The Mustang Basket Return

Years ago (more than I care to count), I used to sport a civic minded spirit by making sure the parking lots of mass merchandisers were clear of unnecessary debris.


Just as a reference, let’s just operate under the assumption that “debris” and “shopping baskets” are synonymous, shall we?


The real clincher here was that I didn’t work for the particular mass merchandiser whose parking lot I took upon myself to keep cleaned up.  No, it was strictly “volunteer” work.  It didn’t involve service hours for the National Honor Society (of which I was not a member), or some court ordered mandate as a matter of being caught in possession of materials or liquids that a person of my age should not have had.




It was just a volunteer effort.


Granted, the proprietors of the establishment weren’t aware of my activities short of the aftermath.  It’s not like I went inside and announced myself at the service desk that I was here to move their shopping baskets around.  They probably would have told me and the horse I rode in on where to go.


Even to this day, I don’t really understand why they would have refused my offers.


Yet still, rules are rules.


Put very simply, I used my car (a 1980 Mustang similar to the one pictured) to move the shopping baskets which had been indiscriminately deposited along the periphery of the parking lot.


All I would do is have a friend sitting in the passenger seat and hang his long arms out of the window so as to hold the basket in place.  I would then speed up to about 40 mph within the parking lot on a direct intercept course with any one of the grass covered islands strategically placed throughout the lot.  At the point where it was time to veer away from the island, my friend (we’ll call him Shotgun) would let go of the basket, sending it careening into the curb at a speed faster than what it’s structural integrity probably would allow for.


Fun was had by all in the car was we were direct witnesses to the physics of shopping baskets hitting curbs at a certain rate of speed.


Strangely enough, I was stopped by an officer of the law one evening while proceeding with my civic minded duties.  After explaining to him that we were just trying to clear the parking lot of potential road hazards, he let me go without issuing a citation or even a warning.  Just a snicker was offered up.


All things being equal, it was a small town in Wyoming during the 80’s.  The alternative was to go out hunting snipe, tipping cows, or to perpetuate the myth behind why sheep are nervous in that part of the country.





Randy Tharp

TharpSter is a husband to one woman, a father to two kids, a master to two dogs, an occasional cubical occupant, and unable to make up his mind on an adequate theme for this website.

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