On shopping trolleys and human nature

By 29 December, 2011 49

shopping trolley

2011 saw some considerable idealism from the Greens as they pursued their dream of getting Canberra’s lazy bogans to live like Germans, in particular on the subject of shopping trolleys.

As it happens shopping trolleys have been occupying my mind recently during my weekly outings to the Aldi at Jamison (free open air parking, cheap dog food and beer, something tricky to try and BBQ on the Weber, and what will the special be this week?).

It started with general curiosity as to why the serried ranks of Aldi trolleys were just so vast:

aldi trolleys

And then a few weeks ago, having dutifully deposited my dollar coin into a trolley I was cleaned up by a guy rushing through the entrance from the Coles next door.

Which was when I looked around and realised that every single other shopper in Aldi was pushing a Coles trolley.

Not some, not a majority.

Every single shopper had decided that rather than engage in coin return in exchange for the use of an excellent trolley they’d grab one from Coles with wonky wheels and dump it in the car park.

So not exactly a rousing success for shopping trolley reform, but a big win for laziness, mendacity, and cultural inertia.

Rather than learning to carry a coin or token and wheel the trolley back a whole 30 odd metres over smooth tarmac the shoppers of Jamison (with the exception of one lonely noble blogger) just nick one from Coles and dump it.

And then yesterday I got the trolley pictured above.

For the sake of a dollar (possibly two) someone has decided it’s easier to vandalise the trolley than wheel it back to the supermarket rank.

There’s a person out there, voting, driving on our roads, with a first instinct to hack up a trolley for a dollar rather than return the trolley.

What’s the point of all this?

Betting on people’s good nature is for suckers in this town.

Education is never going to bring change absent enforcement.

We need to keep that in mind as the ACT Government makes ever more rules without paying for inspection, regulation, and enforcement.

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49 Responses to On shopping trolleys and human nature
#1
puggy11:13 am, 29 Dec 11

Abandoned trolleys are a bugbear of mine. It may be that I notice them a lot more know, but I reckon I see more now that the law has come in. I don’t understand what possesses people (mostly students) to wheel a trolley 2km from Gungahlin shops, over all sorts of terrain, for what I usually see is less than a full bag of groceries. I don’t understand how I can report a trolley in exactly the same location numerous times and yet still continue to see a trolley left in the same spot. Has anyone heard of anyone being fined for taking a trolley far from a supermarket, as I thought the law allows for? How is that enforceable?

#2
jsm209011:24 am, 29 Dec 11

Trolley habits nicely summarise our society these days; we’re fat, lazy, and selfish. Wheel locks would prevent this easily. So many of our tax dollars these days seems to get caught up in preventing people from doing things that a basic level of common sense should warm us against.

http://www.ferret.com.au/c/Lamson-Engineering/Trolley-Guard-System-n678883

#3
matt3122111:40 am, 29 Dec 11

That is pretty piss poor form. Lazy bastards. Coles should hire a security guard to prevent that occurring.

I take the trolley back to get my dollar it is kind of satisfying.

#4
Kan11:56 am, 29 Dec 11

Why can’t Coles do an Aldi and have coin trolleys? Both supermarkets (Aldi and Woolies) at Kippax use the coin system. When Woolies followed Aldi’s example and introduced the coin trolleys, it stopped the dumping virtually overnight.

#5
Rawhide Kid Part311:58 am, 29 Dec 11

I think Coles will also be doing the coin trollies soon. Should be interesting.

#6
taninaus12:19 pm, 29 Dec 11

Most shopping centres overcome this laziness by installing trolley return bays with a connection to get your coin back – win-win as the shopper doesn’t have to walk back into the centre (which is impossible if you have anyone, especially munchkins in the car with you) and the shop gets all their trolleys lined up ready to be returned by those folks earning a minimum wage buck taking them back into the centre.

