Crumbs From the Corner: Adventures in Woolgathering

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

The Squeaky Wheel

"Waste no more time arguing about what a good man should be.
Be one."

-Marcus Aurelius

Just in case I had dared to wonder about the mysterious cause of our local grocery store suddenly raising its prices, I looked out our window last evening and beheld a potential answer. The people living in our apartment complex often wheel their purchases home from the supermarket in a shopping cart. I cannot help but have my attention drawn to the happenings outside when I hear the creaking and squeaking of a cart getting nearer to our building.
Our neighbours bring the cart across the road, up to the front door, and then proceed to unload the items one by one and carry them upstairs. Were they to return the carts immediately I might be willing and able to turn a blind eye to their removing the thing from the grocery store territory.
However I have frequently observed that they then push the cart into a corner of the yard, into the mailbox shelter, and trot happily back inside.
What I noted yesterday was a truck that arrived to sweep up all the carts that our residents had collected like stamps, and drive these and a good number of others away from my sight.
I do not know how many carts the driver eventually collected, or how far he had to travel before his task was completed.
I do know for certain that he was not performing the job for fun: he must be receiving a wage and the money must be coming directly from the store. No doubt there are other answers to my initial question but one can only imagine how they fund the shopping cart project, can only ponder it thoughtfully as one pours one's increasingly expensive milk over one's worryingly costly cereal. There again turns up the presumption that 'the squeaky wheel gets the grease' and if we speak up, make a little change in daily habits and do our part to be considerate, it makes a world of difference.

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