Saturday, August 14, 2010

The case of the missing shopping cart

Having grown up reading Enid Blyton's Famous Five and Secret Sevens, it is but natural that everything in life is either a mystery or an adventure for me. The latest in my series is the curious case of the missing shopping cart.

I was participating in this nation's favourite pastime - shopping in the big hypermarket in that wonderful mall. This is a monthly ritual for our family. It is one of the things that the family does shopping for the month in the big hypermarket in that wonderful mall. It is our big adventure weaving through the maze of vegetables, juices and cereals and then emerging at the other end to swipe the card and leave happily pushing our carts. We embark on this big adventure the first Saturday or Sunday of the month.

This Saturday was no different and everything started off just as it should. We walked in and pulled out the shopping cart that was waiting eagerly for us. The five of us - my wife, our two girls, the shopping cart and I - set off on our adventure navigating the maze. At the end of one hour, we had that smile of satisfaction on our faces of a job well done as we swiped our card to pay for the adventure and head on to our car for the journey back home. That is when disaster struck. As we headed back to the car, I could not resist browsing through the bookstore next door and took my eyes of the shopping cart for a few minutes. So did the rest of the family and the shopping cart was left alone outside the bookshop for those few minutes. As we came back, we realized that someone had pushed off with our beloved shopping cart!! We were left holding someone else's shopping cart which was less full and for us certainly less useful.

All hell broke loose, I was extremely self critical about my role in the episode and how I had been irresponsible and stupid to leave the cart unattended. The rest of the family was consoling me and at the same time wondering if I will have the courage to go through this shopping adventure again to pick up the same things and swipe my card again. I reported the loss of the shopping cart and its valuable ingredients to the hypermarket manager. He was trying hard to be sympathetic but none of his efforts could hide the hidden expression on his face that said to me - "Loser". They promised to call me back if someone returned the cart and its valuable ingredients.

My wife and I discussed the issue...nah, no one was going to return it...they might have a long drive back to return it and would give up because of sheer laziness.....or did some one walk away with our shopping cart on purpose......or is this the latest fraud ring in town.....or that new super cereal and the extra chunky pasta sauce that one rarely finds these days, I am sure no one wants to return that. We had every reason to think that our month's grocery and added essentials needed a complete re-purchasing. And yes, there was only one reason for someone to return the stuff. The only one reason that they were kind and decent people. But hey, in today's world, you don't bet on that too much. It was a one in a million chance?

The next day being Sunday was a lazy start. I had tried hard to forget the missing shopping cart and almost succeeded when our phone rang. It was from the hypermarket and lo, someone had returned our cart. That was big news and a huge relief for us. More importantly, it made me question my pessimism that today's world was devoid of kind and decent folks. The one in a million chance had worked....there are a few good men and women out there....believe, trust, have faith....there is goodness around you....don't give up hope. Every Enid Blyton adventure ends with a victory for the does mine.

And before I close to those decent folks who did the decent thing by returning the missing shopping cart, thank help retain trust and goodness in the world.


  1. Rakesh,
    What a thrilling experience ! Good samaritans are abound.

    Good narration of the incident.


  2. Well written Rakesh! And yes, an incident like this restores faith and maintains a balance in our lives. And although we may have outgrown our Enid Blyton years, we all do love a mystery with a good ending - don't we?