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jca's avatar

On line at the supermarket and the person in front of you appears to have abandoned their cart at the cashier, leaving it for you to deal with: What would you do?

Asked by jca (36043points) May 27th, 2015

If you were on line at the supermarket and the person in front of you (who was standing in front of their cart), appeared to have abandoned his or her cart, what would you do? Would you say something to them? Would you let them go and push the cart through and beyond the cashier? What would you do?

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44 Answers

janbb's avatar

You mean they emptied their cart and then left it there while they checked out? Depending on the day and my mood, I’d either say something like, “Don’t you need your cart?” or just push it aside or through.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

Well, I said very clearly take your f***ing cart with you. Guess how quiet it got in the store?

geeky_mama's avatar

This happens frequently. I generally just go put it away for the other customer. I’ll stack it with the front of my cart, or if the cashier has a lot to ring – I’ll just go put the cart away or hand it off to another employee at the front to take care of.

Maybe I’m too..OCD. I just want to put it away where it belongs and I don’t really care why they left it there.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

I will go out of my way to accommodate people that need some help, kids, the elderly, but my patience for disrespecting or inconsiderate idiots is gone

ZEPHYRA's avatar

Gently push it to its owner with a sugary sweet smile while my fangs sparkle!

jca's avatar

Here’s what happened and here’s what I did: I was at the store with my daughter and ready to put my stuff up for the cashier. The guy in front of me, about mid-50’s (so not old or infirm that I could see), had his stuff up and it was being rung up. His cart was empty and it was at the beginning of the line (where the candy and magazines are). He was about four feet away from his cart – he was near where you pay. I said “Is this your cart?” He said “Yes, I’m done with it.” I said “well can you not leave it there?” He put his hand up in the air and said “I’ll take care of it, ok?” I said ok. I was thinking wtf? He seemed like he was just going to leave it there.

josie's avatar

I would move it

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

What is the normal procedure at this store? The reason for asking is that out of all the ones that I’ve been to, unless a customer is in the express lane or the self-checkout, the cashier handles moving the cart once emptied. Maybe he is used to that? Or…maybe he isn’t used to grocery shopping and the proper etiquette.

So, nah, I wouldn’t say anything. For all I know his mind is distracted with something more important than maneuvering a grocery cart out of my way.

Coloma's avatar

Hahaha..I JUST had this experience about a month ago.
Super busy late afternoon in the market, every checkout was 3–5 carts deep in line and I got in line behind a basket without it’s person. I waited and waited, and even joked with a women next to me that if the person didn’t return soon they were going to forfeit their place in line. We laughed, she agreed.

We continued to chat for several more minutes until the person checking out in front of the abandoned cart was down to their last couple items being scanned and I said ” well..I’m moving this basket aside” and the women next to me helped move it out of the line.
I had loaded about a half dozen items onto the conveyor when a women came out of nowhere and exclaimed ” Hey, that is MY place!”
I politely said ” You were nowhere around for the last 5 minutes or more and so, sorry, you forfeited your place.”
She came unglued and said ” I was only gone a MINUTE and I can see what kind of person YOU are!” lol

I calmly told her ” No, you were gone for over 5 minutes, the women in front of you was almost done checking out and…this lady here, ( turning to the women I had been chatting with ) and I agreed you have forfeited your place in line.”
She then said ” I can’t believe how RUDE you are!”
I just laughed and said ” maybe you should take your own advice, what’s RUDE is to walk away and leave your basket for minutes on end and then become defensive when somebody moves it aside and takes your place when it is this busy in here today.”
She finally backed off, but seriously, sorry princess the world doesn’t wait for your specialness.”

The women next to me pulled me aside on the way out and said ” Good for you!” lol


Brian1946's avatar


Good on ya, mite! <atrocious Aussie imitation

If I’m in line with a cart and I realize that I forgot something, I take the cart, forfeit my place in line, and go get what I forgot.

Coloma's avatar

@Brian1946 the very least you say to the person behind you ” I forgot something, if I’m not back in a minute feel free to take my place.”
I am very easy going and often tell others to go in front of me if they have a lot less than I do but some people are just so amazingly arrogant. haha

jca's avatar

@Pied_Pfeffer: Around here, your cart is your cart until you leave the store or you abandon it in an aisle or at the front of the store. The only place I’ve been to locally where they cashier takes your cart is Trader Joe’s, and even there they’ll pack your bags and put them in your cart. In this case (last night), it wasn’t an issue of him moving the cart out of my way, as I don’t feel I’m particularly special, it’s more a case of me feeling like the guy felt like it ceased to be his problem, regardless of whether it was a problem or not for others. In the case last night, I would have had to deal with maneuvering his cart and maneuvering my cart, too.

