Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Shopping Carts and Anal Sex

I have OCD – and part of the benefits of having this wonderful mental illness (I call it a personality trait, not an illness) is that I wash my hands, doorknobs, the bathroom floor, etc., constantly. People at my work know that I have OCD. I don't advertise this, but from my actions, an observant person could guess. I like cleanliness – and that's part of the reason, I believe, that I have never been very excited about anal sex. The bottom was made as an exit, not an additional orifice in which to place a penis. Men see a whole and think "friction"; I just know they do.

Well, people send me articles that they think will entertain me. And, no, this is not going to be about anal sex. Sorry. But there will be fecal matter involved. Fecal material in supermarkets – really. I am going to post the full article italicized at the end of this post – just to show you that I am not making this up.

Drum roll please.

Researchers found that about half of shopping cart handles "weren’t frequently cleaned," and 21% tested positive for bodily fluids. Think about shopping in a supermarket for a moment – we get a cart, use the cart handles to push said cart, and sometimes sample food after touching cart handles that may contain bodily fluids.

Shopping cart handles are dirtier than public restrooms but not as dirty as playground equipment. Children are our future, but apparently we don't as a society want to pay to clean them to protect our children.

I mean, technically, it may be as sanitary in some instances to place fingers in a stranger's butt than to touch a shopping cart. Come to think of it, at least with the stranger, at least you know you are touching unclean parts. When we toodle around with a shopping cart, we don't really realize how dirty we are being.

You know, the more I learn, the more afraid I am of stuff. I think when folks say, "Ignorance is bliss," that is what they mean. At first, I thought it meant that it is nicer to go through life not thinking all too much – it is a lot less work just letting things go by. Now I believe that it is far nicer not to know things because of the overhead involved. I mean, health concerns aside, I imagine it is more comforting not to know how close the US gets in pissing contests with other countries. How many missile crises have we gone through and not known it?

Pardon me while I wipe down my desk. It's not that I think co-workers are having hot steamy sex on my desk after I leave. But you never know – I mean, fecal material gets on shopping carts in ways I really don't want to contemplate. So the next time someone wipes their hands after shaking hands, don't think they are merely strange. After all, they really don't know where your hands have been.

Truly a 'must-have' for shopper
Friday, February 03, 2006
Janet Cho
Plain Dealer Reporter
Gnaw on this the next time you're at the supermarket.

You know that shopping cart you don't think twice about grabbing with both hands? The one in which you toss all the fixings for dinner?

Well, chances are pretty good it's teeming with germs, bacteria and other things you don't want to know about.

Shopping carts are filthier than public washrooms, which at least get sanitized regularly, says Kelly Reynolds, an environmental microbiology professor at the University of Arizona in Tucson.

Think about everything you load into your shopping cart: fresh veggies, raw poultry, your firstborn.

Now consider this: When Reynolds and other University of Arizona researchers tested nearly 1,100 public surfaces for germs, shopping cart handles turned out to be among the dirtiest -- right after children's play ground equipment and public bus rails and armrests.

Grocery cart handles tested positive for the proteins found in mucus, blood, urine, sweat and saliva, as well as for salmonella, E. coli and fecal matter.

The results indicated that roughly half of shopping cart handles weren't frequently cleaned, Reynolds said. Twenty-one percent tested positive for bodily fluids.

Even worse, "We witnessed children actually directly mouthing the handles."

For about three months, Heinen's Fine Foods, the family-owned grocery with 16 stores in Northeast Ohio, has offered shoppers disposable SaniCart Wipes to wipe down carts between uses.

"We don't wipe them down every day or anything like that, but we're pretty proud that our carts are pretty clean," said Jeff Heinen. "We steam-clean them twice a year."

Reynolds' response: "Twice a year is better than nothing, but when you think about it, it's only as clean as the last person who used it."

She said the fabric covers that some parents take to the grocery store to cover the seat before baby sits down often end up taking those very germs home. The covers must be properly laundered between uses.

Response to the SaniCart Wipes has been somewhat underwhelming.

"The vast majority don't use them," Heinen says, perhaps one in 20. The ones who do, however, rave about them.

Tops Markets LLC, which has 46 stores in Northeast Ohio, plans to install SaniCart Wipe dispensers in its stores within a month, said spokesman Denny Hopkins. Giant Eagle Inc. said it is also considering providing shopping cart wipes.

SaniCart Wipes, made by Nice-Pak Products Inc. of Orangeburg, N.Y., are one of several EPA-registered disinfectants designed to wipe out germs like staphylococcus, salmonella and the common flu virus.

