Tag Archives: shopping carts

life with shopping carts.

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in talking with my grandson

about the reason shopping carts are found all over

i told him to think about where he sees them and why that might be

i told him to consider the fact that they are often found

where there are people without transportation or without disposable income

who may have to walk a long distance, have a disability, or take public transportation to get home

most with challenging life circumstances

i told him about

when i moved to family housing here for grad school

with no money, but still one of my favorite times of my life

everyone in debt, in grad school, with families, with limited income

most did not have cars and could not afford taxis

i saw that shopping carts were all around us

 quickly noticed why.

families used them for everything

to move in and out, to move their children, to move their laundry to the common area

to move things to our monthly swap meets, to carry food, to carry things to their car, and on and on…

my youngest daughter lived with me

for a few months before heading off to her university

before long, we were using them

they had come from the local grocery store

 when people would walk home with food for their families

the carts would stay to be used in the community

the grocery store would send a truck once a week

to round them up and take them back to the store

and the next week they would be back

it seemed to be an unwritten understanding

i came to love the custom and used them many times for every imaginable purpose

 understanding why they were so helpful and important to the community.

everyone was just trying to find a way to live their life

to get things done that needed doing

while making the best of their circumstances.

“do what you can with what you have, where you are.”

-theodore ‘teddy’ roosevelt – 26th president of the united states

go, carts!

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Abandoned shopping carts could be a sign of social dysfunction.
Abandoned shopping carts could be a sign of social dysfunction.
The reason some people never return shopping carts, according to science.
On the spectrum of aberrant behavior, leaving a shopping cart in the middle of a parking space doesn’t quite rise to the level of homicide. But poor cart etiquette is nonetheless a breakdown of the social fabric, one in which some consumers express little regard for others by failing to return a cart to its proper place. Why does this happen?

In a piece for Scientific American, Krystal D’Costa examined some plausible reasons why shoppers avoid the cart receptacle. It might be too far from where they parked, they might have a child that makes returning it difficult, the weather might be bad, or they might have physical limitations that make returning it challenging. Alternately, they may simply believe it’s the job of the supermarket or store employee to fetch their used cart.

According to D’Costa, cart returners might be motivated by social pressure—they fear a disapproving glance from others—or precedent. If no other carts have been tossed aside, they don’t want to be first.

People who are goal-driven aren’t necessarily concerned with such factors. Their desire to get home, remain with their child, or stay dry overrides societal guidelines.

Ignoring those norms if a person feels they’re not alone in doing so was examined in a study published in the journal Science in 2008. In the experiment, researchers observed two alleys where bicycles were parked. Both alleys had signs posted prohibiting graffiti. Despite the sign, one of them had markings on the surfaces. Researchers then stuck a flyer to the bicycle handles to see how riders would react. In the alley with graffiti, 69 percent threw it aside or stuck it on another bicycle. In the alley with no graffiti, only 33 percent of the subjects littered. The lesson? People might be more likely to abandon social order if the environment surrounding them is already exhibiting signs of neglect.

In another experiment, researchers performed the flyer trial with a parking lot that had carts organized and carts scattered around at separate times. When carts were everywhere, 58 percent of people left the flyers on the ground compared to 30 percent when the carts were cared for.

Social examples are clearly influential. The more people return carts, the more likely others will do the same. There will, of course, be outliers. Some readers wrote to D’Costa following her first piece to state that they didn’t return carts in order to keep store workers busy and gainfully employed, that the primary function of those staff members is to get the carts back to the store, even though it’s rarely their primary job. Until returning carts becomes universally-accepted behavior, random carts will remain a fixture of parking lots. And Aldi will continue charging a quarter deposit to grab one.

and –

in recent shopping cart returning news:

Meijer employee celebrated for returning millionth cart .

Dave Esch demonstrates returning carts on Wednesday, July 20, 2022, at the Meijer in Grand Ledge. Esch was celebrated for returning his millionth shopping cart as an employee of the store.

Dave Esch demonstrates returning carts on July 20, 2022, at the Meijer in Grand Ledge, MI.
Esch was celebrated for returning his millionth shopping cart as an employee of the store.

“the worst wheel of the cart makes the most noise.”

-benjamin franklin

you never forget.

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how fun it was

to see two very different adults

each alone

riding their shopping carts

through the parking lot

one as I made my way into the store

one as I made my way out

both were full of glee.

 

 

“it’s like learning to ride a unicorn.

you never forget.”

-eoin colfer

 

image credit:carriagetrade.org