Simple No Cost Ways to Give Back at The Grocery Store

Helping Others in Little Ways Throughout Your Day

Sometimes the little ways we help can add up to a big difference in how we feel and how we make others feel-even if we don’t quite change the world.

olive rottie rescue

I could brag about the dogs I have rescued over the years, and how they cost much more than “free”. I spent thousands on dog training for these dogs, and tens of thousands in hip replacement, knee replacement and more on other vet bills. However, the joy and companionship my dogs have brought me and my family over the years far outweighs any amount of time or money I invested. I would encourage others to rescue an animal (my olive teammate Bobby rescued a Parrot recently), but not everyone is up for it or has the resources to invest in rescuing animals.

(Our latest rescue is a rottweiler we named “Modric” pictured here with my daughters)

I try everyday (when I am not being a grumpy bear-we all have our bad days) to think of how I can just give back in ways that make sense and sometimes don’t cost, well, a “cent”.

A few years ago after parking my car at the grocery store, I noticed something that started to seem kind of odd to me: nearly everyone walking from their cars to the grocery store was walking by empty carts and waiting until they got inside the store to grab a cart.

grocery-cart-giving-oliveI thought if I grabbed a cart on my way in, it would be an easy way to get a cart and help leave a zero footprint (cartwise). Even if it meant going a little bit out of my way to grab one from the “cart parking” space in the grocery store parking lot.

I thought “is there any downside to this? For example, maybe the employees at the store enjoy getting out of the store on a nice day – at least to push some carts around.” When I was in high school I worked at a grocery store for a few months and tried to think back and remember if I minded bringing in the carts. Certainly not on a hot, cold, rainy or just slushy day, but maybe on a nice day.

I asked a few employees at my local (Denver) King Soopers and they said they did NOT enjoy bringing in carts, so there was my answer. The small sample survey result was enough for me to feel good about doing this every time I shop at a place with carts.

Since then my teenage daughters and I almost always grab at least one cart each on our way into the store. If we see someone nearly finished unloading their groceries into their car we will offer to take their cart in for them. This helps them avoid having to go find a place to park their cart so they can just drive away!

This may seem like “nothing”in the grand scheme of things. However, if everyone did this it would benefit shoppers and grocery store olive helping grocery storeworkers by just making their day a little bit easier. It would help prevent damage to cars in parking lots. It might even bring people a little bit closer and a few more smiles to their faces. I know it is a small thing, but I feel just a little bit happier that I am doing something to help others-if only in a small way.

Will it stop global warming? Probably not, but it does help me burn a few extra calories on the way in-and that is never a bad thing.

Do I think I am some kind of hero? Of course not-and it doesn’t make up for my carbon footprint, help feed the homeless, or save anyones’ life. Although, if it keeps us from texting while walking into the store, it probably reduces our chances of getting hit by a car. In a world where we all seem to ignore the people around us while we engage on our phone, it helps me go through the day just a little bit more considerate, empathetic and aware of others, even when I am in a hurry and especially if the weather is bad.

In fact, in the end, I almost feel selfish when I return grocery carts, because I feel just a little bit better about myself and the kind of person I am trying to be. I have a million miles to go to reach “Mother Theresa” or “Gandhi” status, and I probably spend much of my day being selfish rather than selfless. Maybe this makes up for how selfish I can be when driving in rush hour traffic to get where I need to get ASAP.

Yeah, I could really use some help with that!

If you have a story about how you or someone you know help people every day in little ways or big ways please feel free to share it here and we will help share it everywhere!