Erma Bombeck: Why would anyone steal a shopping cart? It’s like stealing a two-year-old.
When you’re leaving a store like Costco and loading up your car with items from your shopping cart, what do you do with the cart when you’re ready to drive away? Do you return it to the cart area? Do you leave it near the side of your car? Do you look for a shopper heading into the store and give them your cart?
Shopping carts are everywhere, and there have been studies done to prove that returning a cart to a corral or receptacle was reflective of their behavior in other situations. Some may measure a person’s character by what they do with shopping carts when they are done with them. Said one observer, “There are a only a few behaviors that cause me to judge people; how they treat service industry workers, how they treat animals, and whether or not they return carts (assuming they don’t have kids that need constant supervision). If I catch a perfectly healthy person that just leaves a cart in the parking lot, I will make a point to call them out on it.” (No comment here about someone appearing to be “perfectly healthy.”)
Really? Did you know that this was a thing? That people will notice what you do at the store before you get into your car to leave? I will make sure to return my cart to either the corral (not if it’s ten spaces away!) or at least leave it out of the way of a parking spot (like in between two spots where each car’s front end would go when the next car pulled into the spot).
I had a shopping cart incident a few weeks ago. I was leaving a store, loading up my car with bags (my own reusable bags and not the plastic ones from the store—I’m not a monster!). When I was done with the cart (and all I wanted to do was get into the air conditioned car!), I moved the cart away from my car and started to drive off. I wasn’t aware that the cart was in the striped zone of a handicapped spot next to me. Someone driving through the parking lot pulled over to me, got out of her car, and very nicely asked me to think about where I’m leaving my cart.
She was absolutely right! I could have walked across the aisle and returned the cart to the corral, but instead I just moved it so my car wouldn’t get dinged. If a handicapped driver pulled in, they likely would not have been able to park in that spot because a cart was preventing them from getting out of their car. So I moved the cart, the other driver thanked me on behalf of her handicapped sister, and we both drove away.
More cart reflections tomorrow!