Today I made my weekly shopping trip to our Grand Forks Super Target store. As is the case on most Saturdays, the parking lot was full, and I had to park in the way back, closer to Best Buy than to Target. I don’t mind parking far from the store, even on a frigid January afternoon, as it gives me more exercise due to the extra walking. Not that I need more exercise, mind you, I ran ten miles this morning at the UND Wellness Center.
When I came out of the store, pushing my cart full of groceries, I trudged back across the huge parking lot towards my little Colorado pickup. The first thing I noticed as I drew near was that the parking space next to my truck was empty. The second thing was that the empty space had three Target shopping carts sitting in it. The third thing was that one of them was pushed up against my driver’s side door, leaving a mark in the accumulated dirt as well as in the paint!
I have a long, sorted, history with Target shopping carts. I was introduced intimately to these plastic and metal contraptions on Black Friday 1985, when I began my first day as a Cart Attendant at the Fargo Target store. People push shopping carts into the parking lot and leave them, and I was hired to bring them back in. There were three of us working, and we literally ran all day, keeping carts available for customers as they entered the store.
The nine months I worked as a Target Cart Attendant were not the most enjoyable of my employment history. The work was physically demanding. Customers treated me terribly. I had to clean up mud, broken bottles, dirty diapers, and vomit. I loaded 300 pound treadmills into sub compact cars for spatially challenged people. Most of all, however, I just continually pushed carts back into the store, over and over again!
Life is better for those that have followed after me, but cart attending still is the bottom job in any retail store. Nowadays the stores have corrals set up in the parking lot for customers to push their carts into when they are finished. Cart Attendants have motorized machines that push the stack of carts for them; they just need to press a button and steer.
I still have some issues that need resolving due to those nine months working for Target. I’m working on them, though: I really am! How did I handle finding three carts in close proximity to my pickup, when there were corrals available to protect vehicles from these little red monsters? I pushed the three carts together into a bunch, and added my own, making four. I then went across the lane, grabbed two more strays, and made my own little line of six carts before proceeding to push them into the nearest corral! I think I handled the situation in a positive manner, don’t you? Besides, I felt like I was a tired 22 year old again instead of just a tired 47 year old! What’s not to like about that?!