Maggie Wilson Author

Historical Non-Fiction in Northern Ontario

A Cheesy Little Story

Someone’s dinner is going to be ruined today. Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but soon and for the rest of… well, as long as they have the urge to eat cheese.

And it’s all my fault.

Shall I explain?

Good. Play it, Sam.

A Similar Coin Lock System in France

A Similar Coin Lock System in France

You may be familiar with grocery stores that use an ingenious system to keep the carts near the store instead of rolling around in the parking lot. It works like this: the carts snuggle up one inside the next. They are linked together by a chain and key on the first that is inserted into the keyhole on the next. In order to release the key, the shopper inserts a coin. When you finish with the cart, you snug it back in line, place the key into the keyhole and retrieve the coin.

It is a hassle if you don’t have the correct change. It also means that if you parked far from the store’s entrance, after you’ve purchased your groceries, you have a long walk to the car, you unpack, and you have to repeat the circuit in order to return the cart and retrieve your money.

I know several stores have a 25¢ system. These days, there might not be enough motivation to return a cart if all you lose is a quarter. The carts at the store nearest me require a Looney*. I have yet to see a cart wandering aimlessly among the parked cars.

(A *Looney is a dollar. We Canadians have a cute sense of humour when it comes to our currency. The two dollar coin? A Tooney. Aren’t we clever?) See image below. 


I like to play a little game when I shop at this grocery store. After I park my car, I scan the lot to see who might be ready to take the cart back. I holler, “I’ll take that for you!” and besides the transfer of funds, we exchange pleasantries about how witty we are and how the cart is warmed up ready for another round and silly nonsense like that. The first shopper is spared a trip back to the store and I have am content with my little victory. (Yes!)

Like this morning. A gentleman had just finished loading his car as I pulled up. I bid him good morning and offered to take the cart back for him. “Sure!” he said, and I gave him my Looney.

A few minutes later, in the produce section, I place my first selection in the cart and … oh ho! What’s this? Mozzarella? What the…? Then is dawns on me. This is the guy’s cheese! I grab it and make a dash for the exit. Of course, it’s not the exit, it’s the entrance and you can’t get there from here. But it doesn’t matter. His car is gone.

I return the cheese to the grocery shelf. It’s astounding the range of thoughts that ran through my noggin.

Damn! I should have made sure the cart was empty!


Huh. The store will make double on this brick of cheese.

… followed by

Oh man, that poor guy. His family is probably expecting a homemade pizza for dinner tonight and he’s going to wonder… “I know I bought cheese. I just know it!”

I regret this. For now. Maybe tomorrow. But for the rest of my life, this little problem don’t amount to a hill of beans in this crazy world. Someday I’ll understand that.

Here’s looking at you.

How cheesy is that?



Categories: Blog Blog Blog

Tags: , ,

47 replies

  1. So, what did you do? I wouldn’t want to pay twice for it…well, you know what I mean. Did you take it to the customer services and explain? I need to know these things! 🙂 x


  2. I had to choose the anchovies and garlic bread. What? I like them. 😉


  3. Yeah, he is going to be scratching his head…..puzzled. So if some guy comes up and says, “Where’s my cheese, girl!” you will know what that’s about. XXX 😀


  4. You’ll never be the same again Maggie – it’s taken all the fun out of your trolley snatching! 🙂


  5. This was two too funny! Seriously a Looney and a Tooney? You know what I want to say here, right? Gonna resist the urge. OMG, so basically it came down to…the cheese stands alone.


  6. Ah, cheese…I mean geez. I spelled ‘too’ wrong….

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes you did, but considering the distractions, who could blame you? Normally I’d edit it and your note and no one would be the wiser. But I think in this case, it just adds to the hilarity.

      By the way, I uploaded a picture of our currency. There I saw that I spelled Toonie incorrectly! Oh it’s one of those days alrighty!


  7. You amaze me with your hyperlinking, editing and uploading. I can’t even spell! I am glad to see the currency, though, ’cause I was feeling pretty badly for whosever picture was on the Loonie……


  8. Being someone prone to leaving things about and being descended from Glaswegians on both sides, I’d have to agree with scottishmomus. I’d have taken it to customer service because if I’d been the cheese-leaver I’d have been back to that shop in a shot and been mightily displeased if I’d had to buy another one.

    I was going to ask “why Loonie” until you put the picture up and that explained it. Not that we can talk. Our $2 coin is half the size of the $1 coin. Not sure what ‘Loonie’ in the Treasury thought up that one. And you still have 1c coins?? We got rid of those in 1992. They’re now talking about getting rid of the 5c. Probably why we pay so much more for things here.


    • LOL – this makes me smile! 🙂

      Ah, yes, the penny. It was removed from circulation last year. I forgot about that, what with all the talk about cheese thievery.

      This has certainly been an education for me in terms of accidental cheese loss (NOT theft! Not!) and I am delighted that you contributed!


  9. Interesting to see your coins. What a blow, pizza without cheese won’t taste the same!!
    Love your honesty too… 🙂


    • Exactly my thought, Barbara. Speaking of honesty, I suppose I should say that I had LEFTOVER pizza for dinner last night. Enjoyed every bite of it, too. Completely oblivious to those less fortunate in the cheese department.


