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On shopping trolleys and human nature

By johnboy 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.

What’s Your opinion?


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On shopping trolleys and human nature
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Deref 7:14 am 02 Jan 12

You people have no imagination.

Instead of electronically-activated wheel locks, how about electronically-activated 20,000 volt shocks, or explosives for morons who are too lazy or too stupid to return their trolleys? Entertaining and effective!

screaming banshee 1:52 pm 01 Jan 12

Postalgeek said :

Not really, especially if you have young kids. Leaving the car you’re carrying one and holding the hand of the other. Returning, you have the kids and umpteen bags of shopping to handle.

Wow (slaps forehead)

Are you seriously that stupid that you cant work out that you walk the trolley out to your car packed with kids and groceries, unload the trolley, walk the empty trolley back in and then walk out with just the kids…..the same way you walked in, or is two trips to the car too much effort. Wow!

Mordd said :

Last month alone I spent $4……as spending the 5 minutes going all the way back in to the shopping centre is not worth the money (1 hour / 5 minutes = $12 ie: less than minimum wage).

Like paying someone to wash your car or mow the lawn, you are outsourcing your trolley return because your time is too valuable. I don’t have an issue with that, there are plenty of things I’m happy to pay someone else to do because although I could do it myself I don’t want. Just don’t bitch about it.

Hellno 1:14 pm 01 Jan 12

I lived for around 18 months in Belgium where every supermarket, yes big and small, had the Aldi style coin operated trolleys. I found it irritating at first, but soon got used to it. No stray trolleys lying around in Belgium. I also had a toddler at the time and never suffered any incovenience in returning the trolley and caring for a toddler. How do the people who have trouble with the toddler/trolley situation cope when filling up with petrol? Presumably you leave your child/ren in the car when you pay for the tank of petrol. I don’t recall seeing anyone unstrapping babies and carrying them into the servo to pay. Same situation surely. (Incidentally, and off-topic, Belgium, like the USA and UK where I have also lived are all pay at the pump so no having to walk away from small children in cars when paying for petrol).

Mumbucks 12:22 am 31 Dec 11

I’ve seen alot of trolleys used the right way. Not all people dump trolleys and vandalize them!

puggy 11:49 pm 30 Dec 11

The arguing about trolleys littering car parks is pointless. That’s not the problem since the tractor trailer collector guys run around at fairly regular intervals. It’s the trolleys left at some considerable distance away (not the ones left in storm water drains) that sit there for days, even after I report them. I still haven’t won any cash on trollertracker either 🙁 It takes much strength not to jump out and dope slap people I see wheeling a trolley home with one or two bags in it. The best I’ve seen is one containing a single bag of groceries…and a back pack.

Mordd 6:16 pm 30 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.

Except the problem is they are often badly located, and then stuffed with non-coin trolleys meaning you have to move the other trolleys out to get yours in and get your coin back – the fault here lies with the supermarket operators not providing enough return points in the first place – while I agree with the general sentiment of this article I place the blame squarely on the supermarket owners. Last month alone I spent $4 (2x $1 and 1x $2) when I was not able to find a trolley point that I could actually get to that was not blocked and had to surrender my money to the supermarket as spending the 5 minutes going all the way back in to the shopping centre is not worth the money (1 hour / 5 minutes = $12 ie: less than minimum wage).

Henry82 4:27 pm 30 Dec 11

Gee all these posts about how tough life is with kids. I wonder how people shopped before cars…. and plastic bags

Postalgeek 1:58 pm 30 Dec 11

p1 said :

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.

While I don’t dispute that it is easier to just dump the trolley, let me ask you this – how did you get to the trolley at the front of Coles in the first place? Did you leave the kids in the car? Whatever method you used coming into the store could presumably also work leaving?

Not really, especially if you have young kids. Leaving the car you’re carrying one and holding the hand of the other. Returning, you have the kids and umpteen bags of shopping to handle.

Line-of-sight rule for me. If I can keep an eye on the kids, I’ll return the shopping trolley to a bay. Helps if you park near one.

Stevian 12:40 pm 30 Dec 11

dpm said :

addicus said :

Maybe a dying industry, but are we working towards destroying a good active entry level job for kids or should we keep looking to Macer’s for our kids to start their working career ?

Most trolley collectors I see are 30+ yo…. Kids nowadays wouldn’t lower themselves to this menial work! They’d choose the dole first.

I’ve haven’t bothered to follow it up, but the safety vests of trolley collectors often have a religious logo, perhaps the are the clients of some charity or other.

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