Hell on Wheels

I found myself in a stare down with another mom at the grocery store the other day all over a plastic race car shopping cart (and I won…YES! Probably because her child looked to be about 7 or 8, which is way too old to be taking a kiddie cart away from my precious 3-year-old. Ahem.)

Parents of small children are all too familiar these inventions. They are bulky, cumbersome shopping carts designed to entice your children with their Nascar looks and sticky steering wheels. They are both a Godsend and a pain in the ass.

People who don’t have kids give you that irritated get out of my way look while your child is perched atop the car cart at a ridiculously high vantage point, giving them the ability to scope out and just barely grasp the strategically eye-level placed toys and candy, thus sending them into a frantic rage when you tell them “No, you can’t have the [insert name of cheap plastic toy or candy here].”

Add pushing a giant plastic car around the grocery to the list of things I swore I’d never do as a parent. There is nothing that screams “I am on the downhill slolam to Soccer Mom Villa” more than slogging through the produce aisle behind a giant plastic race car. The grocery aisles are difficult enough during peak shopping times without commandeering the S.S. Dork Parent. If you are “lucky,” and I use that term lightly, the car carts are all in use when you arrive at the store with your small fry in tow and they must sit in a regular boring metal cart like we did as kids and begin facing the unjust inhumanities of life. However, this usually causes problems if your child, like mine, is stubborn as hell and refuses to ride in anything BUT a car cart. And the fun begins before you even get out of your car. Your child will spot the car carts from the traffic light a mile away from the grocery and start screaming “I want the red cart mama,” “I want the red cart mama,” I WANT THE RED CART!!” and you will start praying fervently that the mom in the minivan in front of you is going to pick up dry cleaning and is not, for the love of sweet Jesus, also eyeing THE COVETED RED CART.

The last time Miss C and I navigated the grocery in a car cart I left feeling relatively angst free. I’d only knocked down three jumbo cans of beans and one senior shopper with the car cart. We made it safely to the car, I buckled Miss C in her car seat, shut the door and wheeled the cart to one of the cart docking stations. I was congratulating myself for escaping without any incidents when I realized Miss C was crying hysterically from inside the car. You see, I returned the car cart without her help.

Those car carts are nothing but pure, incarnate evil. Stephen King is going to write a best-seller about the demon-possessed race car grocery cart that goes on a freewheeling rampage in suburbia. You just wait.


  1. moe says:

    I hate it when they have those. They are always so hard to maneuver and about 3 minutes into shopping my son decides he doesn’t want to drive the car anymore. So I’m stuck pushing the thing and chasing him.

  2. Anne says:

    you know, i used to LOVE the car cart thing for Lily but then it became too obvious that every time she sat in one, she’d come down with some kind of hellish cold. Can you imagine the nose/butt filth that other kids leave? And I doubt my tore ever cleaned them so there is a no car cart rule despite Lily’s attempts at getting me to change my mind. Resistance is futile. I am glad to know that someone (you) is able to use those dang things!

  3. Nicole says:

    While I share your hate of the car cart overall, I am actually beginning to pride myself on my driving skills. Like the driver of an 18-wheeler, I’ve learned to push, pull and turn that sucker around anything. I am the Master. Bow to my skills.

  4. Cityslicker mom says:

    Haha…nice post! my kids scream for that cart when we go to the store, too. And they are pure evil, ’cause they will throw a fit if there isn’t one available!

  5. nancy says:

    I have never forgiven my husband for introducing my older daughter to the concept of the car cart a couple of years ago. I wanted to resist forever, but once she knew about the car cart — fugeddaboutit. We’ve actually gotten to the point where we will scope out the cart corrals in the parking lot before we enter the store, so we can have a greater chance of scoring one of the coveted car carts. Insanity, I tell ya.

  6. Bluegrass Mama says:

    Ours are more like Little Tykes Cozy Coupes stuck in front of a standard cart. So the kids aren’t reaching things at higher levels; they’re stocking up on stuff from the bottom shelf that the parent doesn’t even notice.

    Thank heavens they didn’t come along till after Emily was too big for them! She rode in the old-fashioned cart seat (often with her shoe laces tied together so she wouldn’t hop up to a standing position to grab all that delicious looking stuff on the higher shelves).

  7. Helene says:

    Yup, we loved and hated those carts too! Fortunately for me, the choopas have now moved onto the mini “shopper in training” carts. These are far worse, because whenenver Jessie drives these things she always seems to clip me from behind in the ankles – ughh!

  8. Kristen says:

    Yep. Hate. The Damned. Car Carts. They’re impossible to steer and they cause much wailing and gnashing of teeth in our family (in the kids if we say no, in US if we say yes).

  9. Nicole says:

    With two kids under two it is a necessary evil right now. I have a baby seat on top of the cart and my toddler in the lovely car. Well, unless I want my toddler in the basket of the cart buried under a pile of groceries. All I get then is squished bread and fruit with bites taken out of it.

    Ours are also the ones with the little tykes car strapped to the front. Very innovative…blehhh

  10. meteorites for sale says:

    Brook. Lol. Indeed large grocery stores would turn into race tracks but there are reasons against it too. For example a large number of our population are or is over weight. These people burn calories when grocery shopping, so by making it electric we doom these people even more.

    Anyway 😛 Who says we don’t race with carts already 😛

  11. Google Massacre says:

    Heck Brook you do not need the motors. Next to my house the place gets filled so much that folks run and bump each other for a cart. All it is missing is a few advertiser and some uniforms and you have a true blue bump and grind Nascar Race LMAO!!

  12. Denise S - Mommys Joy says:

    I have run into those families that feel they can hog those much sought-after carts for their six and seven year olds. Heck, I wouldn’t even use those shopping carts if I only had one child with me, that’s how polite I was. WAS! I soon got tired of polite as I did not see kindness being returned. I am sorry to report I have stooped to the lowest common denominator, and I will take one of those carts if I have just one child and even if that child is older than other kids.

    Denise S – Mommys Joys last blog post..Precious Moments

  13. Brian C says:

    My whole family actually enjoys these carts. Most stores now provide sanitary wipes for cleaning off the carts between customers. We have gotten quite skillful at maneuvering these bulky things down the aisles. But I can see why you hate them and your post really made me laugh.

    Brian Cs last blog post..Garmin Oregon 400c Review

  14. Top 10 Cigars says:

    Yikes! These are the worst.. I hate that you can’t even turn them down an aisle! And what’s worse is the kids love them so much but they are so bulky and such a pain… I wish they never existed!

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  16. Katie says:

    OMG this shopping carriage story is the best post ever!!! I was absolutely hysterical reading it and it couldn’t be more true!! We are still in that car shopping carriage stage and it totally stinks — I hate that damn cart especially when 1/2 the time she doesn’t even ride it in for the whole shopping trip and then I am stuck pushing a giant carriage around while trying to chase a toddler and avoiding those dirty looks from people w/o kids who clearly don’t understand. Oh and the whole I wanna help Mama w/ putting random pieces of produce into the plastic bags in the produce section because I am no longer riding in that “fun” car carriage, let’s not even talk about that. LOL

    Thank you for letting me know I am not alone in the terrifying world of grocery shopping w/ a toddler. 🙂

  17. racking-shelving says:

    OMG this shopping carriage story is the best post ever I was absolutely hysterical reading it and it couldn’t be more true!! We are still in that car shopping carriage stage and it totally stinks—I hate that damn cart especially when 1/

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