Thursday, June 13, 2024

Should you return your shopping trolley after using it?

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It’s a debate that’s been raging up and down the virtual aisles of the internet: Should you return your trolley to the supermarket once you’ve finished using it?

Leslie Dobson, a Los Angeles-based clinical and forensic psychologist, shared her answer on Instagram — and it’s trundled into quite the debate online.

“I’m not returning my shopping cart, and you can judge me all you want,” she said in the post, rattling shoppers right across the States.

“I’m not getting my groceries into the 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— off.”

So, do you return your supermarket trolley after using it — or do you leave it beside your car?

And is it the ultimate measure of your moral compass? Doing the right thing when no one’s watching — and there’s no reward.

Clinical psychologist Dougal Sutherland told Seven Sharp he couldn’t pick a “right or wrong” after watching the video.

“What really surprised me was the person’s lack of guilt or remorse or sense that they were doing anything wrong,” he said.

“I get the whole challenge if you’ve got screaming kids and groceries; taking the trolley back is a big thing. But we should probably feel a little bit guilty or embarrassed.”

Sutherland said people tended to care less when they knew no one was watching.

“I think we see that across lots of behaviours. [Such as] ‘I’ll just park in this disabled car park and it’ll be okay’. It’s part of what society does, and it keeps us a little bit in check.

“All of us do things in private that perhaps we wouldn’t do in public.”

Do people who don’t return their trolleys benefit from those who do?

“I think, ultimately, they probably do. One-off situations are understandable, but if you get into the pattern of it… everybody else is doing it. It’s part of living in society.

“We seem to be going against societal rules or norms — what we implicitly sign up for as part of society. And if we all do it, it just goes a little bit better for everybody.”

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