A new concept is taking Twitter by storm after introduced to it by an otherwise unremarkable account with the handle “@ANTICHRISTJARED.” Jared doesn’t have a whole lot of followers, yet since last Thursday his post outlining the “shopping cart theory” has gained over 676,000 likes and many comments of support. The theory proposed that a person’s moral character can be determined through the simple choice of whether or not to return a shopping cart to a designated “cart return” spot.

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“The shopping cart is the ultimate litmus test for whether a person is capable of self-governing,” the post reads.

“To return the shopping cart is an easy, convenient task and one which we all recognize as the correct, appropriate thing to do. To return the shopping cart is objectively right. There are no situations other than dire emergencies in which a person is not able to return their cart,” they propose. “Simultaneously, it is not illegal to abandon your shopping cart.”


With no potential consequences for failing to do something and no exterior reward for doing so, returning the shopping cart to a place where it will not be in the way and is easily accessible to other shoppers and to store employees, this action becomes one of the simplest and best examples of moral choice.

“You must return the shopping cart out of the goodness of your own heart. You must return the shipping cart because it is the right thing to do.”

Discussions like this hit close to home during a time when “home” is where we’re all supposed to stay as much as possible to not make a pandemic worse but local governments keep lifting restrictions due to pressure from protesters and businesses. This leaves the choice of whether or not to risk further spreading the coronavirus to each individual person, which is not working out so well in a lot of places.

Most people in the comments seem to agree that returning the shopping cart is the right thing to do and failure to do so counts against you in the “are you a good person” category. These individuals include former retail employees.

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Some, however, pointed out that returning a cart, as small an action as it might seem, is a bigger deal for those suffering from chronic illness or pain or those who have disabilities.

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One thing everyone can agree on, however, is that those people who claim that they don’t return their carts because they want to make more work for retail workers can go ahead and leave society if they don’t want to participate in one.

Put your carts in the cart return spots if you have the ability.

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*First Published: July 27, 2023, 9:33 pm