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Pay for bags, scan my own shopping – now pay for a trolley!?

By Rachel Ziv 16 February 2017 53

trolleys

I’ve been seeing them around for a while now – token slots on Woolworths and Coles shopping trolleys that require a $1 or $2 coin to release the chain. Up until this week I have remained blissfully ignorant of their purpose, having never walked into a store and found them chained up.

Until this week!

As I walked into Woolworths hoping to grab a few things in a hurry there they were – rows of chained trolleys. Not being one to carry around coins (I’m definitely an EFTPOS kind of gal) I rummaged through my bag trying to find one. I found a ton of silver, and then tried in vain to shove 10 and 20 cent coins into the slot while my two year old looked on bemused.

After a few minutes I gave up, threw my arms in the air and exclaimed, “This is ridiculous!”

I grabbed my son’s hand and a basket and walked a few metres before he started complaining of being tired and wanting to sit in the trolley. I explained I couldn’t get a trolley and he got even more upset, at which point I picked him up and attempted to juggle the basket in one arm and him in the other.

Realising this also wasn’t going to work, I became increasingly angry.

I stormed over to the first Woolworths staff member I could see and asked rudely if they planned to hand out $1 and $2 coins so people who live in the 21st Century and use cards instead of cash could access the sacred trolleys. I raved on for a while (and she was very patient), before she finally said, “Please don’t blame us, it’s not our fault.”

Having been a checkout operator many moons ago, my face softened and I said, “I know. They make you do it from head office.”

To which she replied, “No, I mean it’s really not our fault. It’s the ACT Government. They make us pay every time someone dumps a trolley from our store. This is the only solution we had – make people pay and then give their money back when they return it.”

I was shocked. I hadn’t heard anything about it. And after first being asked to pay for my own shopping bags, then (and this infuriates me) contribute to a lack of future generation’s jobs by scanning my own shopping, I am now required to pay for a trolley.

Apparently Aldi has been doing it for ages. They have a token system, where you buy a number of tokens that are also attachable to your keychain so you never forget them. I don’t mind that idea. I certainly wouldn’t have lost the plot if I saw a $5 pack of tokens (worthy of an EFTPOS transaction) instead of being asked to rummage around for a single gold coin.

It makes me sad that this is the way of the future. If (apparently) we can only walk as slow as our slowest community members, then we must all find a dollar in our pockets to compensate for slackos that dump them in the park.

And lots of people stand to lose with this new invention. The lovely Woolworths staff member ended up finding me a trolley and showed me how to chain it up when I was finished. When I did, I saw a $1 coin still sitting in the slot in the trolley in front of mine. Being the first into the collection bay, its driver had nothing to snap it into to release the coin (thereby having to go in search of another trolley, or leave it behind).

The weekly shop is now umpteen more difficult than it ever was when you just had to worry about how to handle your kids and remember everything on your shopping list.

That’s my pout – what are your thoughts on Woolies and Coles’s response to the new shopping trolley legislation? Is there a better solution?


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53 Responses to
Pay for bags, scan my own shopping – now pay for a trolley!?
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Acton 9:08 pm 04 Mar 17

Instead of whinging about it, there is a simple solution:

“One Green Shopping Trolley Unlocking Key
Works with Coles, Woolworths, Costco, Aldi trolleys and majority of front coin slot trolleys that accept $2 coins.
Unlike other tokens, you don’t have to remove it from your keys or leave it in the trolley lock.
Unlock as many trolleys as you wish, simply insert it into the slot and pop it out as soon as the trolley unlocks!
Saves time, no hassle of coins or needing to return the trolley!”