The whole thing was not an enormous problem, but since the guy responded with an attitude, I figured I’d inquire as to what other Jellies might do.

stanleybmanly's avatar

First of all,if the person has abandoned his or her cart, he or she is probably no longer “in front of you”. If the cart’s in the way, you move it aside and get on with your life.

jca's avatar

@stanleybmanly: As I stated, the guy was paying so he was in front of me. We were stuck in the line to pay.

ucme's avatar

Grab the fucker & wheel it to their car, blocking them in.
I’d then place myself in the cart, seated in the lotus position singing “we shall not be moved”
This would satisfy me greatly.

stanleybmanly's avatar

@jca Apologies. I didn’t read beyond the initial question. There are people (and we all know them) who are absent minded or oblivious. It can be fascinating to watch people who aren’t in the habit of shopping navigate a supermarket. Anyway, there’s only one remedy, no matter the cause. Someone has to move the cart. Hopefully the checker is on the ball, but who knows these days?

Aster's avatar

I would not have this problem because an employee would rush up and move it. That’s the way they act in Texas. Very accommodating and well trained.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Um. I think I vaguely remember someone finishing checking out, but leaving the cart in the check out aisle once or twice. I just pushed it out so that it wasn’t in anyone else’s way, and carried on.
I think I once left my cart because I forgot something, told the person behind me I’d be right back, and practically ran through the store so I get “right back.”

Pachy's avatar

Suck it up and push it through. Not worth fretting about.

What I likely would not do is say anything to the person and thereby run the risk of having my head blown off.

majorrich's avatar

Shove it with great vigor hoping to strike the departing moron. ( always the aggressive side of me says that) the other side says push it aside for the bag boys to deal with. They often need the cart.

canidmajor's avatar

Wow. Tough room., but the angry responses seem not to be too unusual. A few months ago I was the cart person. I was distracted, scattered, and waiting for medical test results for my daughter. Was that you, @Adirondackwannabe who snarled “Jesus lady, get your f**king cart out of the way!”?
Thanks so much, it really made me feel better.

Sure, sometimes the person is a jerk. But the person who automatically assumes that is the bigger jerk.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

Glad I could help.

dappled_leaves's avatar

Unless this is happening right at the cash, I’d push it back out of the line, then tell the cashier about it. I wouldn’t push it forward with me. It wouldn’t inconvenience anyone greatly. This doesn’t really seem like a big deal to me.

Aethelwine's avatar

Not a big deal for me. I just move it out of the way.

@jca it’s possible you came across as rude, that’s why he reacted the way he did.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

The light is dawning. This was in a line where the customer self-loads the items onto a conveyor belt, they are rung up, and either an employee or the customer bags them. If this is the case, then yes, the customer shouldn’t have left the cart behind. It blocks the flow for the next customer, thus creating additional work. Is this correct?

janbb's avatar

@Pied_Pfeffer Yeah. How is done where you live?

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

@janbb There are three different lines:
1. Self-checkout. The shopper handles everything with the use of a machine.
2. Express checkout, meaning 10–15 items or less. In this case, it is what I described above.
3. More than 15 items: the cashier controls the cart and its items. Once rung up, the cart is pushed around the cashier towards the bagging area. The cart is either used for the customer being rung up or the next customer.

jca's avatar

This was a line where the customer self loads the items onto the belt and either the customer or employee bags them. Then the customer takes the cart and puts the bags in the cart and walks out. Yes, the man was blocking the flow for me, as I said, I had my own cart to deal with and then I would have had his, too.

Kardamom's avatar

@jca The last time I had this problem, a few weeks ago, the asshat was yakking away on his cellphone and it was rather crowded and noisy in the store. I had planned to ask him if it was his cart and would he mind moving it forward, but I was about 5 or 6 feet from him and there was no way he would have heard me unless I yelled at him. This is also one of those kind of stores where the customer has to push his own cart through the line. The cashier would not even be able to reach it from where they are standing. When this has happened before, I have politely asked the person if it was his/her cart and at that point they usually grudgingly move their cart through the line, but only after prompting. I always wonder what in the world they are thinking. How would they expect anyone else to get through the line.

I have also come upon lines where some other ding bat has already gone through the line, left their cart in the way, and left the store. At that point, the only thing you can do, is back your cart up and move their cart out of the way, usually into the aisle. If you try to move it forward, it’s going to end up in the aisle in front of the registers where other people are trying to exit the store.

It would be nice if they could simply put up a sign that reads: please move your cart forward through the line after removing your items. Sometimes you literally have to spell it out for people. They should have another sign that says: Get the H*ll Off the Phone While You’re In Line or at the Cash Register You Moron and Pay Attention to What You’re Doing No One Wants to Hear Your Family Drama Play Out in the Grocery Store!

jca's avatar

@Kardamom: Agree with you on all your points, sister. You’d think it would be common sense.

dappled_leaves's avatar

@jca Oh, if the empty cart is abandoned after the items are purchased, then yeah, that customer is being a bit of a jerk. But rather than make a scene, I’d just push it out in front of me. It’s just not that hard.

@Kardamom I don’t think extra signs are needed for this… everyone knows what to do, and the odd person who doesn’t do it is not going to improve their behaviour by reading signs. Either they are being inconsiderate, or they have genuinely forgotten the cart, which means they don’t need to “learn” how to do it properly.

jca's avatar

I don’t think I made a scene. I asked him to move his cart.

dappled_leaves's avatar

@jca No, I wasn’t suggesting that you had – I was answering in a more general sense.

