Grocer X: The plight of the shopping cart


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Used, abused, neglected and abandoned; this is the life of shopping cart. Hauling all your items around while you wander from aisle to aisle, it’s the workhorse of your shopping trips. You cherish the cart when you’re in the store; you protect it, you trust it with your children and to handle your food, you rely on it every trip. So what changes when you get to the parking lot? What treachery has come to light that has you abandoning your trusted pack mule on the side of the curb, or wedged in between parking spaces?

You know you’ve done it. You’ve placed your bags in the car, glanced over your shoulders to ensure no passersby or employees bear witness to the coming betrayal, and you’ve turned your back, setting your shopping companion afloat in the sea of parking spaces. It doesn’t even matter if the “cart corral” — or whatever other cutesy name they have — is conveniently located near you or not, you don’t bat an eye, not even a look back in the review mirror.

Left alone and unwanted, shopping carts are forced to face the most extreme weather conditions, scarred by the elements of the seasons with the only hope that their 16 year old shepherds can take a break from bagging groceries and bring them to safety. Their wheels are broken, with bearings rusted-through, and they yearn for a dented frame over the ever-looming threat of kidnapping by the homeless — what a life.

You’re right, ‘it’s someone else’s job’ to bring the carts in from the lot. But their job should only be to bring in the carts from the corrals, not trailblazing through the depths of the property in search for those left behind. On top of bagging groceries, mopping floors, and restocking items to the shelves, organizing a local search party for the missing shopping carts strewn across the parking lot shouldn’t have to be on the daily agenda.

All this is to say that when you’re done with your shopping cart put it where it belongs.

The man behind the apron is Craig Lemley, digital content coordinator here at the Indy. The Colorado Springs native spent nearly a decade working in grocery stores across the Pikes Peak region before retiring his produce knife for a surprisingly less-stressful media career. Follow him on twitter (@_CraigLemley) or send questions/comments to

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