October 18, 2017

What Returning Your Shopping Cart Says About You

By Craig Dacy

I have a pet peeve. You know when you’re at the grocery store and you see shopping carts littered around the parking lot? That drives me insane. My wife knows how I feel about this. She recently shared a meme with me that said that you can’t be successful until you learn to put your shopping cart away. I chuckled at first, but then my mind started to think of how true that meme really was. I realized there are 2 different people in this world; cart returners and cart deserters. Whichever side of the line you stand on says a lot about you.

Disclaimer; this blog post is filled with my opinions. There are obviously exceptions to every rule and you might fall under the grey area. However, if you are one of the many able-bodied people that has no problem leaving your shopping cart in a parking space, you may not appreciate the points I’m about to make. If you also feel compelled to walk your cart back like a decent human being, then read on.

Cart Returners Put Others First

There are hundreds of excuses for someone to leave their cart propped up on a grassy median or left between parking spaces. Maybe they’re in a hurry or it’s raining. Maybe they’re trying to escape the dirty looks they’re getting because their oversized truck is parked across 2 spaces. Whatever the reason is, there is one thing all of these excuses have in common; it’s all about them. When you take the time to return your cart to its receptacle, you’re showing that you care about the employees of the grocery store. You acknowledge that if you don’t put the cart away, someone else will have to do it for you. Basically it shows that you’re not a selfish jerk. Why not take it a step further? If you see a disabled person with a cart, offer to return it for them. It’s all about helping our neighbor. Successful people put others first. Instead of being wrapped up in things that benefit them, they look for ways to help and serve those around them. Zig Ziglar said, “You will get all you want in life if you help enough other people get what they want.”

Cart Returners Are Disciplined

We’ve all been tempted to turn to the dark side, right? Your child is screaming and the nearest cart receptacle is 10 parking spaces away. Can’t I leave the cart here just this once? These are the moments that define us. Will you stand strong or break to temptation? Look on the bright side; that screaming child ensures that everyone will look and see you doing the right thing! Walking the 10 spaces shows you’re disciplined. You’ve committed yourself to a moral standard that you won’t break. Discipline is an attractive quality in people. Employers look for it in their employees and people look for it in their potential mates. They want to know they can trust you to do the right thing no matter what the circumstances.

Cart Returners Are Happier People

I know I’ve addressed it already, but I’ll say it again. Cart deserters are selfish. Selfish people aren’t happy.

You know Ebenezer Scrooge from Charles Dickens’ story A Christmas Carol? Of course you do. Whether you’re picturing the traditional story or the Scrooge McDuck version, you know that Scrooge is only concerned about making money and turns away anyone asking for help. While he is very wealthy, he is miserable and alone (and probably wouldn’t return his cart, either). Giving to others brings happiness into our lives. Whether it’s a big or small gesture, they can make a lasting impact. Focusing only on ourselves gives us a negative outlook on life. We tend to only think about the things we don’t have, the things we want, or the things others have that we wish we had. None of these bring on a spirit of gratitude or contentment. Finding a way to give to others will change your outlook. Giving takes the focus off of yourself and puts it on others. At the end of the day, the only person you can control is you. As infuriating as it is to see a front row parking space blocked by a deserted cart, take comfort in knowing that you still have the upper hand.

To all my cart deserters out there; it’s never too late to make a change. Cart returners are very forgiving and will welcome you to our side with open arms!

Finally, to all my cart returners; there is one last glimmer of hope for you. While the walk to the receptacle may be treacherous, the walk back to your car can be empowering. You did the right thing. Hold your head up high, pump your fist in the air, and consider that walk as your victory lap.

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