Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Pet Peeve

I decided to roll the Tuesday Tip into a little lecture on one of my larger pet peeves. Aren't you blessed? I thought so.

Most stores provide a wonderful convenience for our use called a Shopping Cart. This ingenious invention allows us to place items into a secured basket that rolls right along with us as we browse aisles, corral children, and gab with friends. Stores have designed their layouts around these devices, including the provision of specified receptacles built specifically for their housing when they are not in use. These Shopping Cart Returns are placed liberally throughout the parking lots, and along the sidewalks immediately adjacent to the front doors of the store. We pay nothing for this service. We do not rent the carts, pay for their repair, sign them in or out. Nope, the stores generously provide all the administration for the management of their carts simply for our convenience. The one thing they ask is that we return carts to their homes when we are done using them. I don't think this is too much to ask. I find that I am often alone in my conviction, and think that perhaps there is a lack of knowledge regarding this request. Please indulge me while I share what appears to be a misunderstanding between logical economics, and sheer foolishness.

*Stores purchase and maintain carts through profits. When carts are lost, stolen, or damaged as a result of careless use (like when they are left rolling down the street by some miscreant) the cost for replacement or repair cuts into the store's bottom line. Therefore, in order to maintain their profitability stores raise their prices.
*Stores ask customers to help manage their carts so they do not need to hire additional laborers. It takes far fewer workers to collect carts from centrally located receptacles, rather than spending hours wandering around the parking lot picking up carts onsie-twosie every other parking space. This saves them money through a lower overhead of operational costs, which translates to lower prices for us.
*When carts are left outside of their intended return corrals they inevitably cause damage to vehicles in the parking lot. The cost of covering these damages comes out of our pockets.

Is anyone else seeing a theme? Taking care of the carts = savings. But the other point to my irritation is the intangible benefit - things like respect for fellow shoppers. How many times have you been unable to utilize a parking space because it is jammed with shopping carts (which, for reasons I am baffled by, were unable to be returned the 20 ft to the actual cart return). What about coming back to your vehicle only to realize that you can't access your side door because a cart, not present when you arrived, has been wedged between your space and the one next to you? Or, have you ever been detained by a line of shopping carts 50ft long standing motionless while the worker wanders around the parking lot collecting stray carts? These minor irritants wouldn't be so bad, if they were not completely unavoidable!!

So, my Tuesday Tip (on Wednesday) coupled with one of my largest pet peeves is: Return Your Shopping Carts. It saves you money, and it saves my nerves.

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