Beware of the run-away shopping cart

Published 8:27 am Monday, April 8, 2013

Sometimes I wonder if some people just plain lazy or maybe their mama didn’t raise ‘em right.

I was on a mission to purchase a few home and garden items just recently from one of our local big box stores. Of course, my visit coincided with the first of the month and it seemed everyone in the county was there at the same location…..with the same idea in mind.

The first obstacle of the day was a line of shopping cart which almost covered the entire front drive of the store. As I began to look for a parking place there were shopping carts left all over the parking lot. Just my luck…most of the carts had found a home in the empty parking spaces.

And wouldn’t you know it, but in most cases the cart return area was only a few feet away.

I just don’t understand why someone would be so inconsiderate to just leave their shopping buggies in a parking spot, or even worse between two spaces without returning it to its proper place.

After finding carts littered across the parking lot, I decided to check out some of the other retailers in our fair town to see if the same problem existed in their parking lots. Sure enough I found the same scenario. Shopping carts here, shopping carts there, and shopping carts everywhere.

There seems to be a total disregard by these lazy folks for other shoppers as well as the merchants that spend thousands of dollars to maintain their carts in working order. It certainly creates a sense of a lack of self-discipline and it appears there is a lack of community pride by those who think it’s okay to leave a cart where it last suited their needs…in other words, at their vehicle after they unloaded their goods. How hard can it be to simply take the cart that is available for your shopping convenience back to the shopping cart return area?

If everyone would take the time to return a shopping cart to the proper location, stores would incur fewer expenses retrieving and replacing lost carts. Lower expenses incurred by the merchant can lower costs to the consumer.

Returning lost or stolen carts also helps clean up the neighborhood as I have seen shopping carts all over town…. left in yards, beside the roads, in ditches, etc. I do believe some folks are convinced these wheeled devices are put out to be their very own private cart.

Every year, millions of shopping carts are left all over the place and abandoned from their store homes. Carts are found on the side of the road, by schools, random driveways, by railroad tracks, and in sewage ditches. All of these missing carts need to be replaced by the store; and with an average of $100 per cart, the money damage can add up.

Some states have formed “the shopping cart police” as a means of returning shopping carts to grocery stores and retailers after they are removed from store property. Surely it hasn’t come to that in our quaint little city has it?

Something to ponder on your next shopping trip.

Joe Cowart is Publisher of Roanoke-Chowan Publications. He can be contacted at or 252-332-7218.