Dear Shoppers, Please Put Your Damn Cart Away

I've had a lot on my mind lately, including but not limited to:

  • Giving up dairy
  • Our responsibility to the "weak" (the elderly, the disabled, animals)
  • House hunting
  • Speaking and writing

But all of the above thoughts pale in comparison to my recent anger at the ridiculous amount of lone carts left in the parking lot of a local shopping center, partially blocking spaces, nestling up close to bumpers, and generally being in the effing way.

Might I add that this shopping center is by no means a large one?  That is, shoppers can't even use the excuse that the front of the store is too far away.  The damn cart in the parking lot is a direct result of laziness.

But you know?  I don't really want to write a whole tirade on laziness, because lord knows I didn't clean my living area this weekend because there were re-runs of The Real Housewives of New Jersey on and I don't want to be all pot/kettle/black on that point.  But it has occurred to me that perhaps most shoppers are not aware of the issues that rogue carts in the parking lot can cause.  Here's just a few of the issues:

Shopping carts cost you money

Where do you think companies get the money to purchase shopping carts?  Why, it's built into the price of their products!  So if you'd really like the price of products go up, by all means, leave your damn cart out in the lot where it can get damaged, lost, or stolen. 

Parking lots cost you money

In 1996, a survey revealed that the average operating cost per commercial parking  space is $500...PER YEAR.  That's just for the freaking space...and that survey was done in 1996, when people still thought it was cool to wear bodysuits.  GUESS WHERE THAT MONEY COMES FROM?  Yup, you got it...it's (mostly) built into the price of the products (sometimes it costs your city money, if they're the ones who originally developed the property.  Parking lots can be paid for in part by your taxes, too.  AWESOME).  Again, if you'd like to cost of your products (or your taxes) to go up, then please, please, leave your damn carts all over the place.

Oh, and here's a quote to drive it home:

There's just one problem: parking isn't free. In fact..."the cost of all parking spaces in the U.S. exceeds the value of all cars and may even exceed the value of all roads." Parking costs billions of dollars a year.

Damage to other people's vehicles caused by shopping carts costs you money

So, let's say you leave your shopping cart in the lot for whatever reason--the corral is too far away, you're sick, your kid is screaming, your double latte is steaming and calling to your caffeine deprived brain, "Drink me!  Drink me!  I'm a delicious legally addictive stimulant!"--and think to yourself, "Oh it's way out here, nothing will happen!" 

WRONG.

Your little shopping cart then gets a free ride courtesy of a beautiful summer breeze, and rams right into the side of Mr. I-Once-Sued-McDonald's-Because-My-Egg-McMuffin-Wasn't-Actually-Scottish's car.  He sues the damn store over your damn cart and the store has to pay out a damn settlement.  Uh-oh!  Guess where the company ultimately gets THAT money?  Hm?  HMMM??

No, NOT from Santa Claus!  That is where you are mistaken!  Haha!  So silly!  In reality, the money actually will be built in to the cost of the company's products.  CRAZY TIMES.

***

But look, all education and snarky comments aside, wouldn't it just be nice of you to put your cart away?  Seriously, it's courteous for us all to pitch in to keep a shared, communal space clean and habitable and ready for the next time we--which includes our mothers, elderly grandparents, kids, siblings and friends--visit. 

My dad was always a great example of this concept to our family, and still regularly grabs two rogue carts out of the parking lot and ushers them to the corral or the storefront to get them out of the way.  It's easy, he's already on his way in, and his nice gesture actually saves you money.

Let's all save each other a little money.  Let's all be nice to a stranger.  Putting your damn cart away is literally something you can feel good about. It's the Right Thing to do.  And even if you screw up the rest of your day, you can at least say you did ONE Right Thing between breakfast and dinner.  And that's good shit, I don't care what anyone else says.

And now, back to pontificating ridding my life of dairy.  Seacrest, out.

PS--Clearly, when I say "you" I don't mean "YOU-you"...unless you do indeed leave your damn cart out, in which case, I really do mean "YOU-you" when I say "you."