Tasteful Inventions: Scoping the Shopping Cart

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Scoping the Shopping Cart

So you stopped at the grocery store on your way home from work and like so many of us you said to yourself, "Oh I don't need one of those shopping carts, I'm just picking up a few things." Next thing you know, you're doing a balancing act trying not to drop the eggs while holding onto the gallon of fat free milk with your pinky. The bread is holding on by a plastic tie so you unconsciously stick it under your arm. Squish, now you have to go all the way back to the bread aisle, and as we all know, it's way over by the dairy aisle, which you just left picking up the milk, eggs, and bread. You spy the bakery counter as you're quickly about to turn down the aisle. The freshly baked goodie cart is wheeled out and the tantalizing aroma catches you off guard. You reach out your hand, while making the turn and grab for a freshly baked Hungarian Cheese Cake which will add a bit of flavor to the "home cooked" meal you are concocting in your head. Whoops, there goes the bread right from under your arm. Your reflexes get the best of you, you go to grab it before it hits the toddler, pushing her junior size shopping cart, right on her little noggin and splash, crack the eggs slip right out of your hands followed by the milk which has turned your poor pinky to an interesting color lavender. As your shaking your hand to get the blood flowing, a kind elderly gentleman comes to your aid, basket in tow. "Oh, I don't need one of those" you tell him shaking your finger uncontrollably back to life, I'm just picking up a few things." He gives you a puzzled look. You thank him and he walks away.

I've done this more times than I care to share. You know, you have too. Sometimes, I make it through, groceries uninjured. Most times not. Do you know why? I certainly don't. I have actually left the store after one of these traumatic, not to mention embarrassing episodes, got in my car and scolded myself. "Why don't you just get a shopping cart or at least a basket when you stop at the store." You know you never wind up getting "just a few things." And, even if you do, "what's the big deal? I've never noticed, probably because I'm set on correcting the errors of my ways, but, I'm sure people must be wondering what the heck I'm doing yelling at myself in the car. Perhaps, they think I'm talking on phone. That reminds me. Once, I had quite the similar scenario going on while I had the cell phone tucked under my ear like the leaning tower of Pisa. I remember it like it was yesterday. Rolling oranges, I have to stop doing this to myself. It isn't like I can never find a shopping cart when I need one. They may scarce in the department store but at least most of the items I have in my hands are soft and cuddly or should I say, scrunched and wrinkled. I promise myself I will stop the torture and get a shopping cart the next time. Will I? I doubt it. But, if I do, I will quietly thank Sylvan Goldman for my newly discovered grocery transportation. I will vow to return the shopping cart to the "Put Shopping Carts Here" place designated in the parking lot. I will carry an extra sanitary wipe to clean off the handle and I will put my eggs in the safe seat where toddlers will be free from flying debris. Finally, I will once again thank Mr. Goldman from the bottom of my heart for inventing the grocery shopping cart today.

The first shopping cart was introduced on June 4, 1937, the invention of Sylvan Goldman, owner of the Piggly-Wiggly supermarket chain in Oklahoma City. With the assistance of Fred Young, a mechanic, Goldman constructed the first shopping cart, basing his design on that of a wooden folding chair. They built it with a metal frame and added wheels and wire baskets. Another mechanic, Arthur Kosted, developed a method to mass produce the carts by inventing an assembly line capable of forming and welding the wire. The cart was awarded patent number 2,196,914 on April 9, 1940 (Filing date: March 14, 1938), titled, "Folding Basket Carriage for Self-Service Stores." They advertised the invention as part of a new “No Basket Carrying Plan.”
The invention did not catch on immediately. Men found them effeminate; women found them suggestive of a baby carriage. "I've pushed my last baby buggy," an offended woman informed him. After hiring several male and female models to push his new invention around his store and demonstrate their utility, as well as greeters to explain their use, shopping carts became extremely popular and Goldman became a multimillionaire. Goldman continued to make modifications to his original design, and the basket size of the shopping cart increased as stores realized that their customers purchased more as its size increased. wikipedia
Resources
  • 1. the (all american) history of shopping (carts)
  • 2. Telescoping Shopping Cart Invention
  • 3. Shopping Carts @ Engines of Our Ingenuity
  • 4. Sylvan Nathan Goldman: Inventor of the shopping cart
  • 5. History of the shopping cart
  • 6. Gathering Thoughts & Groceries
  • 7. Sylvan Nathan Goldman biography

2 comments:

Keith said...

and barcode scanners were introduced in a grocery in Troy, Ohio- in June of 1974-so you could buy more food without your cashier getting a bad case of carpal tunnel.

Anything to make it easier for us to buy and buy.... God bless technology.

Note. First UPC scanned wasa a ten pack of Wrigley's gum.

~~Louise~~ said...

Hi Keith,

Thanks for visiting. I really appreciate the info on the barcode scanners. I plan on delving into them in a future post.

Now, if we could only catchup with the wonderful technology that has gotten a hold of us:)