Shopping Cart Syndrome

shoppingcartWhen you are out shopping this season or just any day picking up groceries, do you return your shopping cart or abandon it in the parking lot?

Or, worse, do you steal the shopping cart, taking it out of the store parking area? It costs us all when shopping carts are stolen and yet people still seem to do this. Not just kids, as some of you will be thinking. I’ve seen adults walking off with shopping carts, taking them home. Maybe it’s cheaper than getting a taxi or the bus home, but it is stealing. Yes, it is. No matter how you justify it, the store did not agree to ‘lend’ you the shopping cart to that extent.

People can get annoyed with abandoned shopping carts. I see them all over the store and the parking lot (and of course, those farther afield). They don’t especially annoy me. At least they are on wheels, you can’t say that about some people who seem to abandon themselves in the way of their fellow shoppers. I have politely edged past a few gawkers who just seemed to lose their mind once in the presence of electronics and other toys. Shopping carts can stack up. What do you call a group of abandoned shopping carts? A gaggle, like geese? They hardly seem to have the intelligence to be a murder, like crows. How about a flock like seagulls or a herd, like cows?

Once you find yourself faced with a flock of shopping carts it’s not so easy to move them aside or somewhat out of your way. They bang and clash together and never head in the same direction at the same time. That can be annoying, especially when you just want to stash your groceries and assorted purchases in the car and get on with your day.

In Ontario we have shopping cart returns. I’ve seen them all across Canada and in the US too. But, in the US they don’t seem as popular. I’ve noticed most people here will return their shopping carts, fairly tidy and organized in their stuck together lineups so the carts don’t wander out again on their own power. Not every time or all the time, but most of the time, Canadians do return the shopping carts. Thank you to all of you! (Around the world, thank you to those who tidy the shopping carts and return them to their little shopping cart shed/ wracks).

I was reading a local flyer which calls the lack of cart return, Shopping Cart Syndrome. I checked online and didn’t find anyone else talking about it by this name. So, I thought, I should post it. You can send a note to BG @ The Perkolator if you want to talk more about this. One thing I will add… sometimes, I don’t return my cart when I am annoyed about having to pay for shopping bags now. I don’t leave my cart where it will bump into parked cars or be in the way of shoppers and people using the parking lot in general. But, I have begun to feel that paying for shopping bags is not right and I don’t always give the store the courtesy of returning the shopping cart.

So, next time you feel annoyed about an unreturned shopping cart, BG and anyone else, it could be a protest about paying for shopping bags. Yes, I could bring my own but this is very inconvenient when one doesn’t have a vehicle to store all these extra things in.

Write about your own experiences and thoughts related to shopping carts. Do you have your own theory about returning the carts?

WikiHow: How to Observe Return Shopping Carts to the Supermarket Month
Random Acts of Kindness Foundation: Return a Shopping Cart
Jerry Begly Super Unleashed: Shopping Cart Syndrome
Raya Pickett: Moral Relativism: Do You Return Your Shopping Cart?
Strocel: Shopping Cart Kerfuffle

Links from Flickr:
The Original Abandoned Shopping Trolley Project
The Stray Shopping Cart Project
Shopping Carts
Trolley Spotting
Sad Cart
Abandoned Trolley Project
Shopping Carts of the Wild
Shopping Cart Hero

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