In The Stray Shopping Carts of Eastern North America author Julian Montague has created an elaborate classification system of abandoned shopping carts, accompanied by photographic documentation of actual stray cart sightings. These sightings include bucolically littered locations such as the Niagara River Gorge (where many a cart has been pushed to its untimely death) and mundane settings that look suspiciously like a suburb near you.I don't know how many times in the course of my job so far I have been given occasion to think: Why did they leave it here?! I can understand why someone might want to steal a shopping cart, but some of the places I have found them abandoned just have me flummoxed. Sometimes I think they must have been left there when the nearest grocery was a Food City on the edge of what was then "town," and when the area got developed they just built the neighborhood around it.
Working in the naturalist's tradition, the photographs depict the diversity of the phenomenon and carry a surprising emotional charge; readers inevitably begin to see these carts as human, at times poignant in their abandoned, decrepit state, hilariously incapacitated, or ingeniously co-opted. The result is at once rigorous and absurd, enabling the layperson to identify and classify their own cart spottings based on the situation in which they were found.