Shopping cart etiquette

Just put it away

I love to go grocery shopping. There isn’t much that brings me more joy than to drive my cart down the aisles of Meijer and see what I can spend my money on. After my happy excursion through the store, I check out and then take my purchases back to my car. Then, I do what I believe any normal person would: put my cart
in the cart corral.

To me, this seems like normal practice, to put the cart away where it belongs. To a lot of other people, it seems like they don’t believe in using cart corrals and would like to leave their cart wherever they please. It doesn’t take much time out of your day to walk a few parking spaces down and put the cart back. The last time I was at a grocery store, I assure you, I saw no less than 30 carts just hanging out in the parking lot.

It’s not only annoying to see all the lone carts in the parking lot, but it’s also dangerous. People and cars get hit all the time by runaway carts. There have been countless times that I have tried to find a parking spot, turn into one that I believe to be empty, only to find out that it is occupied by a shopping cart. I almost hit it and then get very upset because I have to find a new spot.

Grocery stores are trying to come up with ways to avoid this issue. Aldi makes you pay $0.25 if you want to use a cart and then you get it back
when you return your cart after shopping. Word on the street is that Walmart and other large corporations are engineering self-driving shopping carts that will take you to what you are looking for in the store. After you take your groceries to your car, the cart will drive itself back inside, eliminating the need for cart corrals and lowering the amount of carts left in the parking lot.

Until we get self driving grocery carts, it is someone’s job to get all the carts inside — it isn’t their job to chase after the cart you decided to leave outside the corral. That job must not be very enjoyable as it is; we could make it a little bit easier for them by putting our carts away. So next time you are at the store and notice a cart that isn’t in the corral, grab it and put it away, or better yet, bring it into the store. It’s one less cart for someone to have to push inside later.