Friday, July 29, 2005

Shopping Carts and the Lazy People Who Use Them

When I was in high school in Sugar Land (a suburb of Houston, Texas), like many others, I worked at a grocery store. I was a sacker, then later a checker. One of the funnest jobs I've had really. Of course one of the duties of the sackers wasn't just to put your groceries into the bag and take them out, but also to collect the carts from the parking lot. At the time, it didn't really bother me that shoppers would go, unload the cart into their car, and then just push the cart onto the grass sections or other areas of the parking lot. No biggie, it gave me something to do. At the time, however, I did not own a car.

As an adult, I don't know if there's anything that bothers me more than people who do this. It is probably my biggest pet peeve. The reason it bothers me so much is because people are super lazy. Most stores place a little section multiple places in the lot where you can place the cart into it, and it has a lip to keep them from rolling back out amongst the parked vehicles. I have watched people who are parked just across the aisle from the cart return areas and still not put the cart there.

It's begun to bother me more recently. We've all heard the stories of the "runaway carts" that invariably put a dent in someone vehicle. My mother-in-law, Linda, had it happen to her at Wal-Mart. Some lazy shopper just couldn't find the time or take the effort required to put the cart away and left in a place that it could roll into Linda's car. She has a nice new Toyota hybrid that she very much loves, but it now has a HUGE dent in the door. Most people love the cars they have. Most people take care of it. The individual who let the cart roll probably has a 2005 Cadillac that they would be very upset to see a scratch on, but don't give another thought to the people who could be affected by their carelessness.

I see people leaving the cart just whereever, but I don't have what it takes to say something to them. I'm certainly not going to leave my ice cream to melt and go gather them up and put them away, either. But I always put my own cart away. If it's a smaller store that doesn't have a cart return gizmo in the lot, I take it in.

Shame on Wal-Mart, too. I can see them saying "Uh, look...we can't be responsible for that." And I agree. However, when Linda talked to the store about it, they actually told her they would take care of the cost. When she told my wife and I this, we couldn't believe. "Kudos for Wal-Mart" I exclaimed. I asked her about it roughly two weeks later and she told me that Wal-Mart changed their mind and were not going to cover the cost. BOO on Wal-Mart! If they had told her no upfront, that's understandable, but to let Linda believe they were going to pay for it, then dash the hopes...well....that's just piss-poor customer service.

The worst part is that you, for something you didn't even have anything to do with, can't really report it to your insurance company because that will just raise your rates. So what happens? You're disgusted every time you go to your car and see the big dent.

All because some lazy, irresponsible, selfish shopper couldn't take 15 seconds to walk the cart to the return area.

PUT YOUR DAMN CART AWAY! Maybe I'll start saying something to people. Maybe I'll politely ask them to put their cart away. Maybe, while they are getting into their car, I'll walk in front of them, grab the cart, scowl and put it where it belongs. Maybe I'll just get angrier. Maybe I won't do anything. But you can bet I'm "ranting" about it here. This is the primary reason I started this blog, so I could complain (out loud) about lazy people and their runaway shopping carts.

- Will Belden
July 29,2005


Sarah said...

I didn't read this, but I saw your high school pic, and I glanced enough to know you worked at a grocery store. You were able to lift a bag of groceries?

Will Belden said...

Of course I could! Sure...I was pretty skinny in high school, I'll grant you that. I could even lift two! :)

Jay2k1 said...

Here in Germany, every supermarket has coin locks on their shopping carts. You have to insert a 1-Euro coin in order to remove it from the aisle, and you can only get that coin back if you reinsert the shopping cart to the others. Simple solution, works great.

Will Belden said...

@Jay2k1: Yeah, I wish they would do that here. I think some stores in the big cities might (like New York City), but I can't remember for certain. They didn't in Chicago, though.