Why You Shouldn't Put Back Misplaced Grocery Store Products

Have you ever heard of the shopping cart theory? Essentially, the concept suggests that returning your shopping cart to the corral after unloading your groceries is a sign that you are a good person (via Upworthy). Meanwhile, those who leave their carts strewn about for the parking lot attendant to take care of are deemed bad.

The theory earned the stamp of approval from many Twitter users after going viral on the social media platform back in 2020, which shouldn't come as too much of a surprise since 72% of participants in a survey conducted by Treadmill Review the year before said that leaving your buggy in the parking lot is inappropriate behavior. We can't say we disagree — though there is another common occurrence at grocery stores that is arguably even more frustrating than when people don't put their shopping carts back where they belong. According to that same survey, 97% of shoppers think the rudest thing you can do at the grocery store is to not return products to their proper shelves after deciding not to buy them, especially when the items are perishables like meat, milk, or ice cream.

We can only imagine how annoyed grocery store workers get when a frozen pizza ends up in the produce section, so, as a customer, you may feel like you're making their job easier by taking matters into your own hands and returning it yourself. However, according to EatingWell, this seemingly innocent deed is rude in and of itself.

Alert an employee when you spot misplaced grocery store products

A 2019 Treadmill Review survey found that not returning unwanted products to their proper shelves is one of the rudest things shoppers can do at the grocery store, and it's not hard to see why. "Not only does it make the shop look messy, but it can cause food to spoil and waste goods," Joanne Archer, a former supermarket assistant, told Insider in 2020. She also noted this kind of behavior can make deals on groceries worse because stores will lose profit on the waste and the time spent having to clean everything up.

That being said, you might think you're being a hero when you return perishable items back to their rightful spots in the freezer or refrigerated sections. However, according to EatingWell, doing so could actually make you yet another villain in the story. Why? As the outlet explains, there's no way of knowing how long those products could have been sitting out, so you may inadvertently be causing someone to buy something that has already spoiled.

Instead, simply alert an employee when you see something out of place during your shopping trip so they can determine whether the product can be put back or needs to be disposed of. And if you're still looking for a way to help, wrangling up all those stray carts and bringing them to the corral is one possible to lend a hand to grocery store employees.