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I’m not one of those columnists

Published 10:50am Saturday, August 11, 2012

I’ve never really viewed this column as a place to air my personal grievances, or complain about something that gets on my nerves.

Now, that’s not to say I’ve never been critical of an issue or policy or person who I disagree with on a matter of principle because I’ve certainly done that before.

No, what I’m talking about is just outright moaning and groaning about something that irritates me. There are plenty of columnists who do that, and I usually find them more annoying than interesting or entertaining.

Take the late Andy Rooney. He managed to transform being cranky into a 140-year career as a columnist and television commentator, and I don’t ever recall one single episode of “60 Minutes” where he didn’t just ramble on about one of his many pet peeves for the final two minutes of the show.

Honestly, I just found it to be obnoxious and boring and, quite frankly, I found his eyebrows to be a lot more intriguing than most of the things he complained about.

So I decided early on that I wasn’t going to be one of those columnists that fills space by talking about the irritation of having to find matching socks every day or wondering why someone has yet to invent a tube you can get all the toothpaste out of.

Or why the towel dispenser is always 20 feet away from the sink in a public restroom.

Nope. That won’t be me. I’ll leave that stuff to the other guys because I have more serious and important topics to tackle.

This column, and the opinions expressed in it, will only be used to make our planet a better, more enlightened, safer and happier place. In fact, I would be doing mankind a tremendous disservice by wasting our time on such trivial matters as drivers who don’t use their turn signals or why they hardly put any potato chips in such gigantic bags.

Besides, if I were to cover that stuff, Channel 10 wouldn’t need Andy Fox and I just don’t need causing a man to lose his job on my conscience.

There will be absolutely no gratuitous griping here in this column.

Except for when it comes to the people who leave their shopping carts in the middle of the parking lot.

There is nothing on God’s green earth that makes me madder than finding a choice spot near the door, and some clown has left his shopping cart in the middle of the parking space.

If this is you, let me ask you something; what in the world is wrong with you? What is it that makes you think leaving a shopping cart in the middle of the parking lot is the right thing to do?

What’s even worse is when a cart is left two parking spots away from a shopping cart corral. Exactly how lazy do you have to be?

Oh, and this is my personal favorite; you know when you leave the cart at the intersection of four parking spots because you think it won’t actually be in anybody’s way if you angle it just so? Uh-huh, well, it is in the way.

Except now it’s in the way of four people who want to park their car without your shopping cart busting out one of their headlights.

And you know when you’re glancing around to see if anybody notices what you’re doing, thinking that you’re being really discreet and extremely clever? Well, someone almost always does see you because you’re not being all that discreet, and you’re definitely not that clever.

So please, put your shopping cart back where it belongs, or at least some place where it’s not going to scratch up the front right quarter panel of my vehicle.

You may not care about my ride, but I do. And so do a lot of other people who, if given the chance, would like to tell you just how irritated they are that you’re too lazy to push a silly shopping cart 20 feet back to the cart corral!

Whew. The end of my first pet peeve column. I’d like to tell you there won’t be any more, but that actually felt pretty good. Maybe Andy Rooney wasn’t so bad after all.

TONY CLARK is the associate publisher at The Tidewater News. He can be reached at

  • SandMan

    We appreciate your candor and professionalism, Tony. You are a breath of fresh air.
    Sinoptik…this column is about Tony’s new position, not shopping carts!

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  • Chris Fuller

    The U.S. needs to adopt the way the Germans do it. If you go to a Walmart or Grocery store there you have to put in a 1 Euro coin to get the cart and do not get your coin back until you put the cart back. You never see carts left out there because even if the person is to lazy to take it back there is some kid out there that will return it just to get the dollar.

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  • Sinoptik

    I recall going into Walmart one day with my daughter when she was much younger and seeing one of these fools doing just that. I said rather loudly “see there, that is something you never want to be in life, someone so lazy and selfish they would rather damage someone’s property than walk a few feet.” Polite as she is she whispered “Daddy, I think he heard you.”

    The good news from that is one: she never leaves shopping carts in the parking lot, two: she never says anything quietly that she’s not willing to say outloud to the person.

    Another thing I like to do is, before they take off, get the cart and put it behind their car. You have to be quick though.

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  • employee2

    Good column Tony, and on the mark. I have watched the behavior and it appalls me too. My other ia the ones that pull up to the curb of the store (no parking zone) and go inside. Where do these people get their “PC” syndrome?

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