#7
johnboy12:22 pm, 29 Dec 11

taninaus said :

Most shopping centres overcome this laziness by installing trolley return bays with a connection to get your coin back – win-win as the shopper doesn’t have to walk back into the centre (which is impossible if you have anyone, especially munchkins in the car with you) and the shop gets all their trolleys lined up ready to be returned by those folks earning a minimum wage buck taking them back into the centre.

Jammo has those! but still too much trouble when you can just steal a trolley form Coles!

#8
MERC60012:26 pm, 29 Dec 11

On the subject of shops. If you forget to take a bag with you, Coles and Woolies sell their bags for 15 cents a pop. South Australia has had a no bag policy for some time now; so do any rioters know what they pay for a Woolies/Coles bag in SA ?. 15 cents here seems a little high. I thought I can remember some Polly quoting a bag might cost 5 cents at the most.

#9
astrojax12:55 pm, 29 Dec 11

we need a local version of this award-winning tome: http://www.amazon.com/Stray-Shopping-Carts-Eastern-America/dp/0810955202

#10
26041:28 pm, 29 Dec 11

To paraphrase Harlan Ellison, the two most abundant substances in the universe are hydrogen and naked self-interest.

#11
BenMac1:56 pm, 29 Dec 11

MERC600 said :

On the subject of shops. If you forget to take a bag with you, Coles and Woolies sell their bags for 15 cents a pop. South Australia has had a no bag policy for some time now; so do any rioters know what they pay for a Woolies/Coles bag in SA ?. 15 cents here seems a little high. I thought I can remember some Polly quoting a bag might cost 5 cents at the most.

From SA’s website it says,

The decision on whether to charge or how much to charge is up to the retailer.

I suprised people are still using coins when you can get those token from Aldi to use.

#12
matt312212:00 pm, 29 Dec 11

taninaus said :

Most shopping centres overcome this laziness by installing trolley return bays with a connection to get your coin back – win-win as the shopper doesn’t have to walk back into the centre (which is impossible if you have anyone, especially munchkins in the car with you) and the shop gets all their trolleys lined up ready to be returned by those folks earning a minimum wage buck taking them back into the centre.

Why is it impossible if you have munchkins? Just need to discipline them better so they can handle it. Lazy parenting as well as lazy trolley etiquette.

#13
BicycleCanberra2:35 pm, 29 Dec 11

Many people start their shop @ Coles then go into Aldi to get the basics and look at the specials. I use the token which is on my keyring, simple to use without having to search around for a dollar coin or two.

This problem is the corner stone of a car centric culture, acres of car parks yet you couldn’t walk a trolley back to a return bay parking isle. If everyone shopped regularly(on bike) like the dutch do we wouldn’t have this problem of the wandering trolley.

#14
2much2do3:48 pm, 29 Dec 11

matt31221 said :

taninaus said :

Most shopping centres overcome this laziness by installing trolley return bays with a connection to get your coin back – win-win as the shopper doesn’t have to walk back into the centre (which is impossible if you have anyone, especially munchkins in the car with you) and the shop gets all their trolleys lined up ready to be returned by those folks earning a minimum wage buck taking them back into the centre.

Why is it impossible if you have munchkins? Just need to discipline them better so they can handle it. Lazy parenting as well as lazy trolley etiquette.

Yep, smart move genius, let’s lock the kids in the car and hope they don’t suffocate or better still, let’s leave the babies in the pram alone in the carpark.

#15
screaming banshee3:54 pm, 29 Dec 11

Woolies in Katherine had a great system when I was there back in ’94. The trolleys were housed inside the store past the turnstile and you would pay an extra dollar as you went through the register so no need to carry a coin.

After unloading the trolley you could either return the trolley to the collection point back in the store to get a shiny dollar, or have the rotton odoured toothless person with the metho bottle in their back pocket do it for you sans your refund.

Simple, and let me tell you there where never trolleys left out!

