in Checking In, Geezer

I am the Costco cart master

Saturday afternoon I made my weekend trip to Costco. Walking into the store, I pulled a shopping cart from the stack as one of the employees – a young kid – struggled with a full stack of carts pulled from the cart corrals.

As I was walking out of the store a little later, the same kid was struggling in the hot sun to fetch another stack of carts. The kid was really busting his ass. I unloaded my cart and returned it to the cart corral, where my OCD kicked in yet again.

The shitty part-time job I had in high school at the Dart Drug in Sugarland Plaza in Sterling, Virginia taught me a lot about working in retail. I will forever remember how to run a register and I will forever remember how to track down errant shopping carts. Needless to say, when I’m at Costco or other stores with carts, I can’t help but want to put them away the right way. It’s a combination of my engineering mindset, a dash of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder thrown in, and a tip of the hat to the young, hard-working store employee I once was.

Thus, on Saturday I could not just carelessly shove my cart into the corral. A full string of carts were parked in the middle of the corral, mostly stacked. I added my cart to the end and then took a moment to shove the whole stack to one side, making room for twice as many new carts to be added. It’s just what I do.

Just as I tamed the cart corral and was walking away, I heard a shout from across the parking lot. The young Costco kid was standing up from the shelter of the store’s shadow and was cupping his mouth and looking at me.

“THANK YOU, SIR!!” he bellowed across the lot with a smile.

We gotta look out for each other. I gave him a big smile and a thumbs up as I walked away.