I was just emerging from my street on the return trip with the empty cart in tow, when the patrol car slowed, and stopped beside me. The officer eyed me warily, asking what I was doing with the cart. Several answers, in retrospect would have made an embarrasing situation funny - or maybe not.
"I plan on stealing it and using it to transport illegal drugs around the neighborhood."
"I always take this cart; I'm surprised you haven't noticed before."
"I'm homeless and I'm going to raid the trash cans at the park for plastic and aluminum."
"Can I get your name? I'd like to put in a good word for you at the station. I'm awfully glad you're out here checking the neighborhood!"
-and my personal favorite-
"I'm researching attitudes of policemen towards low income society."
He gave me a grudging pass and moved on. It felt a little like when I was a child and everyone else had jumped on the bed, but when I got on, Mom walked in the room.
We want to be thought well of, don't we? Even when all appearance shouts otherwise!
At any rate, I'm going to be a bit less judgmental when spying someone else with a shopping cart.