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12:57pm on Saturday, 21st January, 2006:

Petty, Vindictive Acts of Revenge


I deliberately rammed my shopping trolley (US: shopping cart) into the trolleys of three other people today. They thought I'd done it by accident, but I'd done it on purpose.

Some people are so unthinking that they shouldn't be allowed to be in charge of a shopping trolley. They block entire aisles, or entire lengths of shelves, or, if they manage to angle their trolley just right, both.

The first trolley I rammed was about 3 feet away from the butter. The woman who was using it had her arm outstretched to hold it while she perused the latest selection of "half the fat, so it'll only kill you half as quickly" offerings, thereby blocking two pathways. Given that there's only room for 3 trolleys abreast in Sainsbury's, and that the third lane was full of people coming the opposite way, I could either way for her to make her damned mind up or I could ask her politely to move. I chose the latter, through the mechanism of clipping my trolley's nose against hers and wrenching it from her grip. OK, so the politeness part was optional, there... When the woman looked up to protest, I was scowling angrily at an innocent person from the moving line who had gone past and had no idea I was looking at him. The woman I'd rammed figured it was his fault, not mine, so didn't take me to task. She did, however, pull her trolley closer to herself like a mother protecting her young, which in my experience these people often do.

Oh, I should mention that this isn't the first occasion I've done this kind of thing...

The second ramming was down by the eggs. There were three people at fault here, but sadly I was only able to ram one of them. Two were a middle-aged pair of blokes chatting to one another while their wives went off somewhere else, who had managed to block two aisles by the simple expedient of stopping when they met each other and not bothering to move over to the side. The trolley I rammed belonged to another couple, a hen-pecked man and his overbearing wife. He wanted to move out of the way, but she insisted on adjusting the contents of their trolley so that the numerous bottles of alcohol they had in it were all standing upright. I took some sympathy on the man, so in an apparent attempt to negotiate my way past the blokes on the left I caught the right-hand part of my trolley against the same part of the woman's (which I thought of as hers, even though she was making the man push it). At least two bottles fell over, and she crossly announced that the man should move because he was blocking the way. Yes, overbearing woman, he was, but it was entirely your fault.

The third ramming was in the biscuits aisle. A woman maybe in her thirties was absently pushing her trolley in and out as if it had a baby in it she was trying to rock to sleep. She didn't have a baby in it, though, and the effect was that while she was deciding which child-friendly confection had the best E-numbers in it she blocked either all three lanes or just two of them. I could, therefore, have got through the gap by timing my run properly. I could also have put my trolley in the gap then waited for her to ram me, which was very tempting. Instead, though, I aimed as though I was trying to get through the gap but, dear oh dear, somehow I managed to bash it. If the woman thought there was a baby in it before, she knew there wasn't afterwards.

Now although I can vaguely justify what I did by my solid moral conviction that I was in the right and they were in the wrong, in all three cases I could simply have asked for them to move their trolley. "Excuse me" works. I didn't ask, though, I rammed, because not only did I want to get my trolley past, I wanted them to suffer in some way. I knew they were probably too dim to adjust their behaviour, and that if I saw any one of them next week they could well be doing exactly what they were doing today, but I can honestly say that I felt much better for ramming them than I would have felt if I'd not rammed them. No damage was done, no severe emotional distress was suffered, no fist-fights erupted... All that happened was that I griefed them because they were bugging me.

Yes, basically I did it because they deserved it, I enjoyed it and I could get away with it.

This is going to affect my chances of being beatified after I die, I can tell...

On leaving the supermarket, a man was pushing his laden trolley back to his car. His son, who looked about 6 or 7, was running around randomly without any awareness of anything in the world other than his father and his father's trolley. As I approached, the child suddenly jumped — that's jumped — to his right, landing directly in front of my trolley. I could easily have slammed into him and sent him sprawling, and indeed most people probably would have had no say in the matter. I have super-fast reactions, though, and jerked my trolley to a halt maybe two centimetres at most from his back. He jumped to his right again, oblivious to my presence, then ran diagonally across me and back to his father.

I guess this makes me not completely evil...

Referenced by Flip and Grind.

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Copyright © 2006 Richard Bartle (richard@mud.co.uk).