http://www.ebay.com.au/itm/Green-Removable-Shopping-Trolley-Token-Key-Coin-Unlocker/322369793464?_trksid=p2047675.c100005.m1851&_trkparms=aid%3D222007%26algo%3DSIC.MBE%26ao%3D2%26asc%3D20140106155344%26meid%3Da812891625fd4b52a1416f2bd02a607e%26pid%3D100005%26rk%3D4%26rkt%3D4%26mehot%3Dag%26sd%3D132030087841#ht_599wt_1362

wildturkeycanoe 3:27 pm 04 Mar 17

OMG what a mess this scheme has caused!
I went to the mall today for something I can’t get anywhere else [ie. Something Woolies doesn’t stock anymore] and being both wet weather and a Saturday, it was the usual chaos. But, it wasn’t the parking that drove people crazy, it was the trolleys.
With the different types of trolleys and different locking mechanisms, people were having problems getting their coin or token back. The trolleys with the higher baskets do not accept the larger trolleys, unless you place them back to back. This leaves the remaining space in the trolley bay unusable as there won’t be a trolley receptacle within reach for the next one. So, a shopper has to travel to another trolley bay, of which there is usually only one directly opposite. You can’t push it through the gaps between the parked cars to get to the next parking bay, without going all the way to the end and back again. So, people were starting to leave trolleys outside the trolley bay, in empty car spaces and on the end of the parking bays too. There were different brands and types of trolleys connected in all manner of ways, leaving a jumbled mess the trolley collectors would have a great time undoing.
As I went into the shops, an older shopper was trying to work out how to retrieve their $2. None of the stacks of interconnected trolleys would accept his, so he went across to the other side and ended up doing the back-to-back method. Upon leaving the mall, there were another couple of people shuffling trolleys around in the middle of the road, trying to find somewhere to plug in to.
The whole system is a total failure. Sure the trolleys aren’t going walkies all the way to people’s homes, but they are now crowding the car park in twisted masses. For the sake of one or two dollars, people seem to prefer leaving it in the car park rather than walk it all the way back to the store. I’m sure that even the effort of working out the compatibility issues is more efficient than the several hundred meter walk inside and back again. It isn’t the coin or token they mind wasting, it is their time which is much more valuable, so they go for the quickest option which means a center full of trolley chaos.
Incidentally, I saw a couple of trolleys on my way home far removed from the confines of the mall, so the system obviously hasn’t prevented the issue it was supposed to remedy. Maybe they need to try something else, or at least make all the trolleys have a standardized lock and the ability to shunt correctly with any other brand.

TuggLife 3:20 pm 21 Feb 17

Bonkers said :

But I’ve also got an anecdote about a trick I saw when doing a shop. I’m not endorsing it, as frankly with my little free plastic substitute I don’t have a problem with having a trolley return system as it means they don’t end up in the lake/waterways/my front yard. So I won’t provide details, but will give some hints.

Searching some key words on eBay will yield a result for about $3.99, including postage. Handy for wandering around the carpark and earning some money from the ones that people have decided it’s worth a gold coin not to walk back to the trolley corral.

I will return my trolleys to the corral, and the circumstances with which I return them (I’m not saying leave your trolleys lying about – that’s a dick move – but I think these locks infantilise us.)

Bonkers 1:18 am 21 Feb 17

I needed to do a bit of a party run at one of the local booze places (1st Choice I think, but it was a while ago, so don’t quote me). They gave me a plastic token, free of charge, same size as a $1 coin, but about 1/3 the thickness and weighs three parts of nothing which permanently lives in my wallet for shopping occasions.

But I’ve also got an anecdote about a trick I saw when doing a shop. I’m not endorsing it, as frankly with my little free plastic substitute I don’t have a problem with having a trolley return system as it means they don’t end up in the lake/waterways/my front yard. So I won’t provide details, but will give some hints.

Several years ago I was looking to get a baby seat trolley which was buried deep within the pile of trolleys and didn’t have change (and was pre plastic substitute). I went to the help desk and explained that I needed help getting to the trolley in question, as it was pretty difficult trying to juggle coins, move multiple trolleys, etc while wrangling a 12 month old, and they came to the rescue.

The helper in question pulled out “a device” (possibly from Officeworks or somewhere similar, and possibly used for holding bulky amount of paper together. That’s all I’m going to say). With a very quick movement, he was able to detach the trolley (and remove “the device”) just before the baby carrier and move the other trolleys out. Using the same quick movement, he detached the baby trolley (again retaining “the device”) and got it out for me, before shoving the original trolleys back in and re-attaching.