Named "Best New Product" at the 2004 Food Marketing Institute trade show, the wipes are in about one-third of America's supermarkets and on the verge of launching in Canada, according to Jon Luposello, product manager for Nice-Pak.

"The people who are most appreciative of the product are customers with small children," he said. Moreover, "We're getting interest from other retailers."

Reynolds, who now not only washes her hands more frequently but also carries her own disinfecting wipes, said many store employees aren't taught how to kill germs.

"I was at the grocery store recently and there was a big pool of blood on the conveyor belt," she said. "And when I asked for something to wipe it up, she handed me some paper towels and window cleaner."

Although proud of the research she did, Reynolds said she paid a price for collecting all those samples. "I caught the nastiest illness I've ever had in my life," she said. "I was sick for about three months."

Now, that's taking one for the team.


Edge said...

I've often wondered if we cleaned things more often if we would see such a spread of diseases. I think the fecal matter on shopping carts is probably from birds.

But, back to point, Just think if they simply hosed the carts off once a day, everyone cleaned their desk and counters once a day, with Clorox wipes, and made bathrooms out of stainless steel so they could be hosed down a couple times a day, we would eliminate MANY diseases.

Then again we need the diseases to keep our immune system up.

But I'm still fascinated with anal sex.


mal said...

I am with you on the anal sex...eeeyyuuuu

shopping carts? Oh my, Wet Ones are going shopping with me from here on

Mike said...

Damn.....Leesa.....you just know that Deb is either going to starve to death or never go grocery shopping again after she reads this....lol

Grant said...

If ignorance is bliss, why did you have to share this with all of us? Coulnd't you have just regaled us with tales of anal sex?

I had OCD once (I was more of a checker than a cleaner, and I had to do everything in patterns like Melvin Udall in As Good As It Gets), but over time I managed to force myself to drop it. Likewise, I refuse to let this bit of info deter me. I'm going to the grocery tonight, and I promise to lick one of the shopping carts for good measure.

If you never hear from me again, it's because I caught a terminal disease from a virulent cart and died. :p

Joe said...

Either that or they could just build shopping carts with Clorox pull-out wipes built into the handles.

Or maybe they can just build the handles from Clorox wipes! I think I'm on to something here..

Byron said...

With you on the anal sex too...probably OCD guy 2

~Deb said...

I think you and I are on the same wavelength today! OMG---this is bizarre… Now---with the shopping carts---remember that some parents will change their kids in the bathroom where that big baby station is. Which leaves the question of---“Did they wash their hands completely before the baby was placed back in the cart?” It’s so true that the cart’s handle is filthy! I wear gloves. No lie. I don’t feel bad about it when it’s fall and winter, but come spring and summer, it looks quite strange.

I think we may be related. I never participated in anal sex, so this is a foreign concept to me. I hear ya on the ‘exit only’ part. Plus---who wants to rip out a few sphincters? I think we have three up there---and if one or two go---you can literally lose all control of bowel movements. Interesting little fact there, right?

TMI, huh? Okay, I’ll stop here. Great post!

Prata said...

In my neck of the woods, stores provide clorox wipes where you pick carts up. To avoid just this sort of thing. I've noticed all stores with shopping carts do this; well I take that back, everywhere I have shopped they do. Which involves 3 big chains. So I'm thinking maybe there is a regulation? Perhaps not.

Amber said...

I've seen that article before and am no less grossed out the second time around. I feel slightly nauseous now. Gah.

Shannon said...

Ohhhh ughhhh.. and I gotta go food shopping today!! I need the bacterial wipes now!! Thanks for the warning...yuck! But seriously.. thanks for the advice =)

Giovanna said...

All I can think of is the episode of Sex and the City where Charlotte "doesn't want to be the 'up the butt girl'." LOL

My store just installed a big bucket o'Clorox wipes next to the cart area and the entrance. I have Purell in my purse, but I always forget to use it. I actually use it more when *I* am sick and don't want to infect everyone around me!

Bruce said...

Great...I have to go grocery shopping today. I guess I'll just have to carry everything in my arms, or wear a pair of exam gloves...

ck_dexter_haven said...

My wife is much the same way. I tease her for carring around a bottle of hand sanitizer. That wipe idea with the shopping carts is a great Idea. I've never seen those in any stores around here. I must look next time I go.
Thanks for the tip.

~Deb said...

Not for nuttin' and I know this has nothing to do with nuttin'--but it's fer sumptin'....

LEESA---you have to read this blog.


