Carts On A Curb

Leadership Lessons from the Target parking lot…

My family went to Target last weekend to buy school supplies for my daughter and other sundry items needed around the house.

After we finished loading our bags in the car, I took the shopping cart to the rack located in the middle of the parking lot. It was close by and in plain view of anyone not legally blind.

On my way, I saw a bunch of red carts sprawled out on the curb and left in various parking spaces as if the apocalypse happened and people were forced to abandon their 4-wheeled containers and run for the hills.

What made this scene even more ridiculous was the distance between the carnage of deserted carts and the rack specifically designed to hold them. It was all of twelve feet.

Twelve. Feet. It was the length of Shaquille O’Neal with his hands over his head. That’s how far it was. But apparently that is an insurmountable distance for a shopping cart to be put back in it’s rightful place.

Obviously twelve feet is akin to the Trail of Tears in the mind of a suburbanite shopping at Target on a Saturday afternoon.

Maybe it should not have bothered me so much, but it did and here are some thoughts I had on the ride back home:

1. We must refuse to allow ourselves to stoop to such an embarrassing depth of laziness. Slothful behavior should make us uncomfortable and the discomfort should lead to change and resistance.

2. Inconveniences are a normal part of life but they can’t be allowed to stop us from being responsible. Twelve feet or twelve miles should never be a deterrent to doing the right thing.

3. Successful people care about doing the little things well. Peter Drucker once said that he could tell a lot about an organization by looking at the state of their broom closet. If they cared enough to keep that straight, then the quality of leadership in the board room was never a concern.

I don’t want my life to resemble anything close to carts on a curb.


© 2014 Jason Autry.  Originally posted at