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Mom defends her decision not to return the shopping cart despite backlash



Mom defends her decision not to return the shopping cart despite backlash

A video of a mom of two explaining why she refuses to return her shopping cart has racked up 11.9 million views on TikTok.

Dr. Leslie Dobson, 41, a forensic psychologist from California, told Newsweek: “When I heard that women were returning their shopping carts to avoid judgment, I wanted to make a video to tell them they don’t have to because it is dangerous and there is a point of vulnerability for a predator when you return to your car, leave your children, and return the cart, or take the children with you in the cart.”

There are 20 states including Texas, California and Missouri, that have specific laws making it illegal to leave a child unattended in a vehicle though specifics vary, according to the Kids and Car Safety website. But breaking the law isn’t Dobson’s main concern.

She told Newsweek: “Predators watch us for a long time before they act and if you feel threatened or unsafe in the parking lot, social niceties do not apply, the protection of your children takes precedence.

“If I don’t feel safe and my kids are in the car, I will usually put the cart in front of my car or put two wheels up on the grass or a parking lot stop. I make sure the car won’t roll anywhere and that it’s safe and I also make sure it’s not blocking a parking spot.”

Two screenshots of Dobson sitting in her car and speaking to the camera about returning a shopping cart.


The video shared on May, 30, has received over 413,000 likes and more than 106,000 comments.

Dobston told Newsweek: “I have received a lot of flippant and ignorant comments from people who have watched the video for about five or seven seconds, and then have not understood who I am, my career, the mission, or the other videos about the minions of predators and child trafficking.

“Sadly, the focus of the video became about the cart, but it’s also amazing that the conversation has opened up into trusting your intuition and actively thinking am I choosing judgment and social niceties over potential risk?

“The people in the comments that are hating on me and trolling the account, have not experienced the darkness in the world that many of us have. I hope they don’t have to experience it, but unfortunately, many of us will, and if we can prevent it, we should.”

According to a University of Alabama at Birmingham study from 2019, 67 percent of 124 children aged 2 to 10 were seen in parking lots, without adult supervision at some point when walking from their car into a building.

Some TikTok users disagreed with Dobson.

One comment with over 53,000 likes said: “The shopping cart theory states that the decision to return a shopping cart to its designated spot after use is a litmus test of a person’s moral character and capacity for self-governance.”

I have 3 kids, I load the groceries, WE ALL walk back and returned the cart and walk together to the cart, my oldest love to push the cart into the line!” said another user.

But one user said: “I agree with you 100%.” Another said: “I’ve thought the same thing. Even by myself, walking way down away from my car to the cart corral is dangerous these days…I’m with you on this.”

If you have a family dilemma, let us know via We can ask experts for advice, and your story could be featured on Newsweek.