Growing up, no matter the weather, my parents always taught us to return our grocery carts to the corral before leaving the store. On any given trip to the supermarket, however, you can see that not everyone was taught the same lesson, or at the very least they have forgotten. Various scientists have looked into the psychology behind those who do and don’t put their shopping carts in their proper place. This is what they found.
The Psychology Behind Why People Do And Don’t Put Away Their Shopping Carts
Stray shopping carts in a parking lot are pretty normal. It can be pretty frustrating for those looking for a spot to park only to have a cart blocking the only one available. As someone who once worked at a grocery store and occasionally had to retrieve the carts for the coral, I can also confirm that it is just as frustrating, if not more so.
The question remains: Why do some people put their shopping carts away properly while others feel no remorse about leaving them wherever they want to? According to an article on Scientific American, these are the possible reasons why someone might leave their cart where it doesn’t belong (1):
- The receptacle is too far from their car.
- They have a child whom they do not want to leave unattended.
- Poor weather conditions.
- They have a disability that makes this task challenging.
- They think that this is someone else’s job.
- The thought that leaving the cart makes it easier for the next customer to use.
Some of these reasons are valid, some of them less so.
Categories of Cart Users
The researchers also decided to categorize the grocery cart users based on their findings. They found that people tend to fall into one of five categories: