"You Can Judge Me All You Want" — Woman Refuses to Return Shopping Cart in Parking Lot

"I'm not leaving [my children] in the car to go return the cart," Dr. Leslie Dobson said.

Elissa Noblitt - Author

Jun. 19 2024, Published 5:00 a.m. ET

woman refuses shopping cart
Source: TikTok/@drlesliedobson

Ever heard of the internet-famed "shopping cart theory"? In a nutshell, it goes something like this: Whether or not a person returns their shopping cart after loading their groceries into the car serves as the perfect litmus test for that person's inclination to do the right thing without being watched or rewarded. You have to go out of your way, and no one is going to pat you on the back for doing it, but you might make some poor employee's day a little bit easier and free up the car park for, you know, actual cars.

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While it's safe to say that returning your shopping cart is generally considered to be the morally sound thing to do, one woman on TikTok is adamant that she will not be adhering to this social norm, and her reasoning has gotten a generally negative response from viewers.

shopping carts in cart return
Source: Unsplash
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This single mom refuses to return her shopping cart with her kids in the car.

Single mom and alleged doctor Leslie Dobson, whose "intentionally disturbing" content centers around parenting, crime, and safety, recently took to TikTok with her bold declaration: "I'm not returning my shopping cart, and you can judge me all you want." And judge her the internet does.

Supposedly, her reasoning comes down to her children's safety — or is it simply convenience? "I'm not getting my groceries into my car, getting my children into the car, and then leaving them in the car to go return the cart," Leslie explained. "So if you're gonna give me a dirty look, f--k off." Clearly, she has strong feelings about her stance, which is also evidenced by her responses to some of the many, many dissenting comments she so predictably received.

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In response to several different comments, Leslie said, "I want women to feel empowered to trust their intuition if they feel unsafe, ignore judgment. Risk isn’t worth it and our lives are precious. I have seen lives destroyed. I hope you never don’t. [sic]" Unfortunately, she did not deign to elaborate.

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Many fellow moms in the comments felt that Leslie's reasoning is just an excuse.

The responses to Leslie's TikTok were overwhelmingly negative, with several other moms in the comments condemning her reasoning.

"I take my 9-month-old with me to get the cart inside, sanitize it, shop and then load the groceries with him still in my arms, and return the cart, then put him in his car seat. No excuses," one commenter shared.

"Yeah, I don’t blame you. I have four kids and I always just ram my cart into the cars next to me so the wind doesn’t have to work as hard," another viewer sarcastically remarked.

baby in shopping cart
Source: Unsplash

One mom shared the adorable way that she's making cart returning a fun part of her child's shopping experience: "My son's favorite part of food shopping is at the end when we 'share the cart' (put it back), because I’m going to raise a child who always puts the cart back."

While no one can deny that taking on everyday tasks while also juggling children can be difficult, and that women's safety is, unfortunately, always at risk in public spaces, it seems that the general consensus is that there has to be a better way to keep yourself and your kids secure while not making life harder for everyone else.

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