Strewn about

In 1937, Sylvan Goldman invented the shopping cart, which someone probably left in the parking lot:

For many years I have used every platform and every tool at my disposal to fight against the terrorists who leave their shopping carts chaotically strewn about the surface of the Earth. Every time I drive into a supermarket parking lot these days it looks like 9,000 people were raptured into heaven right as they put their last grocery bag in the trunk. Or maybe they’re all bomb technicians and they had to go diffuse explosives somewhere. Or maybe they’re Batman. Yes, maybe they saw the Bat Signal and had to go find the Penguin and foil another of his dastardly plots. They must be SOMETHING important if they couldn’t carve out the requisite half-minute to shuttle those cart back from whence they came.

Or, or, or maybe they’re just lazy.

There are exactly two ways to deal with this. One of them is used by the German discount chain Aldi: charge you a nominal sum for the cart, which is refunded when you return it to the proper location.

The other is a bit harder to pull off: it requires (1) a store with a marginal cart supply and (2) a weekend when EBT cards and such are recharged. If there are no carts waiting at the door, people can, and occasionally will, fetch them from the lot themselves. (Hard as this may be to believe, I have actually seen it happen.)


  1. McGehee »

    15 November 2013 · 6:34 am

    A large Publix near the previous Castle McGehee has those parking lot corrals for the shopping carts, but they’re unevenly distributed. If you park near the door that brings you in at the deli/bakery end of the store, you’ll need to have a store employee help you with your purchases because otherwise your choices will be to run the cart all the way back into the store, take it across several aisles to the nearest corral, or leave it in the parking lot.

    I once remarked on the corral placement to a store employee and he agreed there needed to be more of them, better distributed in the lot — but he doesn’t seem to have had any clout with management.

  2. fillyjonk »

    15 November 2013 · 7:17 am

    I’m willing to forgive ones left near the handicapped parking…if you have a hard time walking (or rolling) from place to place, you may not want to expend the extra energy to get a cart back to the corral.

    The ones that bug me? The ones left in the front of a “regular” space, so if you want to park in it (often the only open space within a mile of the store), you either have to get out and move the cart first, or risk damaging your car or the one parked facing you. This is especially infuriating when a cart corral is only 15 feet or so away.

    The Kroger’s nearest me has a really stupid set up – they have two cart corrals for the entire lot and both are near the front door. So if you wind up parking in BFE as I often do on busy days, you have to walk back up through the lot to put your cart away. (And I do. That’s how my parents raised me.)

    All that said? I’d happily put up with the carts strewn about if people could just stop leaving soiled diapers in the parking lot. That’s disgusting and could spread disease if the child has Norovirus or something.

  3. SnoopyTheGoon »

    17 November 2013 · 9:40 am

    “One of them is used by the German discount chain Aldi: charge you a nominal sum for the cart…”

    Some supermarkets here used it for a while, then someone invented key holders with a coin-sized piece of metal that fits the cart’s coin receptor…

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