Pet Peeve: Improperly Returned Shopping Carts

Improperly Returned Shopping Carts

Considering this problem appears to be so common and prevalent it’s a wonder why it still happens. It seems to bother almost everyone I know and everyone I see seems irked as well that you would think the problem would have ceased to exist.

Yes, I’m talking about improperly returned shopping carts.

I was at Costco earlier tonight, and in the section of the parking lot I turned in to must have had several shopping carts strewn about in every other parking space.

After some navigating and praying I was thankfully able to find a parking space that didn’t have a shopping cart within its immediate vicinity. There are a few issues/questions that come to mind.

    1. Are people that lazy that they can’t walk the shopping cart a few feet to return it to its proper designated spot? I understand that it’s 5:00-6:00 PM and people want to hurry and get home, but seriously how hard is it?
    2. Since Costco caters to more middle class customers, do these more-well-off-than-most people believe themselves to be above walking with an empty cart to return the shopping cart?

I searched to see if there were some academic papers on the topic of shopping carts, but all that seems to exist are studies on online shopping carts (about online shopping habits). There seems to be a “The Retail Customer Dissatisfaction Study 2006” that highlights some issues that really bother customers (including improperly returned shopping carts), but I’m not paying $1,495 to read it. There are also many articles about shopping cart theft, which ask the question of making shopping carts available as rentals to deter thieves.

Obviously, that’s inconvenient to the shopper, but it might also make the shopper aware of the “financial incentive” of returning the shopping cart to its proper place. I’d like to generalize that improperly returned shopping carts tend to be bigger problems in parking lots that have lots of trees with their own concrete plant boxes, but I’ve seen it also happen in those massive treeless parking lots as well.

[photo via Bad Parking]

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