Shopping Trolley Dilemma

Summer has not only arrived, it’s unpacked a large suitcase and decided to hang around for a week. We are enjoying the fifth day of cloudless skies and high temperatures. It’s now so warm that we are going to the beach today. The beach in question is, in fact, “Sky Beach” in Stuttgart ( . It’s a rooftop bar, and every spring they transport a few tonnes of sand up there and along with cocktails and deckchairs manage to create a summer feeling in the middle of the city. We could have gone down to the open-air pool here in Schönaich, but considering that only two weeks ago I was scraping ice off the car windscreen in the morning we think the water will still be a little cold.Ariane is back from her trip to Dublin – which is more than I can say for her luggage. Her bag is hopefully just stuck in Dublin and will arrive soon. The presents for the girls are in that bag so there is a lot riding on its safe arrival. Ariane and the girls are a little bit upset, which I can’t really understand. After all, the excellent bottle of duty free whiskey was in the hand luggage.

I took the opportunity yesterday to make my ritual visit to the recycling centre and then do some shopping so that it wouldn’t look like we had lived only on frozen food while Ariane was away. As I put in my 1 Euro coin to get my trolley, I noticed that there were a couple of torn vouchers, an unused vegetable plastic bag and half a receipt lying in there. Yes, even though Germany is a tidy country, they leave scraps in shopping trolleys just like back in England. I know this because I once asked Ariane what was the same in England and Germany and this was her first answer. I thought about this as I reacted in my normal 2-phase manner. Phase 1 – get annoyed and curse the inconsiderate idiot that couldn’t be bothered to remover their rubbish. Phase 2 – chuck all the aforementioned rubbish into the next trolley in the chain. Then I remembered something I had heard a few weeks earlier on the radio during a sort of “Thought for the Day” section. A serious woman had said that if everybody just chucked the scraps of paper into the next trolley, things wouldn’t get better. A good person will break the chain and throw the rubbish in the bin. As the bin was no more than 5 metres away and I actually had to walk past it to get to the supermarket, I did my good deed for the day and disposed of the paper scraps in the bin.

As I did this, an old lady with a very stern expression was approaching and rather than giving me a nod of approval she didn’t say a word and maintained her grumpy face. So much for breaking the chain. I had expected an immediate good karma reward but just got blanked by a battleaxe. Then it occurred to me that perhaps she didn’t like seeing me throw paper in the general waste. If had carried on a little further there is a bin with different sections for paper, plastic and general. I had failed. It’s hard being a hero in Böblingen. Next time I see junk in a shopping trolley I will just loiter around until somebody else takes it and only jump in when an empty trolley appears.

At least the shops are closed today, so I can relax. Believe it or not, I do have another – even more exciting – shopping trolley story involving Ariane but I will save that for another day.

Today is Mothers’ Day by the way – I’ll let you know how it went tomorrow.

Bis morgen!


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