No More Gross Grocery Carts

November 14, 2008

When I was young I could have cared less about germs, grit, and grim. Licking sticky candy off my fingers never bothered me. If food fell on the dirty ground - "three second rule!" - it's still good. I never put coins in mouth though, not because it grossed me out, but because my mother scared the living bejeezus out me that I'd get one lodged in my throat and die. And if she didn't make me wash my hands before dinner it never would have happened.

Then I grew up.

I'm certainly not paranoid about germs. I think I have a rational disdain for them. We do after all need some germs as they help us build up our immune system. But, there are certain things that gross me out so much they make me want to scrub my hands like a surgeon. One of those things: shopping carts. Well, gas station restrooms and public telephones too, but I'll just focus on the carts for now.

Even if the carts are somehow washed by a heavy tropical rainstorm followed by a long baking in 115 degree heat I still hate touching them. I do it though because, let's face it, if I don the latex gloves I would just look like a freak. In the name of vanity that's the sacrifice I make.

Then I jumped with joyous glee as I read Taking the Gross Out of the Grocery Cart in the Wall Street Journal online that a number of supermarkets in Chevy Chase, Maryland are putting us shopping cart germophobes at ease by disinfecting their carts - the whole shebang - in a peroxide solution. The carts are sent through what looks like a car wash and "de-germificated." Nice!

Now if someone could just figure out how to dunk doorknobs in the same stuff that would be something.



Tish's picture

Our "A&P Fresh" has a thing of wet wipes where you pick up carts... is that common elsewhere? Never heard of the whole carts getting sanitized...

Meanwhile, the whole A&P Fresh thing is a bit odd. I liked the old A&P Stale just fine.

dreama's picture

Our Alvertson's grocery store in Surprise, AZ put the "wipes" at cart pick-up point. It is a wonderful convenience, especially appreciated during the cold and flu season.

Greg Bulmash's picture

The Food Emporium near us has been doing the disinfectant wipes thing for years. Never really noriced until I started putting my toddler son in the "passenger seat" and then I began disinfecting any part he might touch.

Of course, you can always carry a small pack of Clorox wipes with you everywhere you go.

One caveat on all these disinfectants is that when they're not 100% effective, you risk creating stronger bacteria and viruses. If you're going to disinfect, don't do it half-assed.

Anonymous's picture

WOW! I suggest start living and stop worrying about all of the places where you physically contact germs. As a biologist, I can assure you they are everywhere, so just take a deep breath, and yes, TOUCH THAT CART. You'll survive.

Sheri Wetherell's picture

Thanks, Anonymous Biologist. Deep breath taken.