Functional Design

It came to me in a flash as I was loading groceries into the hatch. I had arrived at the grocery just a few minutes after noon, and I think it was another five minutes before I could get to a cart and go inside, owing to there was one mother coaching a toddler to put on her shoes (ever so slowly — one-buckle, two-buckle) right in front of the cart corral, and another woman with one of those repellent little rigid baby-baskets performing some unfathomable maneuver with a cart. I don’t know why she was pushing it slowly backwards out of the corral with the basket thingie teetering on top. I mean, yes, I know, people have worse days, there are thousands right now in camps at the Croatian border, but did I ever mention that stupid gives me a rash and children give me a worse one?

It must have been an evacuation at the day care center or something. Every other cart had at least one fucking infant either in it or following it, and as I approached the cold case to get a tub of yogurt, that was all I wanted, just a tub of goddamned yogurt, two, count them, two little kiddygartners came stampeding up and began knocking all the containers over sideways. Oh what fun it must have been for them! They were closely followed (but not closely enough, clearly) by a woman with another pre-verbal larva in the cart, who at least reprimanded them and made them put the stuff back and say Excuse Me. I could only muster a curt nod, because if I had opened my mouth I would have been unable to say anything other than “ENOUGH CONDOMS COULD HAVE PREVENTED ALL THIS!!!!” Or maybe “DON’T YOU KNOW THERE ARE STILL ABORTION CLINICS IN THIS PART OF THE STATE?”

All up and down every aisle. If it wasn’t fecking toddlers squealing while they ran up and down and into the shopping trolleys, it was some woman looking like a boa that had just swallowed a pig, promising more in the future. Jesus Christ on a bicycle. When did people start dragging their rotten little brats everywhere and letting them run under everyone else’s feet? Or squall their heads off even if they’re restrained?

And then it came to me. Those little seats they design into the carts, you know, with the plastic flap instructing you that the child could fall out and (oh if only) incur a serious head injury? Redesign!!! What we need is a sole, and mandatory, form of restraint modeled on the Humongous vehicle in the Road Warrior movies.


I’m wondering if it’s possible to include a cost-effective disposable ball gag that would have to be in place before you entered the place of business. I probably need a good designer to help with a prototype. Maybe this would fly on Kickstarter.


15 thoughts on “Functional Design

  1. It’s even worse for people who don’t have your healthy dietary discipline. ‘Stead of grocery shopping, I’ve been patronizing too many McDonald’s and Chic Filets recently. They’re all having these family-night and school fund-raiser night events, and the places are jammed with families and screaming kids. Particularly frightening around Halloween! It’s discrimination against single people, I say, and unfair to the regular, every-day consumers of junk food.

    • Think of it as an incentive for diet reform.

      But trust me, there are a lot of mothers of Precious Trophy Sneauflakes shopping for the finest organic fodder for their little unsocialized vermin. My kid right or wrong, but he must eat free-range unbolted kale granola.

    • I feel your pain. When I was working in the US I had a client that was an hour away. I used to fortify myself on the drive by stopping at McD’s and getting two cups of coffee to drink on the way. I always envied the people who didn’t have to go to work and promised myself that on a day off I would stop in and get a Big Breakfast and read a book and relax.

      The big day came and I was waiting in line behind a mother and two offspring. While they were placing the order, one of the kids freaked out and did a projectile vomit–it was like a sculpture figure in a fountain spewing in an arch toward the horrified McDonald’s employee. Needless to say I was in no mood for a Big Breakfast after that.

    • I just have never found kids adorable. I know women are supposed to and all that, but I’m like a gay guy who didn’t get the fabulous gene. And around here they’re all named Caitlin and Jeremy and more often than not wear designer toddler clothes and take their approach to life from their entitled lobbyist or law partner parents (in other words, everything is mine and I can disrupt everyone else’s life as much as I want — without any of the adult filters). It’s driven me from just avoiding the young to uttering a continuous subvocal grrrr until they are out of range.

      • Lol I can just picture it. Even though I am not an authority on the issue of children or discipline(yet, who knows )
        But I guess a lot of people will disagree with the way we are brought up in my country(Nigeria yes i know, controversial people with so many other stuff) blah blah. But discipline is something that’s engraved in the thread of our society (unfortunately not with the current generation who are so called exposed) it’s sad when a child throws a tantrums and can’t be brought to normalcy with just a look from their parent.
        Suffice to say I feel your pain on this issue.

        • I don’t know when it became taboo in the US to reprimand a kid — not abuse him, not berate him (there will always be people who do that sadly) but just say Don’t Do That, It’s Unfair To Others. You know, common courtesy.

          One of the most gracious people with whom I exchange greetings at my gym is a lady from Nigeria, probably about forty. Being classy and pleasant will never be controversial — I hope.

          • I do hope it never becomes that. But yeah never abusive. I think it boils down to training them properly and correcting.
            And the saying respect your elders never presented as cliche or sarcasm.
            Thank you so much for indulging me and replying I do appreciate it and I enjoyed reading your blog

      • Yes–and this kind of parenting has long term effects. The other day I read an article by a distraught HR professional advocating the elimination of the annual performance review because millennials (who are all named Amber and Justin and Tyler) find them too stressful because they are not used to criticism. 20% of the millennial respondents to a survey reported calling in sick on the day of their review because they were “too stressed” and 15% reported crying after the review. Why should we be surprised? They’ve spent childhood getting trophies for just showing up and being told how “awesome” they are. I should do a blog about some of the performance reviews I endured back in the day.

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