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The Basket Debate | News, Sports, Jobs


With our country divided on many issues, it seems that something as simple as returning a shopping cart to the corral could spark a debate.

Recently, a dishonest cart hit a friend’s car in a grocery store parking lot. Most likely, the wind blew him from his abandoned location and threw him against the side of his vehicle. But should he have wandered freely or cowered in his assigned place?

I realize that it is considered “somebody’s job” to retrieve the carts. I understand that. It’s also someone’s job to pick up spills, but I don’t deliberately make a mess just because someone cleans up the mishaps.

One excuse I’ve heard for not returning a grocery cart is to make sure people stay employed. As if fighting over carts in the four corners of a parking lot allowed a person to keep a paid job. The wheeled carts still need to be moved from the corral to the shop. Its pretty hard. I find this excuse the hardest to believe.

Sometimes there are reasons why people can’t put their cart away. Perhaps they are handicapped and do their shopping without assistance. They could also have small children in the car and could not park near the store entrance and the cart return carousel.

There is even a “basket theory” via social media that equates the return of a basket with the ability to self-govern. The theory assumes that returning a basket is not necessary, but, barring an emergency, is easy to accomplish. Nor is it illegal to leave it. A person gains nothing by returning the cart (except at Aldi where you get your shift back) but the personal satisfaction of being a good citizen of the grocery cart.

The grocery cart scraped my friend’s car, but she endured it all. I learned from our conversation that it is easier to judge than to be judged.

Perhaps the shopping basket theory should analyze more than our righteousness on shopping basket etiquette and more on helping neighbors help each other? Would it make a difference if we worried less about why carts aren’t put away and focused on helping people in need of services? I am not sure. What do you do with the grocery carts you use?



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