Angus is an obviously intelligent guy whose mind works in interesting ways, which is why, despite a few go-arounds, I still read his blog, and hope he still reads mine. We need not agree at all times and places, and to skip visits there would be a mistake for anyone. Having reached a more or less truce status between us, I commend the following thought he posted, and my reply, to generate further rumination from one and all. And because it has nothing whatsoever to do with the Current Craziness, here nor abroad, yet is nonetheless something worth considering.
|Um,...No. Not so much.|
Natzsofast, Shopping Cart Socrates.
Isn't it true that the carts were provided in the first place as a none-too-subtle subterfuge by the store to generate more revenue, particularly more impulse revenue, by making it easier for people to cart off more goodies than one could comfortably carry in their hands and arms, and allow them to shop for longer periods of time unhindered and unencumbered, and isn't the store therefore wholly morally responsible for their safe and convenient retrieval, as part of the cost of them doing business in this manner, thus making any effort contributed to return the carts a boon to them purely at the whim of one's own beneficence, and not instead an absolute moral obligation non-consensually laid on everyone else's shoulders??
Return it where?
Isn't it just as much their property anywhere in their lot?
(We're not attempting to justify stealing it outright from the premises.)
To the front of the store?
Inside, or outside?
Am I morally obligated to sanitize it after use as well?
Why or why not?
To the cart return rack?
To the cart return rack that is 200 yards from the only available parking spaces, because management was too lazy or cheap, or both, to put the return collection rack(s) spaced equally about the lot, rather than all the way to the front door?
Stipulating that when it's only a 20' walk to Do The Right Thing it ought to be done, what about when it's 100' away? 300'? 500'?
Where is the line between "moral duty" and "undue burden"? And why, or why not?
What about when it's a busy shopping season, and every minute I'm cart jockeying the Jericho Mile to the return rack rather than departing expeditiously, it's another interminable minute of torture laid upon someone else, who's frantically searching for the parking space I could have already been vacating?
At that point, doesn't doing anything become the Kobayashi Maru scenario?
Is that fair and just?
What about when it's 105°; or during a torrential downpour; or when people are driving through the lot like it was qualifying heats at Daytona; or when it's after dark, and the local Yute Diversity Association is holding a victim selection meeting over by the cart rack?
What about when I have to get home to pee, because the store has thoughtfully closed the required customer restrooms, and posted a "No public restroom" sign? Can't I return the cart, and pee in the corner by the locked restroom door, and retain my moral credentials?
What about if they employ a flunkie to collect the carts left all the way yonder?
Is it right to deprive them of employment?
Don't I merit a piece of their cart jockeys' salary for doing their job for them? (Don't get me started on "self" scanning my purchases, and doing my own price checks, because they'd deliberately rather not hire enough cashiers for the customers they attract, yet offer no discount to me for performing workmen's job functions uncompensated.)
Is there any moral discount for age, disability, or infirmity?
It turns out, yet again, that this morality is just as gray, and no more absolute, than any number of similar questions.
And I'm not sure, but it looks like the umpire in charge of calling out Virtue Signaling has his hand twitching over his penalty flag.
Inquiring minds want to know.
That said, there is some room for common ground on the topic of Shopping Cart Ethics beyond simple piracy of same: leaving your cart totally blocking a parking space out of easily mitigated laziness, turning it loose with wanton disregard to damage other people's cars downhill or on windy days, leaving it blocking the driving lanes, or leaving your entire ploughman's lunch leftovers, discarded alcohol containers, and/or wadded up overfull baby diapers remains unquestioned douchebaggery deserving of a brief but motivated flogging and time in the public stocks.