Why the humble grocery cart teaches us all a lesson

by Paul Devlin

How many time do we see a shopping cart making a break for freedom?. Often it’s there because its previous owner chose not to return it to its corral. The humble shopping cart presents itself as a great example of whether someone will do what is right, without being forced in to it. No one will punish you for not returning it, but doing it will make someone else’s life that wee bit easier.

Another example would be a hotel room. If you’ve ever had to clean a hotel room, I can promise you there are varying degrees of chaos that greet you every time you open a door. Some leave it quite tidy and some leave it as though they lived in it for a month.

In both cases some may argue that in leaving the grocery cart abandoned or leaving a hotel room in complete disarray, that we are creating jobs? Making sure the workers have something to do? Isn’t that after all what we pay for as part of the service?

There is certainly some element of truth to that, but retrieving a cart or spending extra time picking up before cleaning a room, is only adding to the job duties they already have, thus making their job more difficult.

Which brings us back to the humble grocery cart and what to do after it has been emptied? Do we set it free, maybe damaging other cars along the way, or do we take the extra 30 seconds out of our day and return it safely to the corral?

Ultimately, there is no right or wrong answer, only the chance to maybe lighten the load of someone else’s life, who at that moment, may need a break..and isn’t that reason enough?

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