Vs. People Who Leave Their Shopping Carts in the Parking Lot

Posted: May 19, 2011 in Reader's Suggestion
Tags: , , , , , , ,

Here’s the deal.  This week’s reader-suggested topic comes from Mr. Roger Waite…and it’s out of respect for his contribution that I am now resisting the strong urge to make a pun with his last name.

And a strong contribution it is – I mean, why do so many people find it so difficult to return their shopping carts?  And, of course, this leads to the larger question – what is wrong with people?

But that’s far too big of an issue to deal with here.  Let’s just stick with the carts.  Surely we’ve all seen it – a grocery store parking lot where half of the spaces are taken by stray carts, where you have to slowly ease your vehicle in, gently pushing the cart aside with your bumper because some inconsiderate shopper couldn’t spare twenty seconds of their life to put something back where they found it.  Are you with me, people?

Standard shopping cart, picture taken at a Weg...

Image via Wikipedia

 They don’t even have to go back to the store, almost every establishment provides convenient cart corrals, mere feet from your car.  And yet so many patrons choose to let their used carts graze the parking lot like free range cattle.  I just don’t understand.  It takes a unique, yet prevalent, form of oblivious conceit to be able to load up your car and then just randomly leave your cart where it sits, thinking to yourself, “Yeah, I think that’s where the cart goes…right there in the middle of the parking lot.  That should be perfectly convenient for the rest of humanity.”

When the cart served your purposes, you were willing to wheel it all about the store and out to your car.  But the moment you no longer need it, you abandon it like a Sherpa at sea level.  How do you think that makes the cart feel?  Used.  Abused.  Neglected. 

So, how am I going to do it?   How will I help selfish shoppers recall where they got the cart from and how to work their legs, in unison, to walk it back from whence it came?  In Europe, you insert a one dollar coin to receive a cart and you get your dollar back when the cart is returned.  So, apparently, the Europeans are no more trustworthy when it comes to cart returning, but they at least have developed a simple solution to the problem.  I’d like to think it wouldn’t come to that.  I’d like to think that we could all behave like responsible adults and not leave our toys out.  I’d also like a six-figure job and a date with Diane Lane…none of that is likely to happen.

I can’t move to Europe (the commute would be unbearable).  I can’t police the parking lots of America by myself (the commute would be unbearable).  And I can’t get to DC to lobby the politicians to deal with this issue (the commute would be…well, you know).

I can’t even berate people when I see them leave their carts haphazardly strewn about.  Because, unlike them, I actually think about how my actions affect others.  My only idea is a giant magnet.  It could be one guy’s job just to sit at the huge magnet and switch it on from time to time to retrieve these carts.  And how about this – you could build mechanical clamps into the shopping cart handles.  And then, if a shopper is about to abandon their empty cart – the clamps lock the shopper to the cart – the magnet turns on  – and the inconsiderate consumer is magnetically driven across the lot to the cart return area.  That way, they could learn where the carts go and then the magnet could be moved on to the next store.  And the magnet guy could also help these disoriented shoppers find their way back to their automobiles…nah, I say we just leave the people where we found them.

  1. Abbie says:

    This drives me batty!!! I just want to ask people when I see them do it why they are so F’n lazy. Just thinking about it gets me all riled up.

    This was a good one. Well they all are, but this one hit really close to home and my pet peeves. 🙂

  2. angelina says:

    I think they should make carts with electrodes and sensors. When you choose a cart of your likeing ( Cause Lord knows some of them wobble and drive to the left) You would then be hooked up to the cart and when your done with your non wobbly veering to the left cart and you go to return it. It will be able to sense if you are going to leave the cart in the middle of the parking lot and send you a whopping big electric shock. After a while you would learn your lession and return the cart to the proper place.

  3. Elizabeth Dodd says:

    YOU ARE WONDERFUL! I have wanted to throttle people who abandon shopping carts for a long time!
    Not long ago I was returning to my car at Walmart and saw a friend I had previously worked with at the same facility. She just left her cart on the curb beside her car. I stood there with my mouth hanging open–then I snapped!! I did yell at her. She assured me that she “always did that!” I have even seen improperly stored carts get loose in a wind storm and smash into a parked car!
    Another time I did see a wonderful, thoughtful, senior man re-arrange the mangled mass of carts and arrange them into two neat lines–that fit inside the cart corral very easily.
    I have other pet peeves about shopping carts that you might want to touch upon some other blog. Invariably I will get the cart that drives to the left. That way you have to treat the store like a one way street and plan your grocery shopping only in the left-hand direction. Or–my favorite–one who’s wheels go “clang, clang, clang, clang, clang, clang–all over the store. I know everyone is talking behind my back: “There she is over there–oh, oh, she must have forgotten something because she’s going back where she was. Now she’s coming this way!” Or you arrive at the store just after they have restocked the carts after a rain. You KNOW they didn’t wipe those carts down!

    • Makya McBee says:

      Abbie – Always glad to connect, even when it gets people riled up…deep breaths, my friend…perhaps I’ll start a class on Zen shopping

      Angelina – I should have thought of that…when all else fails, always think – electroshock therapy.

      Elizabeth – Now we have two things in common – we’re both irked by the shopping cart issue, and we both think I’m wonderful.

