I compromise 1/2 of the time and leave the cart in areas that are not in the way of cars or pedestrians but still within the parking lot area
The reason is that many people have knee and leg problems and already stubborn and do not get walkers or canes as they ought.
Despite long past the need to get assistance, the unconsciously rely on the shopping carts as a walker
By leaving the cart in an available place in the parking lot, it allows those who might need it, which also might include mothers with many children and such, to not have to navigate the long parking lot without The Marvelous assistance of an empty box on wheels that can support the body weight of a human, including a child or two inside if needed.
There’s no reason the shopping carts need to be located nearer to the building rather than to the people going to and from the building, whose personal assets are in a parking lot not at the building.
Therefore, as people are priority to me over the anti theft concerns of a corporation, while it may not be an objective good I am morally Justified at leaving it in the parking lot in a reasonable place half the time, putting it back the other half of the time.
It is a very good thought experiment.
But it misses a real world needs of people.
Objectively, carts distributed across a parking lot whereby the furthest and closest areas would always have carts, along with a collection of carts at the store itself for those who walk in and do not use the parking lot, would be the best solution for all but the empty theft needs of a company. That is to say, returning the carts benefits the insurance companies.
Is benefiting an insurance company an objective good?
That’s another question for another time.