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How true is the Shopping Cart Theory?

Have you ever not put away your shopping cart? If this applies to you, congratulations, you are a foul member of society who acts no differently than a dog without a master. Happy shopping!

You may have seen this image go viral last year.

It’s an awesome simulation in which you can sniff out the good and evil amongst everyday people at a common place where everyone eventually needs to visit at some point: the grocery store.

In short, the theory acts as a post-shopping test and assesses whether or not someone will go the extra mile and put their grocery cart away in the local cart barn, which are in plentiful (and convenient) amounts in any given grocery store parking lot. Despite these notions, there is still a healthy portion of the American population who just launch their carts in the direction of ‘far away’ after they finish using it.

The test is simple. If you are the type of person who seeks out a cart barn after you are finished using your cart, congratulations, you are a responsible member of civil society as well as capable of governing yourself. You do what is objectively right without being asked. Your moral compass is perfectly intact. If you do not put your cart away properly, such as pretending that your cart is Free Willy and sending him off to roam the streets… then you are not a good member of society and you cannot be left free to govern yourself unless some menacing law enforces you to do so. 

Woah, hold your horses. An action as simple as putting or not putting a cart away determines whether you can be a civil member of democratic society. That’s a little absurd. 

Or is it?

The reason this theory went viral on social media was due to the nature of the act itself; the act of not returning a shopping cart and its metaphorical meaning. It’s not illegal to let the cart roam free in the parking lot. This action represents your civic duty; the will to be responsible without being asked or enforced to do so. If a law needs to be made that legally binds you to return the carts, then you are not a functioning member in our society as you rely on brute force to get you to follow the rules rather than allowing your morality to guide you to make responsible decisions. This is the theory at least.

It could be a bit of a stretch.

Perhaps it’s not exactly a crystal ball in seeking out the most civil members in society. After all, it is just a shopping cart and not exactly comparable to more serious situations in society. I’d say Jason Bourne was a good person and wished to be civil, but I guarantee you he did not stop for even one second to put that shopping cart away. That dude was always on the run. Sometimes returning the cart to it’s natural spot is just not an option. 

This test, however, is a perfect measuring tool to determine how much of a dick someone is. Saying “tah tah” as you kiss your cart goodbye and toss it into another realm is one of the biggest dick moves you could do. Why? Because some poor soul who’s making minimum wage has to stay after work and go track down that ‘missing’ cart, such a cart that was only deemed missing because you and your obnoxious ego simply could not process the action of putting the cart away yourself.

Unless you are Jason Bourne, who is literally an innocent man running from everyone, put away your god damn cart.

What do you think?

Written by Henry Marken

I lost my pinky finger at age 4, but then found it again at a soup kitchen when I was 15. Survivor of a wild turkey attack (2008). I went to the University of Phoenix before it was cool to do college online. Currently in a lawsuit with Crayola after a devastating purple crayon incident.

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