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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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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.

🙂

Fairdinkum 7:46 am 17 Feb 17

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

Cleob 4:05 am 17 Feb 17

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.

carnardly 11:59 pm 16 Feb 17

storming over and speaking rudely to a person doing their job is not cool.

what do i think??? it’s really a first world problem. i agree with the others – you are not paying for the trolley. and again, if you’d seen the token slots for ages… well you probably should’ve realised it was coming

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.

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?

http://www.tccs.act.gov.au/territory-services/city_rangers/changes_to_shopping_trolley_legislation_litter_act_2004 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

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.

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 ,

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.

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.

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?

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.

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?

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.

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