Is It Impolite Not To Return Your Grocery Cart?

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Such a simple question, but one with surprisingly multiple answers: is it rude not to return your grocery cart to its proper place once you’re done using it? I see this debate pop up from time to time both online and in-person. While I have always been sure to return my grocery cart to the covered cart parking in the parking lot or directly inside the grocery store, I see many others just abandoning their carts all over the place.

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Though it’s easy to see someone leaving their cart out in the open and assume they’re being lazy or rude, maybe this isn’t always the case. Some people argue that there are grocery store employees whose specific jobs are relocating and organizing the carts. With so much of our world now being digitized, some people argue that they leave their carts out so that they are not taking work away from grocery store employees.

Secondly, I’ve seen instances of people with mobility issues or those wrestling grocery bags and screaming toddlers leave their carts out in the parking lot. Sometimes, you just need to do what you need to do, and taking the time to bring your cart back isn’t always an option in the moment. I would never judge these people, and to me, this is a perfectly acceptable reason to leave your cart where it is.

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In my humble opinion, if you have the capacity to bring your grocery cart back to its designated spot once you’re done using it, then you should. Grocery store employees are hardworking and have many jobs to do, so running around cleaning up all of the carts all day long shouldn’t necessarily be something they need to worry about. If you are going to leave your cart out, try not to leave it some place where it’s blocking a car or parking spot. Be respectful, be polite, and try to think of even the smallest ways you can help others to have a better day.