Just in case you aren’t sure about whether or not I’m An Old, we have the Shoping Cart Theory Test. Do you remember a time before The Shopping Cart Theory?
True story — I did not know this before 2-3 years ago.
There weren’t any cart corrals when I was a kid. Either you took the cart all the way to the store yourself, or you just left it at the nearest obstruction that would prevent it from rolling away, for the cart collector to get.
My first corporate job was as bag-boy/cart-collector (the position did both, alternating by the hour). The cart collecting was kinda fun. And this literally created a job!
When corrals first started appearing, I’d use them if they were nearby, but otherwise didn’t worry about it, cuz like, I never had before? It didn’t occur to me that the way the world had simply been before would now be considered morally repugnant! It legit wasn’t until the mid/late 20-teens that I became aware this was considered anti-social. It was a bit of a headtrip.
(yes, I have since adjusted my behavior)
Another way of looking at this is “how much have you internalized Capitalist Exploitation Of The Consumer?” It could be argued that what’s really happened here is that the Capitalist Overlords have pushed the cost of cart-collection onto the public.
Rather than just ponying up the money and paying someone to do what is needed, they instead create an elaborate social morality play, and forcing that labor onto us.
We don’t notice that we are literally giving free labor to billionaires every time we do this, because we’re too busy policing everyone around us, and forcing them to adopt our morality, lest they be considered a “bad member of society” and “no better than an animal.”(!)
If we want to put on our tin-foil hats, we could say that this is analogous to how entrenched interests want us to treat climate change as something we need to address by carpooling more and wearing sweaters, rather than substantially changing how energy is created and by whom.
We could say this is analogous to how entrenched interests want us to treat enviormental problems by using shitty paper straws, rather than addressing waste-collection infrastructure in developing countries.
We could even say its analogous to how massive amounts of social energy is drained on finding witches to cancel or defending witches from being cancelled rather than overhauling the corruption thats seeped into the most fundamental levels of our government.
Every bit of attention and energy that is used to police the morality of the working man besides you to make sure s/he’s returning that shopping cart is another bit of attention deflected from the owner or ruler that profits from this.
I mean, I WOULDN’T say any of that. Because I don’t believe there’s actually that level of coordination and planning at the upper levels of society. No one up there cares that much, it’s not worth their time. It’s a happy coincidence that we live in a society of puritans that get off on morality-policing the petty little things they actually do have control over. And, most importantly, because I’m not animal or a savage. I am an upstanding member of society, and I’ll do what needs doing to keep society running smoothly.
But gosh, how easily this Theory could have broken the other way. The fact that it didn’t is instructive. It means if you’d like your position to gain widespread acceptance, find some way to make it a thing that people can easily use to attack the moral charecter of their closest fellow-citizens. It has to be easily legible, recurring very frequently, and extremely petty.
Also, ROFL, this is freaking hilarious XD