Saturday, March 31, 2007

Shopping Trolleys!

I have a deep seated belief, based on a marginal reading of the first book of Dante's Divine Comedy, that there is a whole circle of Hell devoted especially to those who leave supermarket shopping trolleys to clog up parking spaces, walkways and roadways at supermarkets.

I have, on more than occasion seen people push a trolley they have just unloaded in to an empty parking bay, rather than walk an extra thirty yards to put it in to a shopping trolley bay for collection.

This annoys me for two reasons. The first is that it is innately annoying when tying to walk or drive or park to find a shopping trolley left where it is destined to cause maximum inconvenience.

The second, more significant reason is the attitude that it exposes. "I cannot be bothered to do something as taxing as walk thirty yards and put away a trolley. Someone else will deal with it, so why worry. It's not my problem. I pay good money to shop here, so I expect to have my mess cleared up for me."

This attitude has at its heart a childishness that is shared bt that a lot of adults in modern Britain - a generation of infant-adults. Someone is always going to do it for them, they have no responsibility to other people. Mummy will take care of it (she probably always did, and never got them to to do anything for themselves as children). Never mind that they are the first to complain when another infant-adult inconveniences them through such selfishness!

It drives me mad when I hear someone say "someone should do something about it". My answer is to say "why don't you?". And there are always the excuses about time, or "I don't know how", or, most commonly "it's not my responsibility. The government should do this, it's what we pay our taxes for".

Now, I can see a hypocrisy in myself as I type this - one my wife would keenly point out! I do leave messes around our house, assuming that it will get dealt with later (usually by my wife). I am not perfect, and this is one area where I need to grow up - it's a trait that a lot of men share. But I cannot leave litter on the street or a shopping trolley not in its bay. And I cannot assume that the government will do something about war, famine, poverty or any other ill, unless I and others badger them to do something, and are prepared to get up and do something about it ourselves.

Shopping trolley crimes are in themselves petty and trivial, but this abdication of responsibility is a sign of a moral weakness and spiritual malaise that angers me deeply, but which is so prevalent in British culture today. And thus it is worthy of damnation in all of us who abdicate our responsibility for the weak, poor and marginalised. Sins of omission are sometimes even worse than those of commission.

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