The anonymously penned Shopping Cart Theory, the precise origins of which are shrouded in mystery, posits that what you do with your shopping cart in the grocery store parking lot speaks greatly to your personal character. Do you leave it where you parked or do you return it to the cart corral, saving a hapless grocery store employee the time it takes to collect it and protecting others’ cars from damage?
The Shopping Cart Theory has resonated for me for as long as I’ve known about it. As someone who spent the first 5 years after college begrudgingly working in retail, I would say that how people act at all points in the retail experience.
Do you get mad at the cashier at a national chain about a company policy? Asshole.
Do you load your groceries on the belt even though you know the cashier tried to turn off their light and go to break/home? Asshole.
Do you see an expensive item clearly in the wrong spot on the shelf and make a big fuss about getting that $200 electronics items for $3? No, not a savvy shopper, an asshole.
Do you do some rapid0fire change requests with the explicit intent of getting the cashier to give you more change than you should get? Asshole, and technically a criminal.
And yes, when you load up your car and have an empty cart, do you leave it loose in the lot or propped up on a curb? I’m sorry, but asshole again.
Most of the above can be forgiven in rare cases, such as an emergency coming up, but I’ve seen all of these many, many times.
Header image by David Clarke on Unspash