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?