#16
Snarky4:38 pm, 29 Dec 11

I started, then stopped using Aldi’s trolleys at Coolamon Court when one afternoon I’d used a $2 coin (all I had on me) to do the shopping, and on return to the carpark and unloading I found some little b*gger had clipped the release key off the chain on not just one, but three of the return bays. No-one wanted to lose their dollar or token by being the first to leave their trolley with coin unretrieved, so we all had to wheel the trolleys back across the park. Put me right off – it’s far easier to use a Woolies trolley, and at Coolo at least the Woolies ones are newer and have better wheels to boot!

#17
lealea5:25 pm, 29 Dec 11

jsm2090 said :

Trolley habits nicely summarise our society these days; we’re fat, lazy, and selfish. Wheel locks would prevent this easily. So many of our tax dollars these days seems to get caught up in preventing people from doing things that a basic level of common sense should warm us against.

http://www.ferret.com.au/c/Lamson-Engineering/Trolley-Guard-System-n678883

Woolies at one of the smaller Surfers Paradise centres has this sort of system and it seems much better than the coin deposit system. I guess though it still isn’t an incentive for people to put trolleys back into the trolley return.

Coles at Manuka has introduced the coin system on the smaller trollies only – this seems to be problematic as shoppers will mostly choose the larger trollies to avoid the fee and the trolley collection crew seem to focus on returning the larger trollies and then there are very few small trollies available.

Whatever the solution it’s only going to work if it is applied to all trollies from all stores.

#18
matt312215:34 pm, 29 Dec 11

2much2do said :

matt31221 said :

taninaus said :

Most shopping centres overcome this laziness by installing trolley return bays with a connection to get your coin back – win-win as the shopper doesn’t have to walk back into the centre (which is impossible if you have anyone, especially munchkins in the car with you) and the shop gets all their trolleys lined up ready to be returned by those folks earning a minimum wage buck taking them back into the centre.

Why is it impossible if you have munchkins? Just need to discipline them better so they can handle it. Lazy parenting as well as lazy trolley etiquette.

Yep, smart move genius, let’s lock the kids in the car and hope they don’t suffocate or better still, let’s leave the babies in the pram alone in the carpark.

Did I explicitly say that? No, I was implying they walk back with you, good exercise.

#19
Henry827:10 pm, 29 Dec 11

2much2do said :

Yep, smart move genius, let’s lock the kids in the car and hope they don’t suffocate or better still, let’s leave the babies in the pram alone in the carpark.

yep, because all babies die in the 20 seconds it takes the return the trolley.

Otherwise, you could load all the groceries into the car, then take trolley and baby to the trolley bay, take baby (leaving the trolley) and walk back to car.

#20
dungfungus7:35 pm, 29 Dec 11

puggy said :

Has anyone heard of anyone being fined for taking a trolley far from a supermarket, as I thought the law allows for? How is that enforceable?

Has anyone heard of anyone being fined for riding a bike across a pedestrian crossing?
Has anyone heard of anyone being fined for not picking up their doggy poo?
Has anyone heard of anyone being fined for letting of crackers on what used to be cracker night?
We really live in a strange world here in the ACT.

#21
dungfungus7:40 pm, 29 Dec 11

BicycleCanberra said :

Many people start their shop @ Coles then go into Aldi to get the basics and look at the specials. I use the token which is on my keyring, simple to use without having to search around for a dollar coin or two.

This problem is the corner stone of a car centric culture, acres of car parks yet you couldn’t walk a trolley back to a return bay parking isle. If everyone shopped regularly(on bike) like the dutch do we wouldn’t have this problem of the wandering trolley.

How do you ride a bike down the aisles in a supermarket and how do you make room in the panniers for a slab of VB when you have just bought a carton of Pal in the supermarket? The Dutchies who shop on their bikes must lead a Spartan lifestyle.

#22
dpm7:42 pm, 29 Dec 11

It generally works better at other centres where there isn’t a competitor right next to Aldi. At Coolo, the Woolies is at the opposite end so it’s rarer to see people in there with Woolies trolleys.
One solution at Jammo would be if Coles also had the same trolley return system! Won’t happen though….

