My husband, Tony, and I went to Petco last Saturday. As you can imagine, with now having 6 cats and 4 kittens under our roof, this is not out of the ordinary. Sadly, what also was not out of the ordinary was the number of shopping carts - buggies to us Southerners, from various stores, strewn about the very congested parking lot. There were so many, they stood out like ants on a white picnic blanket.
As I was getting ready to get out of the car, I also noticed two older-looking women getting out of another car. They walked right past 8 different shopping carts, all from the same store, all on their way to that very same store. And before you say anything, at the very least they could have each taken a shopping cart to the store, using it to assist with their balance through the parking lot if need be. Instead, they walked straight past the shopping carts, and more than likely each grabbed a cart once they entered the store.
My blood boiled.
With few exceptions - having small children in a car or a handicap - what is the challenge of returning a cart to where you got it, or in this case, where it belongs? It is such a simple task.
Apparently, the challenge is whether you have integrity or not. There is something used as an ultimate litmus test of this. It is a theory that has been around for years now, called the "Shopping Cart Theory". This theory claims that you can tell whether a person is of good character or not by whether they put their shopping cart away.
According to a post about the Shopping Cart Theory: "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."
Think about that. The only pressure to return the cart is that of societal norms. No one will receive any punishment for not returning the shopping cart. There is no monetary fine and no one will kill you for not returning the shopping cart. On the flip side, you also gain nothing by returning the shopping cart to its rightful place. You must return the shopping cart out of the goodness of your own heart and because it is the right thing to do.
That brings me to my friend the giraffe.
The giraffe is quite a unique-looking creature, in everything from its height to the patterns on its skin. They are the tallest mammals on earth and can grow up to 18 feet tall. Despite their size, they are sweet animals who feel no need to use their size for anything except eating the leaves, berries, and branches from their favorite trees.
Giraffes live harmoniously in social groups. Even males in battle for the affection of a female, fight with gentleness and not aggression. They use their heads and little horns as clubs.
The giraffe has a signature dark very long tongue which is less susceptible to sunburn. Given the environment, it lives in and its use as a food-gathering tool, the giraffe tongue is well equipped for protection against extensive exposure to sunlight.
At one point in time, it was believed that the Giraffe was actually a cross between a camel and a leopard. The camel because a giraffe can drink up to 54 liters of water at a time but go up to 3 weeks without drinking water again. A leopard because of its coloring and its spots. Giraffe spots are as unique as human fingerprints and help to regulate the animal's body temperature. In some African cultures, because of these spots, the giraffe represents distinctiveness and individuality, standing out and expressing your identity with pride.
Just like a person of integrity has nothing to hide and lives an authentic life, the giraffe stands tall and proud without the need to hide anything. It does not feel the need to fit in and is proud to be unique and to stand out from the rest.
So, think hard . . .
Have you ever thought twice about whether or not you would return your shopping cart to where you got it?
What did your gut tell you to do? What did you actually do?
Only you know the truth of it. But if you ever find yourself in contemplation over putting something back where it goes, think of our long-necked friends, raise your energy and act with integrity.
PS - In case you were wondering, yes, my husband and I each grabbed a buggie and returned it to the corral located directly outside Petco on our way in. And, when we were done with our shopping, and emptied our merchandise into our car, I walked from the back end of the parking lot, returned the cart to the corral, and walked back through the parking lot to get into our car. It's not in me to do otherwise.
If it's inside you to leave a shopping cart wherever you feel, maybe you aren't being true to yourself. Consider embracing your uniqueness and all the ways you are different, have a positive inner voice, and trust in the message you want to spread to the world around you.
Need help? Want to chat? Please feel free to reach out to me here.