We open this week’s article with “The Shopping Cart Theory.” If this is something you’ve already seen and read, feel free to scan and skip ahead. If it’s something that you’ve yet to read, take your time, process and proceed.

Prologue: ”The shopping cart is the ultimate litmus test for whether a person is capable of self-governing. To return the shopping cart is an easy, convenient task and one which we all recognize as the correct, appropriate thing to do. To return the shopping cart is objectively right. There are no situations, other than dire emergencies, in which a person is not able to return their cart. Simultaneously, it is not illegal to abandon your shopping cart. Therefore the shopping cart presents itself as the apex example of whether a person will do what is right without being forced to do it.”

“No one will punish you for not returning the shopping cart, no one will fine you, or kill you for not returning the shopping cart, and you gain nothing by returning the shopping cart. You must return the shopping cart out of the goodness of your own heart. You must return the shopping cart because it is the right thing to do — Because it is correct!”

“A person who is unable to do this is no better than an animal, an absolute savage who can only be made to do what is right by threatening them with a law and the force that stands behind it. The Shopping Cart is what determines whether a person is a good or bad member of society.” – Author unknown. End prologue.

Have you ever taken a pause to observe what someone does with their shopping cart? Does it restore an inkling of your faith in humanity to see them herd their cart into the corral? Do you scoff and form a momentarily negative opinion of those who abandon theirs to the open range? Do you ever notice or even care? Observation and awareness are cornerstones of our social structure. Perhaps you are part of the problem without even obtaining a cart for the rest of us to judge you by?

cartThe shopping cart theory holds true on many levels as a way to determine a person’s moral fiber. However it doesn’t allude to certain variables that should be considered. Return cart = GOOD, abandon cart = BAD. It’s a black or white theorem that fails to acknowledge the grey area above, beyond and in-between. That’s okay though… got my Crayola grey right here.

Is a person who returns multiple carts they find scattered across the lot better than “GOOD” or a kiss-ass? If someone grabs a stray cart on their way in are they GOOD or just an opportunist? (Do we wait and pass judgment pending what they do with the cart when they leave?)

What about people who don’t use a cart? Are they above the laws of “cart theory” or do we assume they’ve a rebellious nature? What if someone has a cart, realizes they don’t need a cart and abandons it on the aisles? Technically the cart has been returned because it never left. So are these people GOOD or just indecisive quitters?

If someone takes 11 items through the 10 items or less lane, is their sin forgiven if they return the cart? What about those who remove the bags and leave the cart on the sidewalk right outside the automatic doors… posers or users?

Is someone who returns a cart to the store GOODER than those who return at the cart corral? Do folks that take rolling aim at the cart corral and miss get GOOD points for effort? What about people who purposely leave the cart beside the corral — should we assume they always do everything half-assed? Let us not exclude those who prop their carts onto the nearest curb. Ten more feet to the coral, you’d have been GOOD, turns out you’re just lazy. What about people who leave their cart in the parking space where they unloaded it? Well, no theory needed here — you’re a self-centered, sole-serving, inconveniencing a-hole!

Lastly — what about people that steal shopping carts? Well, you’re a thief, that’s stealing and according to the precedent created by the shopping cart theory it = eternal damnation!

I welcome almost all questions and comments via FOCUS, or E-mail me directly at [email protected].

Hope to hear from you, until then try and stay focused. See ya!