#23
BicycleCanberra8:01 pm, 29 Dec 11

dungfungus said :

How do you ride a bike down the aisles in a supermarket and how do you make room in the panniers for a slab of VB when you have just bought a carton of Pal in the supermarket? The Dutchies who shop on their bikes must lead a Spartan lifestyle.

Instead of shopping weekly you shop two or three times a week on the bike. You can obviously use your car for the big loads or you can use a cargo bike!

#24
gasman8:35 pm, 29 Dec 11

BicycleCanberra said :

dungfungus said :

Instead of shopping weekly you shop two or three times a week on the bike. You can obviously use your car for the big loads or you can use a cargo bike!

Indeed. This is my cargo bike after a recent trip to Aldi.

I ride it from Yarralumla to Weston Creek and back. Several times per week.

#25
Thumper9:18 pm, 29 Dec 11

BicycleCanberra said :

dungfungus said :

How do you ride a bike down the aisles in a supermarket and how do you make room in the panniers for a slab of VB when you have just bought a carton of Pal in the supermarket? The Dutchies who shop on their bikes must lead a Spartan lifestyle.

Instead of shopping weekly you shop two or three times a week on the bike. You can obviously use your car for the big loads or you can use a cargo bike!

Or you can simply drive a car.

Much easier.

#26
aronde9:28 pm, 29 Dec 11

Hey gasman I have a Christiania Trike also and it has been at Jamison shops a number of times. Nothing like parking right at the door and loading everything straight in!

Back on topic I gave up using Aldi trolleys at Belco – could never find a place to return it to get the money back due to the release key being missing or the bay being full of Coles/Woolies trolleys. Yes I could have walked all the way back to Aldi with my empty trolley but seriously after doing that once (when I was parked on a different level) it is a lot easier to just shop at Coles first and use their trolley and put it back in a nearby bay when back at the car.

#27
Henry8210:15 pm, 29 Dec 11

Thumper said :

Or you can simply drive a car.
Much easier.

and pay for petrol, and possibly pay for a gym. Both have their pros and cons, but cycling to the shops isn’t as difficult as you think

#28
EvanJames10:44 pm, 29 Dec 11

Rawhide Kid Part3 said :

I think Coles will also be doing the coin trollies soon. Should be interesting.

Coles Qbn have the coin thing on those weird spazzo trolleys that are sort-of baskets with wheels. I hate trolleys and only use them when buying potting mix so it’s something I observe from a distance.

But the fact is, people behave like scum nowadays and there seems to be nothing stopping them. No social disapproval, no serried ranks of eyes judging them. Now it’s just everyone for themselves, grabbing what they can, and bugger everyone else.

#29
Instant Mash11:07 pm, 29 Dec 11

Much like the new plastic bag regulations. People have had two months to get used to that, and I cop constant abuse every single day simply because people are just too lazy to bring their own. If you have such a problem paying a few cents for the bag you forgot, then stop forgetting and stop whinging.

On the trolley subject, what is the big deal? You get the dollar back so long as you’re bothered to walk an extra few metres.

#30
TheDancingDjinn11:35 pm, 29 Dec 11

Instant Mash said :

Much like the new plastic bag regulations. People have had two months to get used to that, and I cop constant abuse every single day simply because people are just too lazy to bring their own. If you have such a problem paying a few cents for the bag you forgot, then stop forgetting and stop whinging.

On the trolley subject, what is the big deal? You get the dollar back so long as you’re bothered to walk an extra few metres.

Just out of pure curiosity – what is your profession, that people would hurl abuse at you for not providing plastic bags? Many years ago when i was a teenager, i had 2 fist fights with grown women in the woolworths i worked in because they were horrid women who couldn’t control themselves. I never got fired for my actions, thankfully i had sane people in my line watching the whole thing unravel and i was seen in a good light hehe.

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