Hysterical! OMG...read the post for today! I was hysterically laughing and thought you would appreciate this one!

Anonymous said...

Ignorance is sick - I'd rather know.

I worked for an advertising agency in tampa for six years and after then first few months I learned that the president of the small company NEVER washed his hands after a visit to the bathroom. Every time we were in the can at the same time, he'd walk right out - not even a simple water rinse.

Jim Epstein, you sick freak you.

I probably went through a couple hundred bottle of hand sanitizer while I was there.

None said...

I live in Warren, which is in NE Ohio and at our grocery store we do have Sani-wipes BUT with having OCD I dont really want to take out the time to cram a wipe into every little groove so my infant can sit there - I prefer to take my baby stroller to the store. And I am a bag queen - meat? in bag veggies? in bag Not to mention I launder the stroller material constantly. Its just so gross were germs can hide!

halo said...


Rob said...

I'm glad lunch was over by the time I read this -- and my grocery shopping was done last weekend! I'll be prepared before the next visit (to the store).

Now Leesa, about this anal sex thing... ;-)

Leesa said...

jef: so you want some guy to have anal sex with you? Or some woman with a strap on? Just checking.

mallory: do wet ones have anti-bacterial agents?

mike: you know, that had never occured to me.

grant: loved your story on your blog. You are so funny!

joe: from now on, I am just not going to go shopping.

byron: thanks for the vote.

~deb: I saw a parent changing a baby on a table in the food court, thank you very much. Is that taco salad on the table, eeeeeeuuuuuuu. I am anti-anal.

prata: not in favor of a reg, but I would frequent a place that did something about this.

amber: sorry, sweet pea!

shannon: Just avoid the butcher, sweetie.

g: an "up the butt" girl; never heard of that. That certainly paints a pic, though.

bruce: sorry, sweetie.

dexter: you are welcome.

~deb: thanks for the link.

bill: totally gross.

muse: sorry, sweets.

rob: sorry rob, anal sex is gross.

Sass said...

I so hear you on this one. I am in sales and have to shake so many hands I keep baby wipes in my purse.

The grocery stores here have a stand that has wips in it for this purpose.

Edge said...

Dear Leesa: Neither! LOL I am a giver in bed not a taker! It's still intersting, just like women who spit or swallow. Again, I neither spit nor swallow in case you were going to make another off the cuff remark. Gosh, I'm a cheauvanist in bed, aren't I? sigh ... Now I can deal with my problem.

You have to admit, some women like anal sex.


KyuBall said...

Oh Christ. I just got over the the whole germs on money thing...now I've got to think about ass juice on shopping carts.


Rob said...

I just said I wanted to talk about it, Leesa -- I didn't say I wanted to "do it"! ;-)

kathi said...

We always use the the santi wipes offered at the door with the carts. However, since I had a large rat run across my foot in Krogers last year, I'm just very careful of what I buy from anywhere. I really don't like grocery stores.

Goddess said...

Yes, this is really gross. However, germs are all around us, and we need them, otherwise we WOULD be sick ALL THE TIME. With that being said, do not boycott the grocery store! If you eat out every night, you don't even KNOW how the food is prepared! At least in your kitchen, you can make sure you wash your hands frequently, you wash that produce, heck, you can even decontaminate the boxed food if you wish.
What gets me more than anything is when someone comes into my house, and leaves their shoes on. I do not know where your shoes have been, take them off! It has nothing to do with vaccuming the carpet, or having to mop. It is the germs, and people then putting their feet(With shoes on them!) on my COFFEE table! Ewwww!

Leesa said...

sass: I keep hand sanitizer in my purse, but now I am thinking of getting some kind of wipe.

jef: I know. Just kidding, dear.

kyuball: germs on money. Crap, another fobia for me.

kathi: you know what rats say; "the live in grocery stores because that's where the groceries are!"

rob: okay, talking is nice.

goddess: do you know for most households kitchen sinks are less sanitary than bathroom toilets.

Monica said...

is it possibly to catch OCD? I think you're contagious......

Georgiapeach said...

Girl you know I was untop of the germs on the shopping carts from the begining..lol. I am so finnicky. Good post. Have you ever tried anal sex in a shopping cart?..lol. Me neither.

Mark said...

Leesa -- I can just see your entry title showing up on google. When I first saw it, I thought, how in hell can she put those two things together!! Anyhow. I need to go wash my hands after I come home from the store...

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Gef said...

In the day and age where people are so secretive I really appreciate you sharing your true thoughts.

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