To catch a shopping cart


Michael McGuire

Inspired by Chris Hansen’s “To Catch a Predator,” we at The Evening Sun set up our own little sting operation to nail some would-be wheel-o-philes trolling for carts via the net.

After only a few seconds in a “man-cart” internet chatroom, our decoy “wheel4u” snared “cartbreaker113,” a willing and able violator:

wheel4u: “Hey, the store attendant is busy cleaning up a mess in isle 8 – how about you come over and fill me up with a few cases of Old Milwaukee and push me around a little.”
Cartbreaker: “Really?”
wheel4u: “Oh yeah.”
Cartbreaker: “I was hoping you’d say that. I want to snatch you off the lot and leave you on a street corner like the dirty cart you are.”
wheel4u: “Sounds like a party. TTYL.”

With an air of confidence, Cartbreaker strolled over to the northwest corner of a local parking lot where he thought he’d be meeting a frisky young shopping carriage – oops.
“Hey, I’m Cartbreaker, are you wheel4u?”
“There’s my knight in shining armor. Just give me one minute to grease-up my wheels so I’m not all squeaky.”
That’s when we stepped in…
“Hello sir, how are you?”
“Good, I guess.”
“Do you mind if I ask what you’re doing here with this cart?”
“Nothing, I just came over to meet it, maybe put it back in the rack over there.”
“You came all the way over here to put the cart away?”
“Yeah.”
“If I’m not mistaken, in an internet conversation 25 minutes ago didn’t you say ‘I want to snatch you off the lot and leave you on a street corner like the dirty cart you are.’?
“I was just talking.”
“Well you better talk some more and explain yourself.”
“I can’t believe this. I can’t believe I did this. I always just thought about stealing a shopping cart, I never really planned on doing it. My urges just took over.”
“Urges? Sounded like more than urges to me.”
“Oh God – my family…What’s going to happen to me.”
“You’re in luck. Even though it’s despicable, there are no laws against what you planned to do. In fact, its widely accepted behavior.”
“Thank God. Hey, is that cart greased-up yet?”