Raise your hand if you’ve recently left your shopping cart in front of, or next to your car - or just anywhere, instead of returning it to the Cart Corral. Maybe none of us reading this has ever done this. Or maybe just once?

Yes, that’s correct, I’m choosing to write my second blog about… Shopping carts. But this shopping cart inconsideration is emblematic of a growing lack of considerate behavior in our society. And I have some ideas on some of the causes of this breakdown in consideration. I’ll get to that in future posts along with recommendations on how any of us can build up our Consideration Muscles through the Mechanics of Consideration and counter the great Debilitating Distraction of our time.

If we stopped to consider the act of returning a shopping cart to the cart corral, there are always at least two parts to this act of consideration (or inconsideration):

  1. We have an excuse. 
    • It’s hot
    • You’re tired
    • It’s cold
    • The kids are screaming
    • Can’t leave the kids in the car alone
    • Your Achilles is killing you
    • It’s waaaaay over there
    • The car’s running and you don’t want to waste gas
    • You’re late
    • Don’t want the ice cream to melt
    • It justify’s the cart-roundup-person’s job and keeps them employed, or…
    • You just plain can’t be bothered
    • Add your own…
  1. There’s no one else who will be affected
    • We either don’t consciously consider anything outside or past our own convenience or immediate goal…
      • “It won’t hurt anyone…” justification
    • We consciously decide that no one else will be bothered by our leaving the cart just where we left it, or…
    • We feel it’s just not a big deal.

Excuses, excuses. Now, returning a shopping cart to it’s place is so pedestrian that not many of us would consider it as a Random Act of Kindness or even a Pay it Forward moment.

So, why wouldn’t we choose to bring the cart back? Any of the excuses made can be mitigated by the simple fact that it would take, literally, Ten Seconds or Less to take that cart back. Walk it out - ten seconds or less. Woe be to us if we don’t have ten seconds in our life to do something - anything.

Consider This: There are a few people who might be affected whether or not you take those ten seconds to bring your cart back. That young or older woman or man who’s pushing that long line of carts through the crowded and busy parking lot might be affected. Probably a lot of pressure on them to get back in and bag or stock. It’s hot. They’re tired. It’s cold. Their Achilles Heel may be killing them. Sound familiar? But let’s make them go to all corners of the lot to round up those carts. Good workout for them, hey?

And that cart you leave waaaay over there where you had to park and walk all that distance to the store? It’s also a very convenient place to be nabbed by someone who may need to carry around their belongings in it. Maybe they really need it anyway, right? But what about the store manager who’s got a responsibility to reign in costs because the hourly rate of employees just went up and those carts are expensive? Now she’s gotta buy more new shopping carts out of her dwindling budget.

Other shoppers like yourself might care. Have you ever tried to pull into a spot where someone’s left the cart in the middle or just where your right front fender would go? If so, you’re probably someone who returns your cart every time. But gosh, look at all those carts so carelessly left all over the lot in the spots you’d like to park! Who’s doing this? There are just too many cart abandonments to believe that the same people who are leaving their carts wherever they want don’t also experience the inconvenience of it. And vice versa.

So many carts, so little time. What about those carts that when first left were stationary, but then chose to make a run for it and ended up cracking your back taillight? Or how about the carts that are up over the front curb with two wheels right next to your car and to back out, you’re going to have to get the cart off the curb without it banging into your front fender?  This also begs the question: Are you going to leave it where it is because you didn’t leave it there in the first place?

To my own chagrin, I HAVE DONE THIS, MYSELF!

Side Note: I have this rule of thumb that I’ve also imposed on my wife that says if you pick anything up off the sidewalk or street to take a look at, you cannot put it back down and leave it. It must be carried off with you to later put in the trash. End Note.

In a large and busy parking lot, this can be a huge problem.

I want you to have a good parking space. I don't want you to have your car damaged by a cart I left unattended or ignored. I want the store manager to make her budget. I want carts to be available to other shoppers when it’s busy. I don’t want those employees to have to work harder because I couldn’t be bothered to take Ten Seconds To Consider how my actions might affect others and my environment.

This is what Consideration is all about - momentarily interrupting your routine flow of activity to really look at a situation or person as they really are. To experience that person; to cultivate empathy; to grow in understanding of your world and your place in it and to improve it. As the Special Forces would call it, becoming mindful or having Situational Awareness of your environment at any given moment not only protects you, it can enrich your life and others’ lives in ways you may not have believed.

That’s what this blog and these articles and posts are about - the premise that most Acts of Consideration take Ten Seconds or Less to instigate and/or carry out.

For now I leave it to you: How have you experienced Conscious Acts of Consideration? Have you stopped to Consider something ending in a positive result? Please share those stories with me!

I would appreciate to no end your considerate Liking, Following, and Sharing of my Ten2Consider Facebook, Blog, and Twitter feeds. Thanks! ~ Daniel J Klein

Daniel J Klein has a passion for consideration, whether it's to directly benefit someone or something, or to improve himself. According to NPS customer satisfaction surveys (Net Promoter Surveys) and management reviews, his almost ten years as one of Apple's top trainers testifies to his level of commitment to helping others in the way *they* need helping. From some recent recommendations: "His integrity is something that can only be matched by the outstanding outcome of your next project." "He is always more than happy to go beyond his job description, never failing to give 110%" "A class guy with a heart of gold, a rare talent to be sure..."

One Thought on “Dude, Where’s My Shopping Cart?”

  • Excellent article! Little things that I do in my daily life could impact other lives without my awareness. Thank you for opening my perception to this concept.

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