Friday, March 01, 2013

Shopping Cart Etiquette at the Market

If you look this subject up in an online search engine you will find quite a few entries from people in the form of blog entries, discussion groups, videos and so forth.  Obviously it is a hot topic, although a minor one from the point of view of the Big Issues of Life. Here is one site that analyzes all this in a practical manner.  But given the intensity of these entries or rants, it is an issue that doesn't go away, and unless one is wealthy enough to send others to do one's shopping, it is an irritation one has to always deal with. 

There are two subdivisions of this issue, that of parking lot problems with shopping carts, and that of maneuvering a cart within the store aisles.  I want to deal just with the latter issue.  Naturally there are the obvious problems of people blocking aisles with their cart and themselves while they wander away or stand staring at the shelves, or rolling along too fast through aisle intersections without slowing down.  One issue that I find appalling that isn't mentioned much is how shoppers stop their carts in front of the meat section or the cold foods compartments, preventing  anyone else from having access to about eight feet of that section, or being able to open the glass doors the compartment area.  

One of the things Buddhist meditation practice aims at is to cultivate mindfulness in what is termed the post-meditation experience, when we are finished with our formal sitting practice and we return to the world of our daily affairs.  If we can't avoid being a nuisance to others in the simple act of grocery shopping, then we haven't practiced properly.  The idea is to allow us to better see the play of our mind, its fickleness jumping from one thought to another, and to realize how heavy and compulsive much of this thought process actually is.  We would like our meditation practice to open us up a little, bringing a sense of lightness and upliftedness to our mind. In this way we can apply what we learn from meditation, the cultivation of a sense of spaciousness and egolessness, to the nuts and bolts of our daily routine.

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