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Shopping Carts: A Zoologic Study

Updated on June 4, 2011
A typical cart carrying groceries.
A typical cart carrying groceries.
Carts come in a variety of colors.
Carts come in a variety of colors.
Carts are often stored in cramped corrals, leaving little room for exercise
Carts are often stored in cramped corrals, leaving little room for exercise
This is a small herd of rare Blue Carts.
This is a small herd of rare Blue Carts.
These rare Blues are searching for food.
These rare Blues are searching for food.
This is a rarely-seen cart mating ritual.
This is a rarely-seen cart mating ritual.
This cart is showing off for a potential mate.
This cart is showing off for a potential mate.
These small carts indicate a healthy birth rate among carts
These small carts indicate a healthy birth rate among carts
This cart has escaped the herd and is wondering about the streets.
This cart has escaped the herd and is wondering about the streets.
Two feral carts have established dominance over a third cart.
Two feral carts have established dominance over a third cart.
This cart is outfitted with a baby saddle.
This cart is outfitted with a baby saddle.
This cart is being abused and overworked.
This cart is being abused and overworked.
This attack cart is being trained to attack cars.
This attack cart is being trained to attack cars.
Carts are often left in the weather to fend for themselves.
Carts are often left in the weather to fend for themselves.
Dog attacks are the prime cause of broken cart wheels.
Dog attacks are the prime cause of broken cart wheels.
The injured are often ignored.
The injured are often ignored.
Another injured cart has been abandoned.
Another injured cart has been abandoned.
This cart has died and been cast aside
This cart has died and been cast aside
This cart has drowned and been left to decay.
This cart has drowned and been left to decay.
Another senselessly drowned cart.
Another senselessly drowned cart.
Gross exploitation of the common cart.
Gross exploitation of the common cart.
Even computer games encourage the exploitation of carts.
Even computer games encourage the exploitation of carts.
This page is from a government anti-cart abuse training pamphlet.
This page is from a government anti-cart abuse training pamphlet.

Zoologists spend much time and energy studying and researching the copious variety of animals on our planet, but they have missed or forgotten a common beast of burden which impacts our lives almost everyday. I speak of the common shopping cart. This humble creature endures long working days, careless treatment and harsh weather conditions with hardly a look of complaint. Such a faithful and gentle servant deserves whatever small attention we can give.

After studying for several years and earning a degree at the Home Shopping Network, I decided to get out into the field and live among the shopping carts for a while. I wanted to see what their lives were really like.

The accompanying pictures serve to tell the story of the shopping cart.

As can be seen, carts can be found in any number of colors, although some colors are more rare than others.

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Carts are often housed in tightly cramped corrals where they are left standing for hours with no relief. Often oil droppings stain the floor of these corrals.

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These two pictures of rare Blue Carts show their typical herd behavior and their near-constant feeding habits.

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The mating habits of carts are quite unique. A female will present herself available, at which point the interested males will form what zoologists call a 'parade' around her. The purpose is to show off. After several circuits of the parade, individual carts will break off from the group and display their power for the potential mate.

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After a gestation period of several months, baby carts are born. From one to three will be born at a time.

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Sometimes, carts will leave the heard and begin a solo existence.

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Packs of feral carts often form bands that seek dominance over lone carts.

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While most carts are treated as necessary beasts of burden, some treatment goes beyond, ranging from poor to outright exploitation. This cart has been fitted with a baby saddle, which is a danger to the cart's health.

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Overworked carts are at risk for severe fatigue and collapse.

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Some carts are taken by sinister organizations and trained as combat carts. Combat training for carts includes saddle training and attack training.

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Sometimes people forget their carts in the midst of inclement weather or other circumstances.

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Broken cart wheels are a preventable injury, if only the ranchers would keep their animals separated.

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Injured carts are a problem for cart ranchers. An injured cart rarely recovers, so many ranchers will drop their carts in lonely areas, leaving them to the mercies of weather and scavengers.

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Cart carcasses are rarely disposed of properly. The usual method is to dump the carcass at any convenient location.

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Domesticated carts have to be watched closely around water. Careless ranchers often lose carts to drowning.

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Exploitation of carts has become epidemic, ranging from abusive riding practices to appearances in video games.

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The exploitation of carts has become so bad that the government has stepped in to help protect the gentle creatures. Numerous publications and programs are available to instruct ranchers in the proper treatment of their carts.

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The future of the shopping cart is uncertain. If poor treatment and exploitation of the carts can be significantly reduced, through literature and training programs, perhaps these peaceful friends can look forward to long productive lives.

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