Why the heck can't I steer a British shopping trolley?
I am resigned to the fact that "things are harder here". When I first opened a bank account, I went to the branch where I lived. Bad move. On a lunch break one day, when I needed to withdraw more money than allowed by the ATM, I had to travel 40 minutes from my work place in order to complete the transaction. The systems were not "connected".
The Esso station down the road just installed pay at the pump. This is 2010, people are finally considering NOT using petrol.
But the shopping carts I just don't get. I vividly remember my first dealing with a British shopping cart. In the confusion of searching for grocery items at Tesco, I didn't notice the shopping cart had a mind of its own. After spending hours trying to figure out where the cornstarch was and that fairy liquid was for "washing up" dishes (not clothes), I went to make my way to the register.
I pushed the shopping cart straight. It went left. I tried to correct it and directed it right. It still went left. I tightened my shoulders and put all my weight in to it as if I was pushing a twin stroller with very heavy twins up a very steep hill. It finally went straight.
I must have screwed up my face because I got some strange looks from fellow shoppers. Then I bumped into an old age pensioner. When I said I was sorry, he said "it's OK love, I have trouble with them too," and he winked at me.
A decade later, and the shopping carts aren't any better. Try steering one of those carts when you are eight months pregnant with a toddler in tow. I'm not, but a friend of mine is, and she is so traumatised by the carts that she's started using Tesco online (she's American too).
Is this a conspiracy? Who makes these things anyway and does it really need to be this hard?
This post was written by Susanna, an Expat Mums founder. You can read more at her blog, A Modern Mother.
credit: Frank Eleveld