Aethelwine's avatar

@jca No, you told him he can’t leave it there. You didn’t ask. (that’s how it came across to me) Being told feels like a scolding. Asking is more polite. imo

jca's avatar

@jonsblond: (I forgot that I did say please when I wrote out my q details above) I said to him “well can you please not leave it there?” To me, that’s asking.

Aethelwine's avatar

Please does make a difference. I just wonder if your irritation didn’t come through when you asked.

“well can you please not leave it there?”


“can you move it please?”

(either way you are making a demand)

Which sound more pleasant? The use of not makes a difference. I’m nitpicking, but so are you.

Aethelwine's avatar

How long does it take to move a cart that’s in your way? That’s all that I’m wondering. There are worse things to get irritated about.

jca's avatar

There are definitely worse things to get irritated about. I guess in this situation I felt (and still do feel) that him doing what he did was disrespectful. It would be like me leaving my cart behind someone’s car so they first had to move it in order to get out of their parking spot. Yes, that would only take them a minute to move, but it would be disrespectful of me to do that.

Some agree, some don’t agree. Very interesting discussion and thoughts presented.

Dutchess_III's avatar

The lack of manners seems to be escalating now a days, and that irritates me.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

@jca, I guess where I’m hung up on agreeing with you is that there is no way to know whether the guy knew what the proper etiquette is. Maybe he does and his mind was elsewhere. Maybe he thought that he was still okay since he hadn’t officially left the lane yet. I certainly wouldn’t jump to any conclusion.

As for how you called him out on it, I have to agree with @jonsblond. You knew it was his cart. It was addressed in a public forum, even if it was only the cashier who overheard the exchange. “Well can you please not leave it there?” To me, that’s asking. That is asking, but no matter how sugar-coated it comes out, there is the implied ‘You dummy’ or ‘Inconsiderate dolt’ silently implied.

In regards to leaving a shopping cart in the parking lot, aren’t you the one who felt that it was okay to not return it to a designated cart corral because you had a young child with you? I can’t find that thread, so please correct me if this wasn’t the case.

Kardamom's avatar

Unless the person had some kind of a mental incapacity, I can’t believe that he didn’t know the proper etiquette for what to do with his cart. It’s pretty clear from either side of the register, or from either side of the cart, that if the person who is in possession of a cart doesn’t move it through the line, the next person can’t get to the register. If the next person has to move it, they really can’t simply push it out of the way (behind them) because then it will be in the way of the person behind them, or simply blocking the aisle. If they push it forward, it will be in the aisle in the way of the people trying to exit the store, because you aren’t going to wheel both carts out to your car.

I’ve seen these people plenty of times, and unfortunately, sometimes they have to be called out on it. They’re the same people who take their cart into a grocery aisle and turn it sideways, blocking the whole aisle. Why do they do that? Because it’s more convenient for them to have their cart that way so that no one else will get in their way. They’re the same people that walk up and down the line yakking loudly on their cell phones so that they can be heard 3 aisles away. It’s convenient for them to have their loud conversation with their family, because it feels like being at home to them, other people in the store are just an inconvenience to them. These are the same people that put their one item on the conveyor belt, and don’t move it forward, even though the person behind them has a heavy hand basket full of groceries that could easily fit on the conveyor belt if the person in front of them simply moved up 2 feet.

I’m one of those people that if I’m in a store and I see someone who needs help, like an elderly person or a disabled person, or a parent who has a full cart of groceries and a fussy kid, I’ll offer to help them, but it grinds my gears when I see a fully grown, young, fit person who decides that his/her time is more valuable than everyone else’s and acts entitled. These are the same people that take their 25 items through the 10 item express lanes because they’re in a hurry.

I’da been OK, and probably would have said, “Good on ya, girlfriend!” If @jca had actually raised her voice at the offender. I’m sure she didn’t, but even if she had, some people need to be called out.

And yes, signs sometimes are necessary. Why do you think they have a sign at drive-thru windows at McDonald’s that say Pull Forward to Next Window to Pay? Because if they didn’t, some people would sit at the microphone order box, not budging an inch.

dappled_leaves's avatar

@Kardamom Both from your latest post:

“Unless the person had some kind of a mental incapacity, I can’t believe that he didn’t know the proper etiquette for what to do with his cart.”

“And yes, signs sometimes are necessary.”

I’m agreeing with the first of these statements. ;)

If we put up a sign for every tiny thing we expect people to do, we will be awash in signs and everyone will ignore them. I say save the signs for the things that are not so obvious.

jca's avatar

@Pied_Pfeffer: Good memory! Yes, I was one who said it was ok not to return cart to corral when I had a young child with me. I was just looking for that q myself to link here but could not find it. I used search terms like shopping cart and parking lot. Yes, but I would not leave cart behind someone’s car. I would pick front wheels up and put cart onto the island or over the curb, not leaving it blocking someone’s car and inconveniencing him. I still agree with that and would give a mother or someone with a young child a pass on that and on many things.

Save the signs for the things that are not so obvious. Yes, you’d think not blocking the next shopper with your abandoned cart would be obvious.

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