Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Cart Cowboys

I am sorry if any of you, my billions of loyal readers, thought that I had run out of ideas, or that something terrible had happened to me.

Have no fear. I was just taking a little Labor Day break to revel in the Frankenstein's Feelings breakthrough.

I am back with a great idea for any of you aspiring documentary filmmakers or reality TV bandits.

The idea: Cart Cowboys, a documentary/reality show about the men that lay their lives on the line to keep shopping carts in the parking lot of your local super market.

Many of you may not be familiar with the wandering shopping cart, but in my neighborhood they are all over the place, and stray carts have been multiplying in number as gas prices rise.

Sometimes they are befriended and taken care of by homeless people, but many time they are just left abandoned by the side of the road.

Luckily there are men out there, cowboys in their own right, who ride our streets and bring the stray carts back to the fold.

They are cowboys alright, cart cowboys, and I want to hear their story, so get out there and make a riveting documentary or a tacky Cops style reality show about these brave men.

FUN FACT: Shopping carts cost around $150.00 retail.

If someone can make a documentary entirely about a font, I am sure you can make a compelling and interesting documentary about Mexican guys who drive around in beat up trucks collecting shopping carts, fighting homeless, and dealing with the new technologies of an ever changing world (i.e. magnetic cart break anti-theft systems).

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Charles McCarthy said...

I appreciate any follow up comments or questions, but I would rather they come in the form of comments left on here. This is for two reasons.

One, other people can offer their opinions and thoughts on your question or opinion.

Two, it lets me and other people know that I do have readers that are actually reading my ideas.

That said, here is a question that I received from Charles F:

"chuck, what about the shopping carts that collide with cars in parking lots. Surely you can come up with an idea that would solve this dilemna!"

Here is my answer:

Dear Charles,

That is chaos theory my friend, and I don't mess with chaos theory. Haha.

A larger and more vigilant cart wrangling team in the parking lot might help.


Most super market chains have those rewards/discount cards now. Maybe there could be a scanner attached to the cart corral. If a patron scans their card, they get some slightly bigger discount next time or some number of reward points etc. towards some sort of array of prizes. The scan would have to be within a half hour of a purchase inside. The cost of setting up the system could be justified by a decrease in the number of cart wranglers needed, or the amount of time that employees are needed to wrangle carts, also it is a promotional thing. It could help drive people to the company website to see what new prizes are available, and check how many points they have.

susangraphicdesign said...

Chuck, this is your best idea so far. It's these people's special flair for wrangling carts, their ability to withstand any type of weather or hazardous conditions that set them apart. Few grocery employees enjoy the task, but those that do are the true Cart Cowboys.

This reminded me of IDEO's redesign of the shopping cart on Nightline forever ago:

And now everyone wants to know whatever happened to that whole idea (it never got made for whatever reason).

Anyway, there's a certain mystique in the ol' shopping cart and a universality. If only I was a documentary film maker...

Anonymous said...

Great idea, I think that story needs to be told. In fact, it could start out as that and blossom into a peek into Lot Culture, as I have seen more than just cowboys wranglin' out 'round those parts. For example, people who park their moho's there and live, people who park there to make phone calls or do drugs, people who then transition to concert parking lots... there's LOTS to cover.

Charles McCarthy said...

That shopping cart concept cart is cool, but I think the reason it hasn't shown up across the country is that it is over designed. It feels to me like it is almost bordering on Rube Goldberg land.

It is probably just a combination of KISS and if it ain't broke, don't fix it.

Joe Mange said...