Shopping carts in parking lots: Do you return yours?
Photo: JOHN WESSELS/AFP/Getty Images
Photo: JOHN WESSELS/AFP/Getty Images

Be honest: Do you always return shopping carts? 

The parking lot at your local retail store is packed but there seems to be an open space near the front door. As you pull into the space, it’s been taken -- by a shopping cart.

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It’s annoying to see those carts with two wheels up on the curb taking up a prime spot, but are you also guilty of not returning shopping carts to the store or to the receptacles in the parking lot? 

A blogger in Phoenix shared her frustration with the rogue carts. “It shouldn’t bother me to see a rogue cart, but it does. Like ridiculously bothers me,” Erica Jenkins wrote.

According to Scientific American, there are six reasons why people don’t return carts: 

  • The receptacle is too far from where their car is parked;

  • They have a child with them and don't want to leave them unattended;

  • Bad weather;

  • Disability;

  • It’s someone else’s job;

  • Leaving the cart for someone else to use.

The poll also identified five types of returners, Scientific American reported: 

  • Always return -- Rain or shine, the person views it as an obligation;

  • Never return -- It’s the store’s responsibility, not mine;

  • Convenience return -- If the weather is good or the receptacle is close by, then returning a cart is easy;

  • Pressure return -- Guilt comes into play here, as a customer will return a cart if a clerk is nearby or other people are watching;

  • Child-driven return -- Customers have children who view it as a game to return carts.

Scientific American did a follow-up blog post that gave the opinions of store employees. Not surprisingly, they appreciated it when carts are not left abandoned in the parking lot.

So, where do you stand? Do you return carts, or do you kick them to the curb?

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