I know, I know. Just the title of this post probably caused a lot of you to feel some things. This is a HOT topic I see constantly in the form of memes, mom’s group chats and NextDoor complaints.
I know how frustrating it is when you see that lonely shopping cart completely abandoned in the middle of the Target parking lot, or propped up on a curb at Hobby Lobby (WHY DON’T THEY HAVE CART RETURNS?!) or maybe even pressed into the side of a person’s bumper at Walmart.
I’ve been known to think some nasty thoughts about people when I see them just nonchalantly roll their cart away as they are getting into their own car, not giving any consideration to where the shopping cart might end up. I completely understand the frustration behind people not taking the extra 20 seconds to walk their cart back to the cart return.
BUT. I’m a woman. I’m also pregnant. I’m a mother of two small children. I live in the year 2022 where abductions, sex trafficking and crime are unfortunately rampant, and I’m a prime candidate.
There is hardly a day that goes by where I don’t get on Facebook without seeing one of those viral posts about how many women and children were rescued from a trafficking ring or a mom’s group post about a woman and her child who were being followed through a store by strange men. It seems like every day there’s a new trend of leaving notes or weird things on people’s cars as “tags.”
I honestly feel like I live in a very safe city, and I’m pretty good about watching my surroundings. But things still happen in the safest of places. And a lot of things seem to happen in parking lots. So sometimes, if I’m feeling uneasy about a situation, after I hurry my kids into the car and lock the doors while I load the groceries from the back hatch, I leave my shopping cart in the space next to me instead of walking it back to the cart return.
I don’t let the cart roll freely down the parking lot to play pinball against all the other shopper’s cars, but I might prop the front wheels up in a grassy area and hope it doesn’t roll away. And I can assure you that I feel guilty. Every. Single. Time.
I feel guilty for the employee who has to fetch the lonely cart while trying to round up the ones that are already neatly in line. I feel guilty because I know there’s another shopper in the parking lot calling me lazy under their breath.
But unfortunately sometimes you have to sacrifice the way you feel for the safety and well-being of yourself and your children, and that’s what I’m always going to do.
So no, I’m not lazy because I don’t always put the shopping cart back where it’s supposed to go. I’m just a mom trying to keep herself and her babies safe in a world full of unrelenting craziness.