  4. heathersnyder1 says:

    In the Jerry Lewis movie, “It’s Only Money” man-eating lawnmowers chase him down and try to kill him. I think that we should equip shopping carts with this same man-eating power. Each time someone doesn’t corral a shopping cart, the shopping cart comes to life and starts chasing that person around the parking lot.

    • Makya McBee says:

      Same thing happens in the Stephen King short story, The Lawnmower Man – then they made a movie with the same title that had nothing to do with his story. Then he sued the company and they had to change the name of their movie from Stephen King’s The Lawnmower Man to just The Lawnmower Man….wait, what were we talking about?

      • Jennifer says:

        Shopping carts! We’re talking about shopping carts here…focus man…focus! It is similar to Stephen King’s other movie, “Maximum Overdrive” where the machines come to life and start steamrolling people. The steamrolled people turn into Zombies and eat peoples’ brains. Then gigantic sandworms attack Kevin Bacon. Russell Brand is in it, too where he plays a character named “Arthur”. He yells out, “Apocalyptic Future! Malevolent Toaster”. Then Nick Nolte makes Russell Brand marry his daughter.

  5. Jennifer says:

    I did however see Lawnmower Man…was not as funny as Maximum Overdrive!

    • Makya McBee says:

      Spoiler alert – neither one is an intentional comedy. (By the way, Malevolent Toaster is one of my favorite movies this year)

      • Jennifer says:

        I love “Malevolent Toaster”…wait, are we still talking about the movie “Arthur” with Russell Brand? I loved that one, too. We covered so many topics it was like the Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon. Which, might I add, Kevin Bacon is in the previously mentioned Tremors. He was a shopping cart thief. See, everything is in someway connected to Kevin Bacon.

      • Makya McBee says:

        Believe me, I lost track of what we were talking about a long time ago…it’s just turning into a bunch of He Said, She Said – oh my goodness, that’s also a Kevin Bacon movie! This is getting scary.

  6. Brad Abernethy says:

    We don’t have that problem so much here in the South, people here are polite! The parking lots tend to be free of the stray carts.

    • Makya McBee says:

      Hmmmm, I’ve lived in Washington, California, New Mexico, Texas, North Carolina, Virginia and Ohio, I’ve been to 45 of the 50 states, and I’ve seen stray carts across our great nation. Where is this mythical land of the cart returners?

  7. Finally someone who has written about this subject. I usually grab a stray cart when arriving at a grocery store parking lot and take it in with me shopping. When I’m done I put the cart in the cart return. I think that people are so used to having that done that they automatically leave the cart out. Or they think, “It’s the job of the store to have an employee come out and gather up the carts. The nerve of some people!

    • Makya McBee says:

      I forgot to mention that. Without stray cart recyclers such as yourself, eventually all of the carts would end up outside. And what kind of a world would that be? (Actually, it would probably be mostly the same…just with more carts outside…nonetheless, I applaud your efforts).

  8. Roger Waite says:

    Hey, this is great work! Thank you for writing this for me and others who feel the same way about people who abandon their shopping carts.

    Go ahead, it’s alright. You can make a pun with my last name. But, only you Makya McBee are allowed to do that.

  9. roxyhart1973 says:

    I’ve started reading this blog today and it is great. Keep up the good work, absolutely funny.

    I’m glad I’m not the only one who detests discarders of shopping carts. Off with their heads! Oh! Sorry, I got carried away with this one.

  10. Luke says:

    You know, by taking the shopping cart back to the store you are taking away the job of the cart guy. You’ve all seen him, the guy that comes out and gathers the carts and then pushes the cart train back to the store. In today’s economy we need all the jobs we can get. By returning your carts, you are taking food from that persons babys mouth. Good job people, you should be proud.

    • Makya McBee says:

      Luke’s got a point. Any time we can create a mess for someone else to clean up we’re creating jobs…we should litter more, graffiti more, pollute our way out of this recession. If that doesn’t work, we should start committing bigger crimes, creating more police and prison jobs…wait, I’ve got our motto – “Making the world a better place by making the world a worse place.”

  11. I want people who leave their carts in the middle of the aisle while they browse… to die

  12. Anonymous says:

    Hi. I just googled “people who leave their shopping carts” and found your blog. Of course this entry is wayyyyy old but. I just came back from shopping. The woman in the space next to me loaded up her trunk and then pushed the cart into the space the other side of her which was vacant. It was vacant because it was a disabled space. Not able to say anything at all to her (I was fuming) I just gave her a hard stare. Then as she was about to take off I walked around her vehicle so she couldn’t back out and then made sure I walked around it again with her discarded cart.

    PS………I’m from England and there is no payment for the carts there. Because it is something that Is Not Done. It would not be socially acceptable. If I did this in England there would be a lot of hard stares and people probably displaying the same passive aggressive behaviour that I did. France however. They have the coin slots which make you return the cart.

    • Makya McBee says:

      Dear English Person – Nice try. I know you’re not from Britanialand. People over there say “boot,” not “trunk.” Did you also get in an elevator that day? Aha! It’s called a lift, you faker! And, also, bangers and mash!

      Thanks for reading.

  13. I win says:

    I have never returned a shopping cart, I litter and I also smoke. I love that these things make you angry. I have power over you

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