The grocery store near our house that I probably go to a minimum of six times a week has added small grocery carts to their grocery cart offerings. Nestled in between the normal-sized carts, the electric scooter carts, and the carts with the little area for kids to sit and pretend to drive — designed to torture young mothers and fathers given that their design makes them about the size of a 1968 Cadillac – sit these tiny little carts.
I love these carts. In fact, I will choose a grocery store that has these little carts over another store that doesn’t. They are easy to maneuver. I don’t run into the back of people’s legs when using one of them. Most important, they are so darn cute. The problem is, lots of people love them. In fact, I’m pretty sure ALL OF THE PEOPLE love them. This grocery store, and seemingly all of the stores that offer these little carts, only have about 10 of them.
This is problematic. Why? Well, picture this scenario. I am walking towards the entrance of the grocery store. I see that there is one of these little carts remaining, looking adorable next to the regular carts. I pick up my pace. Out of the corner of my eye, I see another woman who has also spotted the cart. She looks at me. I look at her. I start to trot. She starts to trot. Pretty soon I’m at a dead run, as is she. Happily, I have watched my nephew Austin slide into home plate often enough that I have an advantage. I win, though my clothing is dirty.
One sad day when even my slide into the carts didn’t work, I said to Bill (who happened to be with me, and frankly, doesn’t understand my love for these carts), “Everybody loves these little carts. I don’t understand why grocery stores don’t buy a whole bunch of these carts so that ALL THE PEOPLE can have them.”
He didn’t hesitate. He explained that it was likely that grocery stores preferred that patrons use the bigger carts because they are more liable to buy more groceries if their cart is bigger. Dang. He is probably right. Sometimes I hate consumerism. Mostly I am a tried-and-true believer in our Capitalistic system. I love that I have countless choices in produce, for example…..
But maybe not when it comes to grocery carts.
After Easter, the Catholic Church sets aside the Old Testament reading we generally hear during the Liturgy of the Word, and instead we listen to the Acts of the Apostles. This is my favorite time of the year for our liturgy readings because I love to read Acts. Here was yesterdays’ reading:
The community of believers was of one heart and mind, and no one claimed that any of his possessions was his own, but they had everything in common. With great power the apostles bore witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great favor was accorded them all. There was no needy person among them, for those who owned property or houses would sell them, bring the proceeds of the sale, and put them at the feet of the apostles, and they were distributed to each according to need. – Acts 4:32-35
I had heard these words before, obviously, but this time they really struck me. I leaned over to Bill. “Basically, the disciples were socialists, weren’t they?” I said.
And then I spent the entire homily trying to figure out why Socialism doesn’t seem to work now like it did for the followers of Jesus. I am not going to provide the answer to that question, as my name isn’t John Stuart Mill, but I suspect that it has to do with basic human greed. Most socialist or communist societies have been unsuccessful because they don’t really follow true socialist teachings. There is always a winner, and he’s usually the leader.
But I reminded myself that the followers of Jesus had just spent the recent past three years with a man who lived his preaching, which was to love God and love each other. Maybe it was easier to share all you have with others when your very best friend had just given his life for you with only one instruction: Love everyone.
Plus they didn’t have to worry about sharing cute little shopping carts. That’s a game changer, my friends.