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Ask RiotACT: Returning shopping trolleys…

By JessP - 8 May 2017 32

Hi Rioters.

I understand why the locks on shopping trolleys have been introduced. I understand the benefits for shopper (with more trolleys available) and the environment (with fewer trolleys straying away from the supermarkets) but what I am unhappy about is the difficulty in returning trolleys across the major shopping centres.

Belconnen is a nightmare. After inserting your gold coin and using the trolley it seems to be extremely difficult to find a location to return the trolley and retrieve your coin. All the trolleys appear to be different sizes, so a Coles trolley can’t be linked to an Aldi or a Woolworths trolley, because, well, they don’t fit. Then, of course, there are the ‘smaller’ trolleys for Coles and Woolworths which also increase the permutations. Then add Dan Murphy’s, Kmart and Target.

Unless of course you are able to somehow link the trolleys, back to back… and then no one else can link up and get their coins back. Strange conglomerations of trolleys in bizarre locations abound! The trolley collectors also seem to have reduced in number so the trolleys are slower at being collected and unlocked in their crazy patterns.

This is not making me want to shop at Belconnen (or Woden or Tuggeranong or Gungahlin). Shopping centres, supermarkets and general retailers… are you listening?

Thoughts anyone?

What’s Your opinion?


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32 Responses to
Ask RiotACT: Returning shopping trolleys…
Bastet 9:08 pm 08 May 17

Did the supermarkets put in the coin operated shopping trolleys with the hope that patrons would return their trolleys back to the supermarket where they purchased their groceries and then get back their coin. If the shopper does not wish to do this then it is their choice to either return the trolley to the supermarket and retrieve their coin or leave their trolley in the car park and lose their coin. I find paying for the trolleys annoying however I find carrying all my shopping more annoying. I make a choice for myself and choose what suits me on the day. Annoying or not I choose not to get stressed about making this choice, it is s minor hiccup in my life’s choices.

whatthewhat 8:26 pm 08 May 17

I hate Dickson more!! I feel like everytime I shop there I’m being punished. You can only return Woolworths trolleys in one of the three car parks, otherwise you have to take them back into the store. And if I can turn this into a broader complaint – I have to pay for parking even when it’s 10am on a Monday (good lord – the act government insists on charging $4.50 for 1 hour parking!!!!!), take my own bags, find a coin (in this cashless society) for a trolley so I can do my shopping, then either queue in the only checkout open with the slowest checkout operator ever(!), or process my own shopping through the self-serve checkout and pack my own bags – seriously!!! It seems they don’t understand that if you want customers – then you need to make it easy for them to shop at your store! (I realise this is partly the ACT governments fault too, but again, if they want a solid economy, then help facilitate jobs in the economy by supporting business!)

reelyjiggy 8:23 pm 08 May 17

I had trouble last time I was at the Hyperdome, there were lots of trolleys in the underground carpark, however, the chains were broken on every one of the next trolley in line, so nothing to unlock my trolley if that makes sense. I had trouble today for the first time at Lanyon Woolies, for some reason my full sized trolley would not fit into the other full sized trolleys so I had to wander around the car park before I found one it would fit in to. I have never had trouble before at Lanyon.
I understand why they have done this, but I do feel sorry for the elderly, disabled or Mums with babies and toddlers they really can’t struggle with these trolleys whilst juggling children, walking aids etc.

cross 7:03 pm 08 May 17

I posted on another thread about a removable trolly unlocker available on eBay for a few bucks
while I still return trolleys when I can if it’s too difficult I put it in a safe location

Leo61 4:10 pm 08 May 17

You can purchase a Trolley Key for a couple of $ on ebay. The problem then goes away.

2902 3:47 pm 08 May 17

Perhaps if it’s so difficult to return your trolley you could leave it near your car and consider it a gold coin donation

dungfungus 2:11 pm 08 May 17

devils_advocate said :

The trolley situation, combined with parking issues in general, has definitely pushed me in favour of Costco at Majura park (although the parking gets more difficult out there by the day). But at least Costco has free trolleys and plenty of trolley bays in the car park, and consistently placed.

