“The Shopping Cart Museum,” by Kate LaDew

Aug 20th, 2011 | By | Category: Prose

The shopping cart museum was interesting, to say the most.  In that it wasn’t that interesting.  Percival wasn’t sure why he’d ever started it.  Just because his dad had specified the money was to be spent on shopping carts, didn’t mean it had to be spent on shopping carts.  Percival knew his dad was crazy.  Everyone knew Percival’s dad was crazy.  But you were supposed to listen to dad, right?  Wasn’t that what you were supposed to do? He’d read that somewhere.

So here he was, surrounded by shopping carts, trying to make a buck so he could somehow offset the ridiculous amount of money he spent on a shopping cart museum. Who knew?  Who knew shopping carts were expensive?  Who knew shopping carts cost anything at all? Someone had to make them, yeah.  They didn’t just pop out of the sky fully formed.  Someone had to weld all their little parts together.  Percival felt sorry for that someone.  He felt sorry for that someone but not as sorry as he felt for himself.  That someone got to leave the shopping carts behind. Percival got to look at them every day, just sitting there being metal and doing nothing.  The only interesting thing he’d ever heard about a shopping cart was that the first one had been made out of rocks.  Just a pile of rocks.  Percival’s dad told him that.  Percival’s dad was crazy.  Just before he died, he had taken Percival out to the backyard and shown him a pile of rocks.

“That’s the first shopping cart,” his dad said.

“That pile of rocks?”


Cavemen had used shopping carts.  That’s what Percival’s dad said.

“Cavemen used shopping carts.”

“For what?”

“For putting things in.”


“Stuff they had.”

“Where did they get the stuff?”

“Nowhere at first.”


“Until they had stores.”

“Cavemen had stores?”

“Cavemen always did things the wrong way around.”



So Percival  had moved the pile of rocks and put them in the corner of the museum near the historical section next to cardboard cutouts of cavemen.    

“What’s that pile of rocks over there?” some kid asked.

“That’s the first shopping cart,” Percival said.

“Looks like a pile of rocks.”

“Well, it’s the first shopping cart.”

“Well, it looks like a pile of rocks.”

“Why don’t you get the hell out of here,” Percival said.


Kate LaDew is a graduate from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro with a BA in Studio Art.  She is poor, a fact completely unrelated to her choice of major.

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