One of my pet peeves is people who leave shopping carts sitting in the parking lot, so that parking spots are often unusable, and the staff of the store ends up spending a lot of time gathering them. I always return my cart either to the storefront or one of the racks provided in the parking lot for that purpose. Sometimes I’m able to get some others that have been left in the lot earlier and return them too. I’m sorry, I’m not trying to impress you with my nobility here - it’s not like it’s a big deal. I just want to establish my own starting point.
This morning, I happened to get up early and go to WalMart. (I rarely shop at all, so the fact that they opened at 7, the fact that I woke up early, and the fact that I needed some “general store” things all came together to dictate my choice of store.) When I left the store and unloaded my cart into my car, I turned to head toward the cart rack. There was a man parked immediately next to the rack. He unloaded his cart and pushed it to the front of his car. I’ve never done anything like this before, but I called out “Hey, you’re only six feet away - can’t you put it in the rack?” pointing at the cart rack so that he knew what I was talking about. He just looked at me, looked at the cart, and said “No” and got in his car and drove away.
I don’t understand him. I can see forgetting, or maybe having trouble with the extra distance - my own foot is in a CAM Walker (like a removable cast - inflamed tendon that seems to be hanging on forever!), so I can understand if someone just felt they couldn’t walk the extra distance. I can even understand someone running so late that they just can’t take the time. But this guy was walking fine, he seemed to be pretty leisurely (and it was about 8 in the morning on a Saturday - most people aren’t rushing at this point!), and if he forgot, well - I reminded him.
I know this is a tiny little thing, but it seems to me to be very symptomatic of a general attitude that is increasingly prevalent in our (American) society - “I’ve got mine, so screw anybody else.” We don’t all have to be Mother Theresa, but societies only survive by virtue of the cooperation of their members. THis sometimes means putting yourself out in a small way in order to save other people inconvenience or extra work. But, hey, I’ve got mine - why should I worry about anyone else?