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Coulee Medical Center ER and Walk-In Care

By Jesse Utz 

Shopping cart roundups

Jess Shut Up


Do you ever wonder how all those shopping carts outside a store find their way back inside for the next customer to use? Kind of an amazing process when you think about it. Some shopper leaves the cart to aimlessly fend for itself, and then, as if an actual modern-day miracle happens, they are right there, waiting for them, in the store the next time they come shopping. A shopping cart vortex that rounds up all the lost and forgotten shopping wagons and returns them home for you.

All joking aside, I have noticed a trend lately. Maybe this comes from my past days as a box boy, but recently I have noticed that very few people return the carts to the store. I can kind of understand if you’re an elderly person or physically unable, but I see perfectly able people just giving the cart a shove onto the sidewalk and walking away. Is this a sign of our society? Leaving this little inconvenience for someone else to deal with. The word we are looking for is lazy. So the real question is, “Is our current society lazy?”

OK, big stores have cart roundup areas that we can push the carts to safely, and they will be rounded up by a very experienced employee who will drive 20 or more carts home at a time. The problem is in our local smaller stores. Harvest Foods does not have this problem because they value their little carts so much that they require an employee to stay with their wagons and return them themselves to the safety of the store. OK, I know it is more of a car safety thing than a cart thing but stay with me; plus, it is a pretty big customer service benefit.

At the other store (you know, the one we are always complaining about not having enough checkers or employees when we need them most) on any given day you can see at least five or six carts dotting the sidewalk. Sometimes even blocking the entire path. Now, we know that they are already shorthanded, for whatever reason, so we as customers leave these carts out instead of returning them and what does that cause? Well, it causes a valued employee to leave the shopping area and go outside to “round up carts.” Even having to cross the highway on occasions to bring carts back. I have even seen carts blocks away from the store at times. (Yes, I know parking is a problem too, but come on, man.) Are we really in such a hurry that we must leave this steel cart sitting where obviously no one else will be able to use it until a store employee, making minimum wage, must pull themselves away from other important duties to do it for you? Or leave it until the next customer comes and does the right thing and pushes the cart back themselves.

To be fair, I have seen people just arriving at the store and pushing three of four carts inside as they go. (I am certain they are former box boys or girls, too). So here we go. A challenge. Let’s not be this lazy anymore. When we return our cart or we even return others carts we are not only telling the store that we value what they do but we are telling our community that we are not “that lazy.”

I know what you’re thinking. We have many tourists that come through our area too, they are the ones leaving the carts everywhere. But you and I both know that is not entirely true. I have seen the local leave the lonely cart out there more than the visitor. Even if that was true, this is our town, we can do the right thing, regardless. So I challenge you, return the cart home, inside the safety of the store. Be a cowboy or woman of sorts. Round up those little doggies and drive them back to the shopping pen. I’m just saying.

Also, an update on the “Hero’s Wall.” One local business responded, Coulee Internet Services, and they are willing to provide the space, as of Monday. I am currently gathering names, so if you have names of currently serving soldiers or active reserves, let me know at The Star.

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