What we do with them says a lot about us

Do you mind if I ask you a personal question about your shopping cart?

Are you a comeback? Are you a never returned? Or are you a convenient return?

I want you to carefully consider your answer and be honest. What you say can tell more about you than you think.

It seems like basic courtesy to others. You get a cart, you use it for shopping, you bring it to your vehicle, and then you put your cart back in the right place for others to use. And yet, it is not uncommon for many people to ignore the cart receptacle completely and leave their carts next to their cars or haphazardly parked on medians. I don’t name names, but you know who you are. Why?

According to shopping cart theory, if you return your cart at the market entrance or in the designated basket collection area after shopping, you are a good person. After all, doing this task requires little effort and benefits others. When you safely store or return a cart, it will not occupy parking spaces, pose no danger to buyers entering the parking lot or riding in cars.

According to Scientific American magazine, there are several reasons (I’m less scientific so I’ll just call them excuses) that people don’t return their carts, including the weather may be bad or the cart collection area may being too far from their car.

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Many parents say they don’t want to leave their children unattended in the car just to bring a basket back, and some shoppers point out that they have disabilities or mobility issues that make it more difficult to return the basket. First of all, your child will be fine for 30 seconds – don’t leave the car running – or take them with you on the trip home. And for people with disabilities, ask someone to drop off your cart in a collection area.

I like people who are considering leaving their carts behind as a benevolent gesture. They say this will ensure job security for the carts employed in the store, or could even lead to more jobs being created (the idea being that if a supermarket or store has unattended carts all over the place. their parking lots, they will have to hire more workers to fix the problem). It is very magnanimous. Like deliberately throwing your trash everywhere so that more people are hired to clean it up. But in the meantime, there are bins and shopping carts everywhere. What, you don’t believe me?

In 2008, Science magazine published a study called “The Spread of the Disorder” which tested the thesis that signs of trouble trigger more disorders. The researchers went to a parking lot that served a supermarket and a gym. In one scenario, four carts were scattered around the garage and in another, all the carts were in the receptacles. Researchers left flyers on car windows in the garage and, you guessed it, 58% of participants threw their flyers on the floor when there were shopping carts everywhere, compared to 30% when all the carts were in. collection media.

The world probably won’t stop because we don’t return our shopping carts. But this is an example of a quality of life issue that we can control. This guy who didn’t return his cart might not be a complete jerk. He may just be using the example given by others so he can get home a little faster. But if everyone does this, then we change the balance of what is acceptable, which may have greater ramifications for the social order. We have more influence over seemingly mundane situations than we realize.

The main point is that we all need to look around and think about not only ourselves and our comfort, but also that of others.

And if that doesn’t work, think about how it would feel if a cart hit your vehicle, creating a dent and leaving a long scratch on the side. Think about the hundreds that will cost you. Just because someone didn’t care, had kids with them, or thought it was just too hard to give it back.

barrylewisthr@gmail.com


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Peggy P. Gilmore

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