Friday, June 14, 2024

Viral video sparks debate about shopping cart etiquette

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Returning a shopping cart to the corral when you’re done with it may seem like common courtesy to some – but for others, it’s a chore.

Many are now weighing in on the debate.

A California mom’s recent hot take on shopping cart etiquette has sparked a conversation about what’s the right or wrong thing to do.

“I’m not getting my groceries into my car, getting my children into the car, and then leaving them in the car to go return the cart,” Leslie Dobson said in a TikTok video. “You can judge me all you want.”

The video, posted just over a week ago, already has close to 12 million views. In it, Dobson said she doesn’t return her cart because of safety concerns with her children.

At the Bridgeport Plaza in Waterloo, shoppers had mixed opinions on the matter.

“If it’s within the company’s property, I think its fair game,” said Dante, a Waterloo shopper, who added that stealing it is wrong. But, he explains, if you leave it anywhere else in the lot, it’s the employee’s job to grab it.

CTV News spoke to a Walmart employee in Waterloo, Ont. who doesn’t mind collecting them but said it can get tedious. Almost every night when the store closes, he said there’s about 15 abandoned carts by the bus stop on the other side of the lot. He also sees several left behind in parking spots, which can sometimes cause collisions.

Why return carts

Heather Wdowiak teaches her daughter to roll the cart back when they’re done unloading.

“I don’t want to contribute to environmental pollution and it’s expensive for the grocery stores [to replace them],” Wdowiak explained.

She often sees carts scattered across parking lots and the city. It bothers her, she admits.

“It doesn’t look pleasing.”

Ann Goodale from Waterloo said she always returns her cart because she thinks it’s the right thing to do.

“If you have trouble returning your cart, park [it] closer to the car, don’t park a million miles away,” Goodale added.

Those who don’t return their cart, could be considered lazy by some.

“[It’s] rude,” Goodale said. “I think that we’re just not thinking of other people anymore.”

Shopping cart theory

A few years ago, the “Shopping Cart Theory” circulated online on places like Reddit. It claims you can determine a person’s character based on their cart habits. The theory suggests, if you return your cart you’re a good person and if you ditch it – quite the opposite.

“They’re ignorant. They haven’t been brought up by their mother right,” said Bill Maccoll, a shopper from Kitchener.

Ann Marie Gaudon, a Kitchener psychotherapist, has debunked that theory. She said there’s a lot of factors that go into decision-making, including mental health or physical capabilities.

“There’s just so many reasons why someone may or may not return a cart. But I would never accept that as a judgement of anyone’s moral character,” she added.

Judging someone based on that, she believes, is wrong.

“It’s not healthy at all to place judgment. We all are who we are at the core. We’re all very capable of doing bad things and very capable of doing good things,” Gaudon explained.

Kitchener bylaw

In 2017, the City Of Kitchener approved a Shopping Cart Bylaw. Businesses are required to ensure shopping carts are collected and managed appropriately.

“Any supplier who fails to meet the requirements may be issued an order requiring a written shopping cart management plan that meets the approval of the city and outlines what measures they are taking,” a spokesperson with the city said.

The maximum fine for failing to comply with the bylaw could be $10,000.

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