Shopping Cart Theory

So, what do you do with your shopping cart when you’re done with it?

Put it in one of those places you are supposed to put them.

(I’ve seen what I assume you are referring to on facebook. Make sure to head off the immediate “disability” and “small children” objections)

Yeah, I am not going to make the leap that every cart left behind in a parking lot was left there by a crappy person. I’ve had newborns in the rain and wasn’t comfortable leaving them alone to return the cart across the parking lot.

I’m also not going to make the leap that most carts left in really inconsiderate places were left there by decent people, either.

Just curious how people answer the question, honestly.

Oh - I agree. I’m actually very sympathetic to the theory. It’s just good to get the obvious objections out of the way at the start.

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Nice people return the cart to the cart corral.

If you use a cart and then leave it anywhere BUT the cart corral, you are a bad person.

Is there a hierarchy? Are people who return the cart inside the store or collect other people’s carts better than the people who just return their own to the corral?


Most trips, I leave it at the door and carry my two bags to my car, 'cause workout!
Some trips I have the Devil’s Cola (Coke Zero) along with two bags, so:

  1. I go to my car;
  2. I unload the cart/load my car;
  3. I shut my car and lock it;
  4. I push the cart either to the closest “return” area or to the empty space in front of my car, because there is no “return” area.

I am usually alone on all these trips, so my preference is not The Rule for everyone.

I could not care less what everyone else does with their carts, as long as they are out of the way, not causing property damage. Grocery store needs to allocate employees to drag those carts back to the store, because if I show up and there are no available carts at the entrance, fuck that place for a few weeks until they get their shit together and I’m going to the next store a quarter mile away, and telling my friends.
Even when I was with my kids when they were young, I’d do the same thing, except add a Step 2B: load the kids in their seats.

If I went to a store with small kids I just parked next to one of returns.

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I had someone the other day going in to the store as I emptied my cart and he offered to take it. I confirmed it was a good cart and gave it to him

Either return to the front of the store or in a cart corral. If shopping with a baby/young kid, I’d park by a cart corral.

I return my cart to the corral 90% of the time and to the store 10% of the time if I got rock star parking in front of the store.

One pet store I shop at occasionally does not have a cart corral. That’s annoying. It’s in a busy parking lot. I return my cart near the door of the store. A lot of people leave their carts in the lot there, which is also annoying but I understand their decision

I always put it in an appropriate place, either the carousal or on the sidewalk near the store

if there’s a return cart place close by I’ll get it there. If not, tough luck, I’m parking it in the spot next to me and getting the eff outa there before anyone sees me.

Have you ever seen Cart Narcs on Youtube?


I always put the cart back in the corral, up by the entrance, or back in pre-COVID times, the quarter swap.

Have left it outside a corral only when the store doesn’t provide a corral anywhere near where I parked. And I parked there only bc the store was busy. So 1% of the time, otherwise in the corral or store.

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Do I get extra credit for adjusting the carts already in the corral so they fit better? I haven’t done that since COVID tho.


Extra notes in my notebook.


I prefer to push it from where I am and see if I can make it nest