Trader Joe’s customer says you shouldn’t return shopping carts

@drlesliedobson/TikTok jetcityimage/Adobe Stock (Licensed)

‘You can judge me all you want’: Trader Joe’s customer says you shouldn’t return shopping carts

‘I will grab your cart and put directly behind your car.’


Brooke Sjoberg


In the sphere of social media, even the most innocuous statements can quickly draw the ire of a large group of people.

Frequently, discussions around politics and even practices like tipping can turn incendiary, as people often have strong, differing opinions about these topics.

One that might have flown under the radar as being controversial for many is returning your shopping cart at the grocery store.

One Trader Joe’s shopper called out other customers who give her dirty looks for not taking her shopping cart back to the cart return located in the parking lot. In her TikTok, @drlesliedobson a psychologist and content creator, says she refuses to leave her children alone in her car long enough to return her shopping cart.

“I’m not returning my shopping cart and you can judge me all you want,” she says in the video. “I’m not getting my groceries into my car, getting my children into the car and then leaving them in the car to go return the cart. So if you’re going to give me a dirty look, f*ck off.”

The Daily Dot has reached out to @drlesliedobson via TikTok direct message regarding the video.

@drlesliedobson #groceryshopping #shoppingcart #traderjoes #protectourchildren #protectourkids #educational #groceries #singlemom #drleslie ♬ original sound – Dr. Leslie

What is the ‘shopping cart theory?’

Some folks have determined that a person’s attitude toward returning their shopping cart after a trip to the store can say a lot about them. Described as the “shopping cart theory,” it is essentially a social litmus test that gauges an individual’s moral character. As previously reported by the Daily Dot, it proposes that a person’s capacity to manage themselves can be determined by whether they choose to return their shopping cart to its proper place or abandon it once it’s served its purpose.

However, shopping carts have been known to present some issues for shoppers who park in shared lots, especially if they are equipped with wheel locks tied to a geolocation system that only allows them to roll freely within a certain radius. Customers who have parked farther than these boundaries allow carts to travel have reported that they either have to leave their groceries long enough to move their car or remove their groceries from the cart altogether.

The video was met with harsh criticism from viewers who strongly disagreed with the poster about her personal shopping cart return policy.

“I have seen carts roll into parked cars just from the wind pushing them so no matter what, I always try to return them,” one commenter wrote. “I don’t want my car banged into, I won’t do it to others inadvertently.”

“One thing I’ve noticed after moving to America recently is that shopping cart return stations are all over the parking lot so never really more than 20 seconds away and you still can’t be bothered?” another said.

“My sister has 5 kids and still puts her cart in the corral,” one commented. “If you’re too lazy to put a cart up, that you got out, then do pick up instead.”

However, other commenters revealed that the poster is not alone in her opinion that there are times when they would rather not return their cart.

“I have the worst trouble with this at Costco,” one commenter wrote. “The return things are ROWS away. I’m not leaving my baby in the car where I can’t see it.”

“All the people saying ‘I always park by the cart corral’ are missing the point at places like Aldi that makes you take the cart back to the front of the building,” another wrote.

“I’ve thought the same thing,” one said. “Even by myself, walking way down away from my car to the cart corral is dangerous these days. I wouldn’t dare if my children with still little either. I’m with you on this.”

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