You aren't subtracting from a left squiggly when you put a minus in front of it either. It's not that +
in this expression is special cased. Unary +
in Perl is a noop. (Just like unary plus is a noop when doing arithmetic). In the example you give, putting a plus there is just one of the ways to do disambiguations. Putting parenthesis after shift works as well, as well as something else that's essentially a noop (adding an empty string for instance).
I wouldn't call an idiom a Perl oddity - it's not part of the language itself, just an often used construct.
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