Dead set legend. I should point out that the device in question is far bulkier than any coin, let alone a plastic token, but I got the impression that it wasn’t the first time he had to do it, and it was easier to pull “the device” from a drawer to do the job rather than having to wait for an open till to give me a hand.

Maya123 10:40 am 20 Feb 17

bruce_lord said :

Am I the only one who feels sorry for the Carp in Lake Tuggeranong?

Many years of evolution has the carp treating the submerged shopping trolleys near McDonald’s just like a Clown Fish does the great barrier reef.

Actually there was a half submerged trolley in Lake Tuggeranong about 50 meters from shore. That gave me an inkling of just how shallow certain parts of that Lake is.

I went out to one of the islands once in Lake Tuggeranong and I was able to walk about halfway there before I needed to swim. Yes, it is shallow.

ungruntled 11:10 pm 19 Feb 17

There’d be no need for people to put a deposit in the trolly before using it, if so many of them were not taken from the shop where they are to be used, but taken home like they were someone else’s personal property.

I’m fully in favour of this way of stopping the suburbs being littered with trollies.

There is, by the way, no cost in a fully refundable deposit.

bruce_lord 11:38 am 18 Feb 17

Am I the only one who feels sorry for the Carp in Lake Tuggeranong?

Many years of evolution has the carp treating the submerged shopping trolleys near McDonald’s just like a Clown Fish does the great barrier reef.

Actually there was a half submerged trolley in Lake Tuggeranong about 50 meters from shore. That gave me an inkling of just how shallow certain parts of that Lake is.

buzz819 8:01 am 18 Feb 17

Rollersk8r said :

This is not a new thing. There was another post about the inconsistency of this system – and there definitely does seem to be loopholes. Coles seem to be largely immune to these rules, with no coin required at Kaleen, Belco or Gungahlin. In fact – we usually grab a Coles trolley to do our Aldi shop at Belc/Gung. Otherwise, the Aldi key tag works on all trolleys that require a coin.

Furthermore, in the last few years I’ve probably made $20 from people too lazy to return the trolley to the collection bay.

I’m guessing you haven’t been to any of these three shops this week? They ALL have them

13dougo13 10:27 pm 17 Feb 17

Im not here to burst your bubble, but there are countries where they are just trying to survive , we are blessed. regardless of our situation

13dougo13 10:19 pm 17 Feb 17

sometimes its just nice to be a part of the ‘lower south’

octagonalman 10:15 pm 17 Feb 17

Maya123 said :

Fairdinkum said :

Unfortunately though, a few people don’t have credit cards for that to be acceptable.

Hmm I don’t think there’s any inherent right to use a shopping trolley. People get chased for not returning baskets upon leaving the store. The goalposts for acceptable behaviour can be moved. People can dump their own shopping jeeps in the stormwater drain… I mean majestic Yarralumla Creek.

Maya123 10:12 pm 17 Feb 17

Himeno said :

Maya123 said :

If the supermarkets introduced an incentive for people to report stolen trolleys; whether they are on someone’s front lawn, or in a creek, there would still be work for some trolley collectors to go retrieve the trolleys. Perhaps for each trolley reported, the person reporting where the trolley is, could go into a draw each month for free groceries.

Funny you say that.
http://trolleytracker.com.au/

I guess you haven’t seen the posters about it at the fronts of many supermarkets?

No I haven’t. I should give them a challenge and report the trolley or multiple trolleys in the storm water drain under Manuka. I’m not sure by the mess though that they would be keen to go and get them.

Himeno 9:17 pm 17 Feb 17

Maya123 said :

If the supermarkets introduced an incentive for people to report stolen trolleys; whether they are on someone’s front lawn, or in a creek, there would still be work for some trolley collectors to go retrieve the trolleys. Perhaps for each trolley reported, the person reporting where the trolley is, could go into a draw each month for free groceries.

Funny you say that.
http://trolleytracker.com.au/

I guess you haven’t seen the posters about it at the fronts of many supermarkets?

