Tag Archives: Wal-Mart

Bicycle Stories

I own a nice bicycle and so does my wife. We bought the matching pair almost seven years ago, immediately after moving to Arizona, and I do mean immediately. After unloading all of our worldly possessions, from the rented Penske truck, we promptly went to Wal-Mart and purchased our new bikes. We then used the emptied truck to transport them back to our house. I see the shiny blue bicycles, hanging from hooks in the garage, every time I’m getting into my car to go someplace. I can count the number of times, on one hand, I have straddled my “two-wheeled waste of money.” My wife has straddled hers even less. The thought of riding mountain bikes together in the desert seemed like such a good idea when we first bought them, but for whatever reason the excitement quickly lost its appeal. Maybe it was due to the uncomfortable seat, hurting my tush when riding, or maybe it was because we found tennis and hiking to be much more enjoyable activities. Either way my butt hasn’t been on a bike in over six years.

That definitely was not the case during my youth. Back then my “two-wheeled friend” was not only fun to ride, but it was usually my only form of transportation. I grew up in a single car family, my mother didn’t drive, so having my very own wheels, to tool around on in our small-town, was pretty important. It meant the difference between either having freedom or else being stranded at home all day. Many times I rode to Tastee Freeze, or the shopping mall, to purchase baseball and football trading cards. Having a bicycle also allowed me the necessity of riding by the homes of potential girlfriends. How else can a boy pick up chicks during summer vacations? I rode to and from school, weather permitting, during my years at Berg Junior High, and although traffic could be quite heavy in the mornings it wasn’t too bad by the end of the school day, so I made up a game to make my afternoon rides home a little more enjoyable. I would try to complete the two-mile trek without having to grab onto the handlebars or put my feet on the ground. The success or failure of my invented game would usually depend on the precise timing of the only set of stoplights between school and home. I won about 50% of the time.

Many years before I could even consider attempting no-handed endeavors I had to first learn how to ride a bike. My parents taught me in our modest backyard by having me push myself off from a small embankment. That enabled me to already be sitting and balanced on my bicycle before I was ready for takeoff. I thought maybe my parents were having a little fun at my expense: making me learn how to ride on rough terrain and with a couple of large trees acting as a scary obstacle course as well. Looking back, I’m sure they just logically assumed a grassy yard would cushion a fall much better than a cement street could. Of course, we didn’t wear any helmets in the “good old days,” nor seatbelts when riding in cars, for that matter. I don’t know how I ever survived my childhood especially when soon after mastering the art of bike riding I got the bright idea of thinking I could ride a no-handed wheelie. However, It never failed that each time I would “pop a wheelie,” and then let go of the handlebars, I would fall off and onto my backside, so I finally gave up the pursuit of the no-handed wheelie after far too many bumps and bruises. I guess I was a little slow back then.

I wish that was the only bad bicycle experience I could remember, but it isn’t. One afternoon, when I was still in elementary school, a buddy and I rode our bikes to the shopping mall where a bowling alley was located in the basement of the building. We parked our two-wheelers in the bike rack, just outside the mall entrance, and went downstairs to play a video game or two. A mere ten minutes later, after playing a few arousing games of Defender and Caterpillar, we came outside only to find my bicycle was nowhere to be seen. My friend and I checked all of the nearby ditches, hoping someone was just playing a cruel joke on me, but after several minutes I was finally forced to admit my bike had been stolen. I jogged home in disbelief as my buddy pedaled next to me since he still had his ride. I could not help being extremely upset with myself in knowing my combination bike lock was wrapped tightly around the seat stem of my stolen “two-wheeled friend.” I irresponsibly had decided not to trouble myself with locking it up because we were only going to be inside for a few minutes, but now I knew I was in for a whole heap of trouble when I got home. After recalling my past bicycle experiences, and after taking all things into consideration, I am perfectly content in continuing to watch my shiny blue bicycle hang from hooks in the garage.


March Madness

This blog is dedicated to my lovely wife because she enthusiastically suggested I write one and title it March Madness although fully knowing the subject matter would have nothing to do with the NCAA Basketball Tournament. The catchy phrase most commonly relates to the college basketball playoffs always held during the month of March. She thought it would be clever putting the emphasis on the Madness part, but I told her I didn’t think it would be such a great idea. I explained how I would be concerned that anyone checking out my site may either see the title and choose to skip it, assuming the blog was about college hoops, or they might instead be enticed into reading it, supposing the topic was indeed about basketball, but then would become very disappointed after finding out it wasn’t. After great consideration, and remembering “a happy wife is a happy life,” I have decided to honor her request.

The infinite number of empty shopping carts found scattered around, the entire premise of a parking lot, and needlessly occupying numerous potential parking spaces is sheer Madness! My first thought about this typically seen scenario is that this sort of behavior must be an Arizona thing since I don’t recall this situation being all too commonly found in the parking lots of Iowa. Then I remember many residents of Arizona are transplants from other states, including Iowa, so I’m not sure where the culprits come from, but I do know for some strange reason(s) they are not putting their shopping carts away after using them.

I have purchased a few brand new vehicles over the years, and I have always done my part in trying to protect them from acquiring any damage. I’m constantly going out of my way to find parking spaces far away from the store, whenever parking in a lot, and hugging the curb on end spots in order to avoid those dreaded car door dings. I take these drastic measures to preserve my vehicle’s exterior finish, but nothing can save it from the mysteriously left behind shopping cart. Nothing irritates me more than when I come out of an establishment and find that a “basket on wheels” has been left next to my automobile. Except, of course, when it’s actually resting firmly against my car’s exterior. Almost all of the damage done to my vehicles in the past have not been caused by me, but by the negligence of others, and it never fails that after just a short couple of years my once immaculate vehicle ends up significantly marred.

I am astonished as to any reason why a rational person, when done using a shopping cart for their convenience, would not place the empty cart into one of the numerous cart corrals provided by the store. Just seems like common sense to me. One recent evening I was waiting in the car, while my wife was retrieving a movie rental from our local Wal-Mart, when not one, not two, but three separate individuals left their carts in two empty parking spaces during the brief time span of 5 minutes. I was reminded, at that point, ignorance does not discriminate because the three guilty parties weren’t alike in any aspect whatsoever. One person was alone, the other was half of a couple, and the last offender was part of a large family. They all appeared to be of different races, and they were all getting into various types of vehicles. The most puzzling thing to me is there was a shopping cart stall a mere few feet away from where everybody had chosen to leave their carts.

There are no second chances to leave a first impression, and I think shopping cart etiquette speaks volumes as to who a person is. The truth as I know it is if the only one thing I know about a person is their decision of not properly putting their shopping cart away then I would have to presume that individual is irresponsible and selfish. If a human being cannot grasp the basic concept of doing what’s right, by considering others and their property, then I’m left wondering what else that person is capable of doing. I realize I may seem all high and mighty discussing this topic, but it is only because I can honestly say I have never improperly abandoned a shopping cart in my entire life. Please join me in helping to make this world a little better place by responsibly placing your “basket on wheels” in a proper location after using it, and at the same time you will be leaving behind a great first impression to anyone who may be watching. Together we can stop the Madness.