by Chrysa Smith

I don’t usually think about accidents. Well, except when flying (but that’s a neurosis for another day).  While on the ground however, on most days, I’m in a place that I absolutely hate: the shopping center parking lot.

There’s lots to hate about parking lots and I think I might just have some of the solutions to the numerous problems that exist there.

I think most people have experienced this one: while backing out, you crank your neck 360 degrees to see all sorts of rear views, only to creep out and just barely miss the one sneaky person you somehow didn’t see. Solution? Mirrors mounted on the islands in lots, so you can have another perspective. Couple this with pedestrian walkways in each parking aisle and voila, you’ve saved everyone, both driver and pedestrian, unnecessary angst.

This doesn’t solve the problem of those folks who fly through the lots like they’re on the Autobahn. On more than one occasion, I believe I was barely grazed, usually by one of those teens who just got their license. That could be a great excuse for a drink at the nearest Applebee’s, but alas, I think those drivers should at least be shamed and others warned. I suggest those sensors that beep, like you have in a car or truck when backing up. Only these would be mounted in parking lots, triggered when speed was exceeded by more than a couple miles/hour. Like a thief who gets slammed by a car alarm, the fast and furious driver will finally get the attention they deserve.

But my worst scenario by far, has now happened to two of my last three cars—and that is the runaway shopping cart. Several years back, I came out of Costco and found a major dent in the middle of my door. And just a few months back, I watched in what seemed to be slow motion, as the jerk a few spots up from me, left his cart car-side on an incline. I was predicting what was happening as it fast-forwarded into my car as I ran to grab it. I was maybe a nano second too late. Obviously, shopping centers try to address this with the cart returns. But still, that doesn’t cut it enough for those too lazy to walk a few extra steps. I say we give those guys who round up the carts a new authority. As they see folks who leave carts near their car, they are commissioned to bang that car with the cart and issue a summons. Maybe then, they’d understand what it’s like to be on the receiving end of those actions.

Good ideas huh? Yep, I think so too. And implementing them would only raise our grocery bills by 250%. Like I said, lots to hate.