Free B-Double size trolleys but you have to pay to shop there.

Ridiculous.

Rollersk8r 12:29 pm 08 May 17

Agree. It’s a trivial thing but having to often return the trolley all the way back to the supermarket makes me avoid Belconnen Mall. I find Gungahlin to be better in terms of parking closer to the supermarket and less hassles with returning the trolley to a collection bay.

dungfungus 11:27 am 08 May 17

bikhet said :

dungfungus said :

The situation at Erindale (Woolworths) is much better since the trolley deposit system was introduced…

Erindale has the advantage that only WW provides trolleys, so they all interoperate.

Yes and no. There are two types of trolleys which are different heights but they have it pretty well managed by having two separate bays.

switch 10:53 am 08 May 17

wildturkeycanoe said :

There are devices available on the internet which allow one to unlock any brand of trolley and remove the key without needing another trolley to couple with. They are only a few dollars online and have made life so much easier.

I made mine from metal strip and a few minutes work with a round file. If only there were still metalwork classes at high school…

bikhet 10:53 am 08 May 17

dungfungus said :

The situation at Erindale (Woolworths) is much better since the trolley deposit system was introduced…

Erindale has the advantage that only WW provides trolleys, so they all interoperate.

devils_advocate 10:15 am 08 May 17

The trolley situation, combined with parking issues in general, has definitely pushed me in favour of Costco at Majura park (although the parking gets more difficult out there by the day). But at least Costco has free trolleys and plenty of trolley bays in the car park, and consistently placed.

dungfungus 8:47 am 08 May 17

The situation at Erindale (Woolworths) is much better since the trolley deposit system was introduced. I was critical of it at first but it works well as the distances from the return bays to cars is not far. I also have one of those plastic tokens on my car key ring so I don’t have to forage for a dollar coin everytime.

The other option is to invest in your own personal trolley like here: https://www.bigw.com.au/product/shopping-trolley/p/WCC100000000244409/

wildturkeycanoe 7:55 am 08 May 17

I absolutely agree, this has become an issue for shoppers and it’s making them change the way they shop. The myriad of different trolley sizes and the few, far apart trolley bays are not inspiring people to return the trolley to the store. It must make it difficult for the collectors too, having to pry apart different trolleys to collect the ones belonging to their store.
Another thing making it hard is when people try to pair up incompatible trolleys to get back their coin/token. Sometimes the trolley is lifted up to make the chain reach, so that when the next person tries to release it the tension on the mechanism causes it to jam. Anyone with physical limitations will not be able to get it released, so the whole row becomes unusable.

Perhaps the government, who in its infinite wisdom enforced the strict rules that supermarkets have to adhere to, should have already foreseen the calamity shoppers would be faced with and also applied some kind of standard to which supermarket trolleys need comply with. But as we know, policy makers in Canberra are pretty clueless when it comes to logic and common sense.

Personally, I got sick of finding the bays clogged up by opposing retailers’ trolleys connected back to back. My mobility issues already make returning the trolley all the way back to the store a big ask, so because the car park bays are unusable I had to find another solution. There are devices available on the internet which allow one to unlock any brand of trolley and remove the key without needing another trolley to couple with. They are only a few dollars online and have made life so much easier. No more need to go all the way back to the store because of the mess outside. No need to carry a token that you may not be able to retrieve when at your car. The more people that catch on to this, the more trolleys will be left randomly scattered in the car park. It is already happening. The system is failing, shoppers are disgruntled and trolleys are still being dragged all over the suburbs. I think we need to go back and rethink the whole thing.

bikhet 6:54 am 08 May 17

I hear you Jess. It also seems, at least at Tuggers, you seem to get large collection on trolleys from one retailer in one place, and a similarly large collection from another retailer in a different place.

The difficulty in reclaiming your coin or token is the result of people not thinking through – it this case the government and retailers.

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