Mother divides internet after revealing she doesn’t return shopping carts


A mother divided the internet when she defended leaving shopping carts unreturned.

In a recent viral TikTok video posted on 30 May, California-based clinical and forensic psychologist, Leslie Dobson, shared her opinion on whether or not people should return shopping carts to the corrals at the grocery store parking lot. She started the video by saying: “I’m not returning my shopping cart. And you can judge me all you want.”

“I’m not getting my groceries into my car, getting my children into the car, and then leaving them in the car to go return the cart, so if you’re gonna give me a dirty look, f*** off,” she continued.

Since she shared the clip, the video has garnered almost 12 million views on the platform, sparking discourse among viewers. Some called her out for using her children as an excuse not to return shopping carts.

“I’ll always say the shopping cart is the ultimate test to see what kind of person you are,” someone commented. “Even with a baby I bring her with me to return the cart.”

“I just know that even when she is not with her kids or if there’s another person with them to watch the kids in the car, she doesn’t return the shopping cart,” another noted.

Many implored Dobson to look up the social media-based shopping cart theory, in which returning a shopping cart to its proper place after use is a metric for a person’s moral character and ability to self-govern.

“If you can get the cart, you can return the cart,” one user wrote. “Look up the shopping cart theory.”

“I absolutely believe in the shopping cart theory,” another added. “Maybe the return was across the lot, maybe it was literally across from the spot where you parked. Either way the theory holds true.”

Dobson replied to the comment, saying: “I wanted to make the video to empower people to say, trust your instinct, it’s okay if you don’t feel safe to not return your shopping cart.”

Returning a shopping cart to its proper place after use is a metric for a person’s moral character and ability to self-govern
Returning a shopping cart to its proper place after use is a metric for a person’s moral character and ability to self-govern (Getty Images)

A few empathized with Dobson, with one person writing: “Yeah I don’t blame you. I have four kids and I always just ram my cart into the cars next to me so the wind doesn’t have to work as hard.”

In an interview with Good Morning America, Dobson clarified her intentions and message, noting that the majority of her TikTok content revolves around parenting and child safety tips.

“People didn’t watch the whole thing… but now it’s turned into such an important conversation,” she said. “And I’m so happy that people are talking about this.”

She added, “There are so many private messages of women saying, ‘I believe you, I trust you, I do the same thing, but I’m not going to leave a public message because I don’t want the retaliation.’”



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