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Thread: Shopping carts and social norms

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    Defense ProfessionalSenior Contributor tbm3fan's Avatar
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    Shopping carts and social norms

    This is a fascinating article I ran across. Partly since I have a Psych degree and partly because of just WHY do people do what they do. For the record I am a cart returner as I have always been a by the book sort of person. If the sign says stop it means stop and not roll through slowly. No funny stuff with the site...

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    Most places in Europe these carts ('trolleys' is the English term I think) have a chained up together system so they are locked together. To release one you have to plug in a coin - used to be 1 in the UK, in Ukraine you actually pay a deposit to a 'trolley man/lady' who gives you a ticket. So when you have shopped and loaded your car you naturally take it back to recover your deposit. Plus even if you had a use for the thing it would be awkward to fit in the car.

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    Defense ProfessionalSenior Contributor tbm3fan's Avatar
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    The interesting thing here is the large group of people who when presented with a situation that is already beginning to get messy they feel it is perfectly fine to make a bigger mess themselves. An alley with graffiti makes it easier to take the flyer off your car and just throw it. A street where someone dumped something illegally makes it easier for the next person and the next person and turns an entire street/neighborhood into a dump. One bad behavior begets another bad behavior. It amazes me how many people have little concern for others especially once outside their neighborhood.

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    Quote Originally Posted by tbm3fan View Post
    One bad behavior begets another bad behavior.
    Generalized it's mostly about social control. If people see a messy area they assume the social control level is low and thus no one will care and no one will bother them about their behavior.

    Quote Originally Posted by snapper View Post
    Plus even if you had a use for the thing it would be awkward to fit in the car.
    Theft of shopping carts is common enough that supermarkets have started deploying various technologies to lock up carts with brakes etc once they leave a defined area. Around 100,000 carts are stolen per year in Germany, in other countries the rate is considerably higher (Austria up to 25% annual loss depending on brand).

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    Defense ProfessionalSenior Contributor tbm3fan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kato View Post
    Generalized it's mostly about social control. If people see a messy area they assume the social control level is low and thus no one will care and no one will bother them about their behavior.
    For those in the "never returners" and "pressure returners" that would be true. I'm in the "returners" group. Now go about the USS Hornet museum into the many compartments that will never be opened to the public ever. Others may go in to take a look, see paint chips and the like, then walk out to work on the visible spaces. I walk in, see the mess, walk to my several storage spaces, pick up my cleaning equipment, and then go clean the space never to be seen by anyone. In the back of my mind I know she is now in ship shape condition if only for me. To me there is beauty in order.

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