Take Your Cart Back.
Imagine you’ve just had a long day at work (some of you actually might have, or worse…you’re about to). I’m talking about one of those loooong mid-week days…an Energizer Bunny kind of day that just keeps going and going and going…and going. And, to top it off you know that you have to get to the grocery store after work. So you fight traffic, and luckily you read Absolute Power because you manage to keep your cool amongst all of the tailgaters, horn honkers, and last minute lane changers cutting everybody off. You pull in to the grocery store parking lot and see a spot right up front, and a quick glance around confirms it’s yours for the taking. You start whipping the car to pull in and….skeert, you slam on the brakes as a perfectly placed shopping cart comes in to view! Shaking your head and gripping the steering wheel you just back out and watch as the cart continues to taunt you.
Look, there’s not a soul out there that hasn’t met the wrath of a shopping cart in one way or another. Whether they’re stealing your parking spot or scratching your car, these things can be worse than waking up two minutes before your alarm goes off. For as long as I can remember, though, I’ve strangely taken pride in making sure I always take my cart back to the store, or at the very least put it in the cart corral (and yeah, I definitely had to Google that). I know it’s weird, but truth be told I just don’t want to be that guy. I don't want to be the cause for someone’s epic heartbreak on a day that they didn’t think could get any worse.
And don’t get me wrong I know there’s people that will say, “What if it’s raining?” or “I’m always in a hurry,” and my personal favorite “It’s not my job!” Never have I subscribed to the idea that it’s someone else’s job. When you think about it: scanning groceries, bagging them, and handing out a receipt is someone’s else's job too, yet with self-checkout lanes it seems we’ve all added this to our resume as a part-time job. Bottom line we all have busy lives, and we all have places to be and people to see. You can't tell me you’re not at your job wishing you could get a little help on one of your projects, or at home wishing your kids helped out more around the house. You want your coworkers, friends, spouse, and kids to open their eyes and think about other people for a change? Make sure your blinders are the first to go! It’s ironic because the people who leave their shopping cart in the parking lot for everyone to hit are usually the same ones in the store complaining that no one works here when they can't find their gluten-free pretzels crisps. There’s no one in the store, because they’re all to busy rescuing your cart from a quarter mile away in the Arby’s parking lot or on some highway median!
Ask yourself why are we so willing to take on a cashier’s role but we can’t find a few seconds to get our cart out of the parking lot? Simple answer: we are self-serving, it’s all about us. When we check ourselves out it’s because we're in a hurry, and when the cart gets left behind it’s because we're not thinking about anybody but ourselves. I have literally watched people take time to look around the parking lot and see if other carts have been left out, then breathe a sigh of relief and feel better about leaving theirs out too. The old “Hey, at least I’m not the only one, right?” You guys know by now I expect more out of people because we are capable of more. There’s a saying that how you do one thing is how you do everything. Honestly, contrary to what you might think, I don’t buy it! I’m not in anyway suggesting that the simple act of taking your cart back is going to make you a better mom, manager, basketball player, or Uber driver. I am suggesting, however, that we start looking outward more instead of inward (and I’m not just talking about carts here people).
Before I upset anyone either, understand it did occur to me that circumstances will arise preventing people from always taking their cart back. I know parents who don’t like leaving their kids in the car, and some people have medical issues making it hard for them to get around. I get it. But there’s a difference between a circumstance and being flat out lazy. So in the spirit of this post when you see those people, don’t hesitate. Think outward and offer them a helping hand.
Take your cart back, take someone else’s cart back, you never know when you’re going to make someone’s horrible Tuesday just a little bit brighter!