Cart Failure: Let’s all do the right thing

We interrupt your grinding of the College World Series to give you a message about shopping carts. Not just any shopping cart; your shopping cart.

Every once in a while, I’m prone to go off the sports reservation (witness the East Texas Smoking Incident of January) and this is one of those times. So if you want an analysis of a pitcher’s backup slider or who has the best rally cap in college baseball, this is not the column for you.

Legendary UCLA basketball coach John Wooden probably didn’t do a whole lot of grocery shopping at Safeway, but his quote of “the true test of a man’s character is what he does when no one is watching” still applies in parking lots all over this great land.

Sure, it’s taken a few decades for it to come into focus for me, but we all need some kind of reminder that we all have it in us somewhere that we can be a good person. But we need something we can do on a repeated basis.

A few years ago, I came across this passage and thought it was nice little nugget. Too bad I didn’t take it to heart at the time. Then it re-appeared a few months ago and it’s almost as if some kind of spiritual conversion has taken place.

“The shopping cart is the ultimate litmus test for whether a person is capable of self-governing.

“To return the shopping cart is an easy, convenient task and one which we all recognize as the correct, appropriate thing to do. To return the shopping cart is objectively right. There are no situations other than dire emergencies in which a person is not able to return their cart.”

(I love those two words — objectively right. Because it is so true in this circumstance. I know it. You know it. The American people know it.)

“Simultaneously, it is not illegal to abandon your shopping cart. Therefore the shopping cart presents itself as the apex example of whether a person will do what is right without being forced to do it.

“No one will punish you for not returning the shopping cart, no one will fine you or kill you for not returning the shopping cart. You gain nothing by returning the shopping cart.”

(And don’t give me the ol’ “it’s raining” or “it’s too far away” line. Suck it up and do the rest of the humanity a solid.)

“You must return the shopping cart out of the goodness of your own heart. You must return the shopping cart because it is the right thing to do. Because it is correct. 

“A person who is unable to do this is no better than an animal, an absolute savage who can only be made to do what is right by threatening them with a law and the force that stands behind it.”

(OK, I agree … that’s a little harsh. I’m not sure some lazy guy in the Brookshire’s parking lot qualifies as a savage.)

“The Shopping Cart is what determines whether a person is a good or bad member of society.”

BOOM! There it is! Right up in your grill!

Trust me, I’m not going to give you the tap if I spot you leaving your cart in the middle of that four-corner spot by your front right tire.

But just think about how much better you will feel if you do the “objectively right” thing.

You’re welcome.

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