amount.

Whether the people who recover and return them have contracts to do so or whether there’s merely some kind of reward, I don’t know, but I’ve often noticed people loading one into the bed of a pickup truck that already has carts in it.

As we’ve all observed, there are people who employ a grocery cart as the movable personal storage unit for all their possessions, presumably not possessing a permanent location in which to house them. Some carts wheel a pedestrian shopper’s groceries home, or merely to the bus stop to be abandoned when the bus arrives.

When the bus stop is in full sun, and even sometimes when it is in the shade but there’s no bench, people move an abandoned cart to a shadier spot, one where the arriving bus may still be seen in time to return to the official stop. Turning the cart on its side makes a bench, a low one to be sure and one that’s not level, but is nonetheless still useful, and especially good for little kids. And these carts are so sturdy that they show no signs of strain or bending even when extremely substantial people use them in that fashion..

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