Am I getting old and cranky, or does this piss you off, too?

Since moving to Connecticut five years ago, I’ve gotten used to some things. Liquor stores being called “package stores”, less small talk among strangers, better pizza, and worse Mexican food are a few East vs.West coast differences. Folks drive faster here, merge better than back home, and are much more liberal with their car horns.

There is a common practice here that will never feel right to me. Shopping carts, or carriages as they are called in the Northeast, are frequently left in the middle of parking lots. Like all the damn time. Just yesterday, I saw a woman put her groceries in her car, leave her cart right next to her vehicle, get in and drive away. The cart return was immediately across from her car. It literally could not have been any closer to her parking spot.

Honestly, who thinks that’s okay? This lady did, because she saw me staring, saw me start laughing, and was not at all bothered by someone witnessing her laziness. And listen, I’m lazy. I’m not bagging on lazy, but my brand of lazy doesn’t impact anyone besides my husband and children. Because that’s what family is for…disappointing the ones you love. My lazy isn’t damaging vehicles or wasting parking spots, it’s just leaving laundry in the washing machine too long and scraping together questionable dinner menus.

Last week, I drove into a parking lot that looked like a scene from The Walking Dead. No dead bodies, just abandoned shopping carts all over.

Cart return But Amy, you may say, that’s only three carts. True. Here’s a picture from the other side of my car.

cart return 1See?! Three more! That’s six empty, abandoned shopping carts in a span of eleven parking spaces. It’s madness. Since this is the season of giving, I’d love it if all the non-cart returners would give me the gift of a break, and shuffle their cart on over to the cart corral. Where it belongs.

Now, I don’t want to make assumptions, but I have to guess the folks who aren’t returning carts are the same ones who are moseying in the middle of the parking lot, blocking traffic, moving at the speed of a toddler looking for rocks. Once, I saw two able-bodied women walking so slowly across the parking lot crosswalk, they were passed by a guy on crutches. If they wouldn’t have been laughing and talking, I would have thought they were zombies, they were moving so slowly and without purpose. I am happy to wait for pedestrians to cross, but would love it if they would take it out of neutral when they are blocking traffic.

Tell me, am I being unreasonable? In the back half of my thirties am I becoming intolerant of normal societal behaviors? Is this really a regional issue or am I remembering my Pacific Northwest days with the filter of nostalgia? Or am I only mad because someone mistook my ride for a cart return few weeks ago?

cart return 2

37 thoughts on “Am I getting old and cranky, or does this piss you off, too?

  1. GIRL, do not even get me started on how much I hate this. A couple years ago in the middle of a moonsoon that included golf ball sized hail I pulled over in the far corner of a parking lot to wait it out. BOOM was the next sound I heard as an unattended shopping cart had LITERALLY rolled all the way across the lot and into the back of my minivan. Now I have to count on oversized car magnets to cover the damage. This post rocks the free world, and I burst out laughing at your images!-Ashley

    1. Oooh, that would send me into a Hulk-like rage. Thank goodness for car magnets to hide the proof of other people’s rudeness! I had more pictures, but I didn’t want anyone to know how crazy I am, taking parking lot pictures of unattended carts at every store in town.

  2. Wow. Just wow. That is the height of laziness and, coming from the Midwest, it seems you may have it worse than we do. I don’t think I’ve ever seen SIX carts roving around. Maybe you need to start some kind of community education program because clearly people don’t understand why this is bad behavior.

    1. I wish I were brave enough to say something when I see it happening. As it is, I just cowardly take a picture of the abandoned cart.

  3. Uggggghhhhhh. This makes me so stabby. I hate when just ONE cart is in my way, but SIX? Oh hell no. Of course, I, too, am at the back-end of my 30’s so my opinion really means nothing here.

    1. We need to start an old lady Stitch and Bitch club. We can knit and complain about how the world is going to hell in a handbasket.

        1. You need to be able to complain about simple things, like inappropriate themes on tv and expensive coffee, and we do a cellulite circling hazing, of course.

  4. A couple years ago we moved from Michigan to just outside of Seattle. I was amazed at the differences! In WA, if you put on your blinker, people actually let you over. In MI, people know that’s the universal cue for them to speed up. In MI, a middle finger is used as liberally as someone waving. In MI, people EXPECT you to pull out in front of them while driving down the road. In WA, people expect pedestrians to jut out in front of them or cross the street without even looking. The differences are many.When we went back to MI a few months ago I discovered I’ve completely reverted to the PNW mentality as I almost got hit then was promptly given the middle finger in the Costco parking lot.

  5. This drives me crazy too! I am surprised at how many don’t return their carts I always return my cart to the corral or if they don’t have one (like my CVS or our small town grocery store) I actually walk it back into the store. And I make my kids do it too!

    1. You’re good people, Michelle! I like parking next to the return, but if I can’t, the kids come with me to the cart return. In a few years, I’ll make them return the cart for me. Ah, good times!

  6. If you let some cross, I fully expect a knees to chest run across! I find myself picking up those zombie cart on my way to take mine back because I know it sucks when its your car hit by the damn things!

    1. Right? Pick up the pace, slowpoke! I also often grab an extra cart when I’m returning mine. And I do it full of self-righteous indignation.

    1. I’m certain I’ll get my ass kicked one of these days, or at least run over by a wayward cart. It’s important work though, right?

    1. I’ve lived here so long I’ve forgotten that the rest of the world probably thinks it’s an adult store. Alas, it’s like Costco, only not as good with a hilarious name.

  7. They do it in Iowa too, but I bet if you were to make a graph of the incidences of abandoned shopping carts in Iowa vs where you are it would be considerably higher on the East Coast. Now that’s how I think at 1 am. How bout you?

    But yeah, that pisses me off too.

  8. It isn’t just you – it’s the worst. The WORST! And it isn’t getting any better around here with the snow. I guess people would rather slide through a sea of carts inside their vehicle with the heat on than take two seconds to shuffle over to the cart return.

  9. Oh, I’ve got your back on this one. Especially now, when you should be enjoying the spirit of kindness, you have people that are just out for themselves. A few extra steps, people, a few extra steps!
    Oh, and wait until all the double parkers in front the post office are out…that REALLY gets my goat. No worries about us trying to drive down this here street, I understand you just are running in for a minute and it is Sooooo much more convenient to double park and block traffic “for just a minute” than it would be to find a legal parking space like everyone else….

  10. I live in Miami, FL and NOBODY returns their carts. 6 in 11 spaces! Ha, try 6 in 1 space. I went to a discount liquor store on Sunday and the manager insisted that we leave the cart in our parking spot and he would send someone out to get it since they don’t have a cart return. I never thought about it because it really is second nature to leave my cart in my space, on the grass, in the cart return if there is one, but never back up to the store. Every place I’ve been to down here has a teenager or two who get paid to collect the carts from the lot.

  11. I miss the “best coast” too, for driving and recycling attitudes! I always return my cart, even with kids in tow or now I make them do it, just hate when there are no spots especially in the snow!!!

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