Shopping Cart Alignment Chart

Originally published at:


Long overdue, I agree.


If you’re lucky she will use your graphic when she receives the ig-nobel prize.


Makes more sense than the bread one.

I waver between Neutral and Chaotic Good which seems about right. Really depends on how many carts are in the corral and if there’s a divider or backstop. Sometimes there isn’t anything stopping a cart from shooting out the other side and, damnit, the cart has to stay in the corral.


Weird. I thought it was universal nowadays that one has to insert a coin (or equally-sized token) to unlock a trolley and has to return it to get the money/token back.

Regarding the later paragraphs of the linked article: the littering is on the part of the people leaving the leaflets on bikes or cars.


I could be anywhere on the good part of the chart depending on where the car is parked and my physical capabilities that day.

There should be a special subcategory in neutral evil, for people who deliberately leave trolleys in the disabled parking spaces.


The way I use alignments neutral good would swap with lawful neutral, chaotic good would be neutral, and true neutral would be chaotic good. The rest seem suitable enough. Maybe chaotic neutral would be “returned to Ryan Dunn circa 2002.”


I liked the implication in the article that doing that prevented/significantly reduced the number of trollies abandoned.

As far as I can tell it doesn’t. Some people will just dump them whatever you do which does sound pretty chaotic evil.

In the USA the only store I’ve ever encountered this in is Aldi, everywhere else (I’m sure there are small local exceptions) is a cart free-for-all. I think part of that is no one here likes to keep coins making those systems annoying or impractical.

Now, I’d consider myself lawful good here, but if there’s a corral I’ll use it over going back to the store (unless the store is closer), but if there is no corral I’ll bring it back to the store. Occasionally I’ll launch it in an empty one because it’s fun af, but if there’s a bunch in there I’ll even arrange a few carts to encourage cart return.

I haven’t ever done it, but if I did see a homeless person in need of a cart, I’d totally hook them up.


Anecdote isn’t evidence, of course, but I don’t recall the last time I had to dodge a loose trolley in a car park (in the UK, where the deposit system seems ubiquitous).

I still see them in canals, etc., but that’s not really the same issue.

A less widespread means of combatting that one is to disable trolleys if they’re removed from the premises. No idea how; I’d guess magnets.

[ETA: seems to be a variety of RFID]

Which is a European company. Interesting.


I still see them - we obviously shop in more upmarket supermarkets than you where shoppers can afford to abandon the pound coin (or more down-market ones where people use free/cheap plastic tokens) :slight_smile:

Yeah, I see that one a lot too. There tends to be some sort of strip at the most obvious entrances and exits from the car park where if the trolley is pushed over that the wheels lock up.

Well, lock up more than they normally are anyway.


I think we Europeans tend to forget that your smallest generally useful token of commerce is a note rather than a coin. I certainly do - or at least often miss fairly obvious consequences.


Historically speaking, Rob’s graphic definitely deserves a place in future digital spaces of The Met or the National Gallery.


nod, also over in the EU (and any countries not using the Euro in Europe) you lot have 1 and 2 unit coins at a minimum (Doesn’t Switzerland have a 5?) and we here in the US have the quarter as our largest nominally used coin. Even though it’s generally better to use coins more, the US has an aversion to using them.

Heh, every shopping center near me has those systems and they never, ever work. I see those carts everywhere working just fine. Someone sure done scammed them good.

1 Like

The chaotic part of chaotic good means hollering at all the neutrals and evils for not returning their carts to the corral.


Am I the only shopper who derives immense pleasure from ramming my shopping cart into the row of carts in the corral, making more room in the corral while getting to make a big, childish crash and bang?


I guess I’m somewhere between neutral and chaotic good.


which is the cart that rolled across the parking lot and dented my door?


I used to scavenge abandoned carts when taking my son to the train station, letting him ride in them instead of having to walk, and then returning them to the supermarket next to the train station, even if it was the wrong cart. Is that Lawful Neutral, Chaotic Neutral, or BOTH!! O.o


I’ve never wanted to create a quantitative ecological model for human behavior before, but I feel like I could write a pretty good one based on the costs/benefits analysis for returning a shopping cart when the corral nearest your car is full

1 Like