  10. Oh no, you cheese thief. I can hear his wife now. (if he has one) where’s the cheese……


  11. I’d have kept it.

    I’d have looked into the future when i’d no doubt bump into him, notice his ‘You saw an opportunity and knicked my cheese biatch’, be forced to go over and explain and buy him a new block and then bubble with resentment that I was half a pizzas worth of protein down and he still might not have believed me.

    Plus, if I didn’t see him again, I was a couple of toasties up. Result!

    Sometimes it pays to be so paranoid… 😉


    • That was my exact first thought. “Oh well, it’s the kind I use, I’ll keep it.” Then realized I wouldn’t be able to get it past the checkout without paying for it.

      But I must say, I do appreciate your forecasting skills. Especially the couple of toasties up part! 🙂


  12. How on earth do you do that? Even a trip to the grocery store becomes an interesting story! Iwent to the grocery store yesterday too. The most interesting thing that happened to me? … there weren’t any more mini-carts which I prefer and I had to use a jumbo cart which I dislike. Exciting right?!!!

    I’m terrible at playing ‘what if’. I’m guessing I would have assumed I had free cheese until I got to the cash register. On the other hand, I’ve managed to get home a few times without a key item I went to the store to buy. hmmm – now I’m wondering if that’s what happened ….

    No anchovies on your pizza?! Ever?! Also, anchovy-garlic bread? yum.


    • Hi Joanne. [heaves heavy sigh] I just got back from a road trip with my hubby. Told him about this post and the response. He feels that I dropped the ball. That is I should have taken the mozzarella to the head cheese at the store. I’m a loser. So, yeah, go ahead – I’ll take the rap. I took your missing grocery items. If, as they say, the foo shits… (gonna milk this for as long as I can.) [another long and miserable sigh]

      OK, I’m over it! 😀

      By the way, your grocery store story may not be as exciting as my Grand Theft Trolley, but I get the preference for the smaller carts. They just installed a bunch at our store. Sleek sporty models. Vrooom!


  13. I hate hate hate those things. Good God they make me so mad… Irrationally mad. Like do something violent to whoever thought that crap up mad. I’m already spending my time going to the grocery, why do I need to go around searching my car and purse for a non-existant quarter as well? Ooooooooh…. I hate them so MUCH.


  14. Not gonna lie, I went with the “gym socks” option. :>

    It should come as no surprise (given how I make my living), that my first thought was “oh no!” because I expected that you would be chased by store security for pilfering the cheese, and of course they would never believe that you brought the cheese back into the store to begin with.

    Interesting that cart system has not made it to the States, at least not to the west coast; okay at least not into my county. Some of our stores rather have little electronic gismos that lock up the wheels of the cart if it hasn’t been through the checkout line first; after that, the carts are free to wander about the earth. (Which is why we have special 800 numbers to call if they are reported found off of the store property.)

    Finally, alas, we have not abolished the penny. I truly wish we would. I despise them and leave trails of pennies at the convenience stores and gas stations that I frequent as I refuse to put them into my pockets. Useless they are; useless.

    Okay, you, too, are now free to wander about the earth as I release you from my dribble. :>


  15. Ahhh the possibilities with the wife – – she’s gonna mozzaryella at him big time! That he would cheddar, err, I mean cheat her (and the kids) outa homemade pizza! Now he’ll have to go to sleep provolone – – uh, probably alone. Poor guy, Maggie, poor guy – – you gouda/coulda run after him faster? And all because of your cart blanche behavior! That cheese didn’t belong to you, Maggie – – it was nacho cheese. Anyway you slice it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • [giggles]
      Do you know what this is like? This is like the Antiques Roadshow when the appraiser says, yeah, it’s a book by a famous author all right and it was printed a bazillion times – there’s no cover and it’s in pretty rough shape, but know what? The tribute here from the author makes it priceless.

      That’s you, Steph, priceless. ❤

      I know that you are one super busy blogger and the fact that you took the time to compose this just floors me. And if you say you just rattled this off the top of your head? Know what? Still floored, and staying there, bowing down.



  16. Shouldn’t the 50-cent piece be christened “Nuts In the Head”?

    (Please pass the ketchup. And a carrot wouldn’t hoit.)

    BTW, the cointastic carts DID make it to the west coast. Many years ago they were tried here. I believe they were removed because they attracted hustlers to store parking lots.

    It was in the days of children killing others for their designer sneakers: I remember at one store, two young men–10 or 11 years old–were volunteering their services returning carts. I asked how much they cleared per day. $80 to $100 EACH. They told me they used the money to buy sneakers.


    • Nuts in the head? More like over my head. I must need more caffeine. Been sleep deprived, after all.

      Those kids… I sort of admire the moxy. As long as they weren’t harassing anyone, what’s the harm? Unless I’m missing something. California world is a light year from my little Southern Ontario world.

      Great to hear from you OB. I hope you’ve been doing OK?



  1. Kindness is as Kindness Does | The Zombies Ate My Brains

Your thoughts?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s