Last week at the local supermarket, I put a coin into the slot of the shopping cart locking mechanism but nothing happened that I could see so I tried to get the coin back out to try it in the slot of another cart’s locking mechanism. I couldn’t get a good grip on the coin, though, because less than a millimeter was sticking out and I have short fingernails.
I could get it to move a couple microns, but it kept slipping back in. I couldn’t even get it to move enough to tell whether it was somehow locked into the slot (having engaged some mechanism) or I just wasn’t pulling hard enough. People who had arrived after me were taking carts from other nested lines of carts and going about their business.
Noticing my situation, the man who sells the homeless newspaper in front of the store came over. He took some fingernail clippers out of his pocket and got ahold of the edge of the coin that way. I remembered my mother warning me when I was a kid not to put coins in my mouth; her argument was one never knows where they have been whereas I had been more concerned about the choking danger at the time. Now that I am grown I can put coins in my mouth whenever I want, but if I do I’ll always boil them first I guess.
The coin just wouldn’t come out, though, it did appear to be locked in the slot. So the man helping me checked to see whether my insertion of the coin had disengaged the cart lock, something I had neglected to do after failing to hear the usual “click” upon insertion, or see the key pop out as usual.
Indeed, the cart was unlocked and my only problem was me. Funny how that works, I thought. Upon leaving the supermarket, I purchased a newspaper from the man and asked him how his arm was doing, because we had discussed it a few weeks earlier, and he had told me then about slipping and falling on it. It is doing better now, although he dreads the approaching winter, which is expected to be cold.