Cart attack

It’s been a while since I stepped up on my soapbox and preached about the evils of grocery cart abuse, but I think it’s high-time I jump on up there, get a chorus behind me and sing the gospel of – RESPONSIBILITY!

As many of you know, I have for years been the foremost leader in promoting grocery cart responsibility. Leaving a cart loose in a grocery store parking lot is akin to treason, only you have betrayed not your country, but all of mankind. Anyone who has started to pull into a parking spot only to find – after you have committed to the turn – an abandoned cart sitting there all alone knows what I am talking about. That person, rather than taking the whopping 10 seconds it takes to put a cart in a corral or – gasp – even return it to the store simply set it free to in the parking lot, assuring that their decision to exert a minimal amount of effort would grant you raised blood pressure during your quick jaunt to grab a gallon of milk.

We had made some progress. My fellow cart warriors had been dutifully patrolling the lots, rescuing rogue carts and bringing them to safe haven. I have even had some folks tell me that they now make a point of bringing carts in, as they are afraid I will be on some sort of cart patrol and call them out if they do not. For all of you who think that – let’s just assume I am on constant patrol in all lots. Keep up the good work!

So the battle was a fairly consistent one – the inconsiderate versus the diligent. Then they crossed the line. Abandoning carts in parking places is one thing. Sending them careening into other people’s parked cars is bad enough. But this battle has taken an ugly turn: A cart abandoner has done the unthinkable, taking on an American institution in a move that could – brace youself – keep you from your Thin Mints.

That’s right, they took on the Girl Scouts.

This bit of intel was gathered from one of the field warriors who was working a Girl Scout cookie table booth this past weekend. I received this message from her, clearly an SOS:

“What’s worse than leaving your shopping cart in the middle of the parking lot? Abandoning your cart RIGHT IN FRONT of the Girl Scout cookie booth.”

What’s worse you ask? Maybe, like, four things ever. You not only abandoned your cart, but you blocked people from access to Samoas and Tagalongs and Trefoils. This is the time of year people wait for. It’s as if Girl Scout cookies contain some special antidote that must be taken annually. I know the passion for the cookies – I’ve logged my time at cookie booths. On both sides. I have sat there as my daughter sold them, and I have walked out of stores and said, “Oh, I’d love to, but my daughter is selling them this year and, you know what, gimme a box of Tagalongs.”

I asked my friend what she did with the cart. She told me she dutifully returned it inside the store. Based on the tone of her text, she did consider sending the cart back from whence it came, perhaps with such velocity that it would turn over the offender’s car.

But if we have reached the point in which the last vestiges of the cart civility revolution is to make a full-on assault on Girl Scouts, this much is true: We are winning. They are throwing their Hail Mary passes, trying to bring about a mutually assured destruction. Little do they know they are trying this against one of the most valiant and honorable groups ever assembled: the cart warriors.

We are a noble tribe and would never resort to the kind of barbarism the cart abandoners do. We will continue to fight this war with civility, responsibility and whatever the word for, like, you know, doing the right thing is. We will return the carts, even if you won’t. And those who won’t – your numbers are dwindling. And we grow stronger. And not just because we’re fueled by Thin Mints.


Mike Gibbons was born and raised in Aiken. A graduate of the University of Alabama, he can be reached at



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