As the City of Lakewood, Washington celebrates this month of August its one-year anniversary of the passage of Ordinance No. 644 instituting the Rental Housing Safety Program at an annual estimated cost to taxpayers of $175,000, not counting $133,000 for the software to support the program, bypassing certainly a more cost-effective alternative in simply communicating to landlords and tenants their respective rights and responsibilities which the council considered but never tried, shopping carts come to mind.
“What returning your shopping cart says about you,” is an intriguing title to an article by Craig Dacy that appeared one year ago in his financial publication out of Austin, Texas. Given the near 1,000 comments, the matter of unreturned shopping carts is apparently as grating as a wobbly, squeaky wheel.
From Slidell, Louisiana, to Austin, Texas, to Lakewood, Washington, corralling the derelict four-wheel carts has proven to be no easier a task than ousting Texas Longhorn cattle from the impenetrable dense thickets of the high chaparral.
It evidently can be done however as demonstrated by the police department in Lakewood, Washington where the chief ended a 21-month study (p.46) of the Public Safety Advisory Committee (PSAC) by sending a letter simply asking for cooperation from the most offending shopping stores.
While the Community Safety and Resource Team continues to monitor the situation, Dacy’s article serves as inspiration for somewhat of a similar solution applicable to most any situation, certainly as common sense as Lakewood’s letter to the store owners – a simple reminder in a slip-in clear plastic sleeve attached to each shopping cart for the user:
“What Returning Your Shopping Cart Says About You”
1. You care about others. By returning this shopping cart you have made life easier for someone else.
2. You take responsibility. By returning this shopping cart you have set an example for your children: everything – even shopping carts – have their rightful place.
3. It is about you after all. By returning this shopping cart, you – not government, which otherwise might spend untold amounts of money, and/or time (which is money) studying this problem – have put the matter, let alone the cart, where it belongs: in your hands.
Think of what might have happened had the City Councils across this nation had the notion that correcting the great ills of society – derelict shopping carts and derelict properties among them – could be had by so common-sense a solution as a simple note placing the responsibility where it belonged.