Why don’t people return shopping carts & other random ruminations

Summer’s here, so I’d like to think of this week’s post as the blog version of gazpacho—a cool and refreshing concoction of bits and pieces from my files. Well, at the very least, I hope you find it interesting, perhaps with a little bite:

Why don’t people return their shopping carts?

I’ve always thought it was because they were asshats. But an article in Scientific American, as well as a follow-up piece filled with reader comments, suggests the issue is more nuanced. Evidently, there are 5 categories of cart returners, and two categories of social norms (including how much we care about what others think of us) that drive our cart-returning behaviors. And then there’s a boatload of individual circumstances (like someone with a physical condition that makes it hard to walk, or a parent with a kid who can’t be left unattended) that may preclude returning a cart to the corral. It’s not an issue that’s likely to keep me awake at night, but it was an interesting read. What category of cart returner are you?

How often baby boomers are on their iPhones

While we baby boomers aren’t on our iPhones as much as younger folks, we’re no slouches. A 2015 report from eMarketer says that folks aged 55-plus check their iPhones 46 times a day (versus 123 times among kids aged 17 – 25). If you assume we’re awake 16 hours a day, that means we boomers are checking our devices about three times an hour, on average. Yikes.

Paid menstrual leave for women?

I recently read that Italy’s parliament was considering a law to grant women paid menstrual leave (no word on whether the law passed). Five other countries (Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Indonesia and China) already do so. And UK company Coexist has a “period policy” that lets women take time off during that time of the month, while here in the U.S., Nike’s offered menstrual leave since 2007.

It got me to thinking—what about women who no longer have periods, but are wracked by the mood swings, brain fog and hot flashes of menopause? Wouldn’t the workplace be more pleasant if we they stayed home? Seriously, though, I’m not sure this kind of policy does feminism any favors. What say you?

Faux camel-toe underwear: It’s a thing

Remember when “lift and separate” was a tagline for a bra? Well, now it’s the promise of underwear called “Party Pants” that have a fake camel toe mold sewn into the front of them. According to media reports, the Japanese-made panties are especially popular in the transgender market (among men who are transitioning to women) and among women who want to be “more seductive.” WTF is seductive about a frontal wedgie? I must be getting old…

Let’s Uber to the ER!

A growing number of Americans are opting to take Uber or Lyft to the ER instead of an ambulance, says an item in STAT. It’s certainly cheaper than an ambulance ride (a major impetus), you can specify the hospital you want (ambulances usually take you to the closest one), and if you aren’t having a medical emergency that requires treatment en route (like a heart attack), even doctors say hailing a rideshare isn’t so bad.

In fact, city officials in Washington, DC, have begun studying the use of ride-hailing for what they describe as “non-emergency, low-acuity” calls—which accounted for nearly half of the city’s 911 calls in 2015. And the majority of them didn’t require an ambulance.

The times they are a-changin’, huh?

So, what do you think? Do you always return your shopping cart? How often are you on your cell phone? Do you think paid menstrual leave is a good idea? Do you wonder how the world lived without fake camel toe underwear? Would you take an Uber to the ER? I’d love to hear/read your thoughts!

While you’re thinking about it, here’s this week’s haiku, reprised from an earlier edition of “blog soup:”

Just when I think I’ve
seen or heard it all, along
comes today’s newsfeed.


Roxanne Jones

About Roxanne Jones

By day, Roxanne Jones is an award-winning freelance copywriter specializing in health and medicine. She launched Boomer Haiku, a humorous blog about life as a baby boomer, in 2015, and a Boomer Haiku greeting card line in 2016 (available at 6 Maine stores; visit www.boomerhaiku.com/shop/ to learn more). Born and raised in Brunswick, she left Maine after high school (Class of 1971) and, after living in Massachusetts and California, came screaming back to her home state in 2006. She enjoys chardonnay, laughing at the foibles and frustrations of getting older, and contemplates plastic surgery to get rid of the wattle on her neck.