The attached picture speaks for itself regarding the hardships faced by the trolley boys of supermarkets and hypermarkets. Whilst all of these stores have a strict policy not to allow trolleys beyond the parking area, the policy begins and ends with a notice on the wall.
I have witnessed the security staff requesting the customers not to take the trolleys beyond the parking area and into their houses but their requests are ignored and the customer pushes the trolley all the way to their house with only a minuscule percentage of them returning them to the store after their use. The store staff do not insist too much for not wanting to upset the customer who thinks it is their right to take the filled up trolleys to their homes. The result is the morning sight of hapless trolley boys going around buildings in the vicinity, gathering all the trolleys taken by customers and then eventually push them all the way back to the store.
Difficult and dangerous
People taking care of trolleys from their various stores have to go around the buildings in a radius of one or more kilometres and collect all the trolleys. They push a convoy of more than 10 to 15 trolleys all the way back the store which requires lot of effort, affects the health of these trolley boys and is dangerous especially on the main roads.
From the customers’ point of view, getting the grocery filled trolleys all the way to their homes would save them the effort of carrying the grocery bags in hand to their homes and also save them taxi fare. With such an advantage, the shoppers should have the basic decency to return the trolleys to the store once they have unloaded the groceries at their houses. It takes half the effort of pushing a filled up trolley to return them. Such a humane gesture would go a long way in easing up the burden on the trolley boys.
Policies that might help
One way to deter this practice would be for the store to collect a deposit for taking the trolleys beyond the parking area or ask the customer to keep their ID and insist on the trolleys being brought back in order to claim the deposit or ID back. Another way would be for the supermarket to assign a trolley boy to those who want to take the trolleys to their homes and charge a fee which should be given to the trolley boy for this efforts.
It is high time that the supermarkets, authorities and of course the customers should come up with a solution to this hardship faced by the trolley boys. Sincerely hope that the shoppers would become humane and empathetic towards the trolley boys especially during the hot summer months.
The reader is an operations manager based in Ajman
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