Himeno 9:09 pm 17 Feb 17

Cleob said :

Not sure where in Canberra you are shopping but we have been paying for trolleys at Kippax for a couple of years now. Both Aldi and Woolworths trolleys need coins or tokens. Not really any more inconvenient than bringing your own bags. I have an aldi token and make a habit of leaving a couple of coins in the car’s ashtray.

In cases like that, the installation of the locks to the Coles/Woolworths trolleys was due to Aldi having always had trolley locks and people going to the neighboring Coles/Woolworths and taking one of theirs instead of using the Aldi trolley.

Himeno 9:06 pm 17 Feb 17

GCS14 said :

Himeno said :

Now, the government is fining the store. Any trolley the government finds outside the shopping center carpark. results in a $7,500 fine if it has a lock and $45,000 if it doesn’t. Per trolley.

That’s pretty steep. Got a source for that?

The memo read out by the store manager at work on Monday morning when the instruction came through that we had to start locking the trolleys.

Anyway, people have already started destroying trolleys over this. The collectors bought back 2 to the store today to show the manager. 1 had had the lock box snapped off, bottom half still attached with the push bar bent. Another had the bar snapped.

Valleyboy 5:14 pm 17 Feb 17

The Lanyon shops have a Woolworths and an Aldi, about 100 metres apart. The Aldi has had coin-deposit trolleys since forever as part of its cost-cutting model. It’s been common to see people bringing Woolworths trolleys into the Aldi store – if you see someone wheeling around a half-depth trolley in Aldi, it’s from Woolworths, because Aldi don’t have them. Now it might be easier to get a half-depth trolley at Woolworths if people can’t bring one over to Aldi and leave it in the Aldi car park without cost.

While at the Lanyon shops today, I saw few trolleys around where I was parked towards the McDonalds end of the car park. Maybe people are returning the trolleys at Woolworths’ entrance and carrying their groceries in bags to their cars.

Holden Caulfield 12:25 pm 17 Feb 17

650+ words for an all-purpose whinge to explain that something that’s not the supermarkets’ fault when it is actually their fault.

I get that paying for trolleys is a drag, but seeing washed up trolleys dumped all over the place is also a drag. Rightly or wrongly it’s been decided that the supermarkets should be responsible for their trolleys when dumped off-site and given that nothing else has worked to date we need to see if this cash-for-trolley concept works. The fact it has been so widely implemented elsewhere tends to suggest it will.

geetee 10:53 am 17 Feb 17

When I was in Adelaide a few weeks back, the trolleys are free to use (Coles was the only supermarket there) but a GPS-type system attached to each trolley makes the wheels lock up if customers try to take them beyond the shopping centre car-park perimeter.

Wonder if the OP was at Woolworths Woden the other day as I saw an assistant trying to explain this new procedure to a loud, overwrought customer…

Maya123 10:30 am 17 Feb 17

Fairdinkum said :

Wonder if this will make shopping trolley collectors loose their job as their work will now become redundant.

There will still be those who will think nothing of wasting a dollar coin and still dump the trolley, so still work for trolley collectors. After all, some people waste money on fags and the like, so what’s an extra dollar to them! Octagonalman’s $50 suggestion would likely work; though it probably wouldn’t need to be that high to work. I bet $10 would work; maybe even $5. Unfortunately though, a few people don’t have credit cards for that to be acceptable. But one day we may have a $5 coin. If you return the trolley it won’t cost you anything.

If the supermarkets introduced an incentive for people to report stolen trolleys; whether they are on someone’s front lawn, or in a creek, there would still be work for some trolley collectors to go retrieve the trolleys. Perhaps for each trolley reported, the person reporting where the trolley is, could go into a draw each month for free groceries.

I am surprised that there aren’t people offering to return trolleys in exchange for the dollar coin. Overseas I have had this happen to me. A nuisance though, being approached.

Maya123 9:57 am 17 Feb 17

octagonalman said :

Perhaps it’d be better to have a system where it takes a $50 deposit (like Melbourne Bike Share) on your payment card. That way there’d be real incentive to return the trolley and you don’t need coins.

🙂

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