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

By Rachel Ziv - 16 February 2017 53


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?

What’s Your opinion?

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53 Responses to
Pay for bags, scan my own shopping – now pay for a trolley!?
Vix 6:16 pm
16 Feb 17

I regularly shop at Woolies in Dickson and always wonder about the beggars there… not just the ones that are talking on their mobiles while having a ciggie … but more the fact that a lot of people would probably be willing to ‘pay’ $1 or $2 to have someone help with their groceries and return the trolley – while I am occasionally a sucker for some beggars I would have thought many of them are missing out on a ‘business’ idea…

thatsnotme 6:24 pm
16 Feb 17

Kippax have had this system in place for years now, and it’s great. No longer do you see an empty car park, go to pull in, only to realise that someone’s left a trolley sitting in the middle of it.

Here’s a pro tip for you though. If you’re short a dollar coin, just head into the self service registers, and do a $1 cash out. You don’t pay any fees, and although their default options are for larger amounts you can key in your own amount. I’ve done this a few times when I’ve been caught out, works brilliantly.

jesse 6:59 pm
16 Feb 17

I agree that supermarkets needed to do something to rid the ‘burbs of discarded trolleys, but they need to take one more step,
I have lost several dollars after trying to return large trolleys to the holding bay, only to find small trolleys in the bay making it impossible for my trolley chain to reach the coin return apparatus because I can’t push the trolley in far enough. Would a 2nd lane for smaller trolleys be possible?
I’ve resorted to online grocery shopping and it’s saving me money with fewer impulse buys.

Canberragirl1 7:07 pm
16 Feb 17

I feel your pain and frustration and completely sympathise with those who have young children, have additional needs or are elderly. I too have experienced discontent at the pay shopping trolley situation… out to do my week.y groceries at Belconnen, with no change on hand to get a trolley I went to an atm and withdrew cash, then had to break the notes to get coins… saying to myself “Oh well I guess I will have to ensure I have coins in the future.” However on completion of shopping, I went to return my trolley in a carpark bay, which had an Aldi trolley in it, so mine didn’t fit. Ok the next bay was for Coles trolleys, it would of been fine except the last Coles trolley in it was the smaller variety and mine was larger so it didn’t fit, the third bay had a Kmart trolley in it, again mine didn’t fit… yes 4th try lucky. Why didn’t I just forgo my gold coin? Well maybe once or twice that would be Ok, but I’m not the only one who can’t afford to ‘hire’ a trolley each time I shop? I did speak to the store manager who advised me to buy a device from the key cutting place which accesses all trolleys. Seriously though, if they are going to introduce this why can’t the stores get their act together and make all trolleys the same size so they can all be returned to any bay? Hmm local IGA is looking more appealing.

Himeno 7:39 pm
16 Feb 17

It’s been coming for a while when they started installing the locks on the trolleys. When that started, no one had any idea why the locks had started appearing. Found out this last Monday what the deal was (after all the remaining trolleys without locks were removed from the store on Friday afternoon pending locks being installed).

It’s caused by the government with another update to the 2004 Litter Act. Before (under the 2011 amendments), every trolley had to have a sticker identifying which store owned it, so the store could be contacted to come remove it should any be found outside that shopping centers carpark.
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.

LadyxBec 8:34 pm
16 Feb 17

I lost all sympathy the moment you admitted being rude to and ranting at a staff member. No matter how irritated you are that’s not ok.
I get it can be a bit annoying to not have coins, but seriously I think you need to relax a bit and just either carry a single coin or get a token.

GCS14 8:44 pm
16 Feb 17

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?

wildturkeycanoe 9:14 pm
16 Feb 17

I am all for the security measures but having to drag the trolley across the car park looking for somewhere to collect your $1 token is not worth the effort. As explained already, there is no standard, so without going back to the store your chances of finding a suitable key is not so good. More trolleys will end up left on traffic islands and footpaths, especially on hot or rainy days. I guess the beggars will just make their money returning abandoned trolleys to their owners.

wildturkeycanoe 9:38 pm
16 Feb 17

bd84 said :

You can leave your kids in the car for the 1 minute it takes to walk your trolley to the trolley bays. They will not die in that time.

But they can be kidnapped? Also, it can take a lot longer than 1 minute to get your trolley all the way back to the store, as in the case of Kippax, which has no trolley bays in the car park. You first have to cross the street and go inside the store, so you now have lost sight of your kids, something you should never do. If the car has been out in the sun while you were shopping, it could be a nice 50 plus degrees in there. You can’t obviously leave the engine running to cool them either, so there isn’t another option but to drag them with you all the way back to the store. Some trolley bays in the car park would go a long way to making it a more pleasant experience.
Tonight I noticed that there were only about twenty trolleys left in the store at Kippax, what happened to them all?

Barron 9:45 pm
16 Feb 17

The Government does charge for trolleys off the environs of the supermarkets but there are far more effective ways of controlling trolleys being taken outside of an area. One is a lock wheel system. Simply what it does is lock a wheel if you go beyond a line around the area determined by the trolley owner.
There are two reasons the supermarkets won’t use this:
The first is cost. This system is not cheap but is far more effective than paying 35 cents to use a trolley if you don’t return it.
The second is they still have to have trolley collectors where as with the “return to get your token/money back” system the shopper does most of that work.
You can buy any number devices that can be pulled out after the chain is released online. As there is not intent to defraud (you get your money back anyway) they do not damage the coin system in any way (the system is very primitive and most devices are made of plastic) and the supermarkets will all tell you are not being charged to use the trolley there would seem to be no law broken in using them. Children or young adults may see these devices as a way to remove trolleys and take them off site.
Why bother when you can get a device for 35 cents from Woolworths and it may well stop your car from being damaged by trolleys that get left near your car by people who seem to think the instant they leave a car parking space it becomes a trolley collection point?
The one area of this that must be addressed by the supermarkets is properly convenient bays for the return of trolleys especially for older people who find pushing a trolley up a hill difficult.

cross 9:48 pm
16 Feb 17

I wonder if the bureaucrats are under estimating the Bogans resolve to be Bogans I,m sure they are not beyond busting open a lock. But I can’t help feeling there is another lost opportunity for employing our kids along with the self serve checkouts and with all these cost saving measures I,m pretty sure the price of my groceries are’nt any cheaper but I guess the shareholders are happy.

gazket 10:34 pm
16 Feb 17

The ACT gov causing more inconvenience to your day . No doubt the pollies get Woolies/Coles home shopping and never get to experience the shortfalls of the stupid idea. Then we need too pay a committee to experience it for them and report back in 6 months ,

Maya123 10:45 pm
16 Feb 17

Rachel Ziv wrote, “Pay for bags”
! ! ! !
Only if you don’t take bags with you. I have never paid for a bag.

Steven91 10:51 pm
16 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? failure to ensure trolleys remain in shopping centre precentor results in a fine equivalent to 60 units where one unit is $550 so that’s $33,000. However if a containment system exists (lock boxes) this does not apply

octagonalman 11:33 pm
16 Feb 17

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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