The Greeter and his Wife

A Wal-Mart greeter and his wife lived in a beat-up old trailer out on the by-pass. One summer’s evening as he was gathering up the carts in the parking lot, one of the carts spoke to him saying, “Hey, buddy, don’t take me back into the store. Leave me out here where I can at least live free.”

The Greeter looked around and called out, “Is that you, Harold?” but the cart said, “It’s me, right here. I’m no shopping cart, but an enchanted… um, I’m enchanted.” The greeter wondered if it could be one of those new network-aware carts with the speakers for targeted advertising. He looked closely at the cart, but saw nothing. The cart said, “Satisfied? I told you, I’m enchanted. Please, do me a favor, don’t take me back inside.”

“An enchanted what?” asked the greeter.

“What difference does it make? I’m a talking cart; Just walk away.”

So the greeter released the enchanted shopping cart, and taking the rest of the carts he went back inside. When his shift ended he went home to his beat-up old trailer and told his wife all that had happened. “Did you wish for anything?” she asked.

“What? No,” said the man, “That’s stupid; What would I wish for?”

“Well you could wish for a real house for us instead of this nasty trailer. Go on back there and ask the magic cart for a house. He owes you for letting him go.”

The man didn’t want to mess with it, but rather than get into a big thing with his wife he went back to look for the cart. The night had gotten colder, and a gusty wind blew trash around the parking lot. He looked around, and then called out, “Psst, hey cart!”

The cart rolled up and said, “What’s up?”

The man said, “Hey, my wife, she said I should have asked for something.”

“What’s she want?” asked the cart.

“She’d like a small house instead of the trailer.”

“Okay, you got it. Anything else?”

“So what, are you like an enchanted prince?” asked the man.

“I’m an enchanted attorney, okay?”

The man went home, and found his wife sitting in front of the TV in their new house, a nice little two-bedroom ranch. He sat down beside her, and everything was fine for several weeks. But as time passed, the wife grew restless. “You’d think your magic cart could just as well have given us an attached garage, with one of those openers like your brother’s kid has.”

The man said, “This is fine; leave it alone.” But his wife kept after him, and in a few days he gave in. Late on a windy, rainy night he stood in the parking lot and again called out to the cart, and the cart came rolling up.

“Yeah, what?”

“She wants a nicer house, out in that new subdivision, Oak something; Park? Peak? Can you help me out?

“You got it. Anything else?”

“So how’d you get enchanted anyway? I’m just asking.”

“None of your business. Go on home and be happy. 2218 Oak Peak.”

The man thanked the cart, and went home. He had to admit it was a pretty nice house. And his wife thought so too, for about a week. Then she became restless. “This place is too big for me to keep up with. We need a maid. Go ask the cart to send one out. And someone to do the yard work too.” The man said, “No, this is wrong. What we have is plenty good enough.” But his wife persisted, he gave in, and again he stood in the lot. There was lightning, and the sky looked nasty. The wind had a funny smell. Before he even spoke, the cart rolled up and said, “You see where this is going, right? She’s never going to be satisfied, and it’s all going to end badly.”

The man replied, “Yeah, I know, but she’s my wife. What’re you gonna do?”

“That’s up to you,” said the cart.

Later that night, after stopping for a tall cold one on the way, the man sat by himself in front of the TV in his shabby but comfortable trailer. He’d gotten a raise at work, and a special bonus award as employee of the year. That came with a parking place and a free vacation day every month. The big-screen TV had been nice, but there was no sense pushing your luck.