Shopping trolley
Shopping trolleys are found all over shopping areas except the designated slots. Image Credit: Shutterstock

Shopping trolleys, we all use them: very convenient to get the groceries to the car. But there’s a problem. Some shoppers tend to leave them wherever they please. Often beside vehicles.

I’m always worried about that. These trolleys have a life of their own, especially if they roll smoothly. I’m sure some dents on my car could have resulted from runaway shopping carts. So I always move trolleys to the bay and check thoroughly before driving away.

Why are some shoppers careless? Supermarkets provide trolleys to help shoppers, so people have a responsibility to return them to the designated slots.

A deposit scheme for trolleys

But what do I see? Trolleys parked everywhere except the designated bays. I often see supermarket staff searching parking areas to round up trolleys. If shoppers had put them in the trolley areas, supermarket staff could have fetched them easily. And it would help other shoppers waiting for empty carts.

Some carts are found in areas far away from the supermarket. This is the handiwork of residents who find it convenient to wheel the groceries home but are too lazy to bring them back. Supermarkets dread this because trolleys are expensive, and tracking them down in residential areas isn’t easy.

Some years back, a supermarket chain in the UAE used to lock the trolleys. Shoppers would have to insert a Dh1 coin to get the trolley, and they would have to attach it to another cart in the trolley bay to regain the Dh1 coin. It worked well, although some didn’t care about losing one dirham.

Shopping trolleys for residential blocks

Even then, the trolleys would be back at the bay. That’s because the cleaning staff would return them to the designated place so that they could pocket the coin. Which is fine. It’s their remuneration for returning the trolley.

That was before COVID-19 struck. As with many things, the “trolley deposit” scheme too unravelled. It was not enforced after the pandemic. So trolleys are found all over parking areas.

Similar scenes play out in my residential block. The building management provides trolleys to ferry groceries from the parking lot to our apartments. That’s a huge help. Or else, imagine trudging home with heavy bags in both hands.

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That thought is lost on the residents, who leave trolleys at their door, near the lift, and almost anywhere except returning to the original slot. Why do they leave it by their door? I always wonder. Do they expect someone else to do their job? Near the lift? This one really beats me. If they can move it to the lift, why can’t they return it to the original slot? I can’t understand that. Imagine having to wait for a trolley while many lie idle in the corridors of the building.

Trolley littering isn’t trivial. It reflects a deeper malaise: a blatant disregard for public property. If it’s not yours, why bother? That seems to be the thinking. It’s disturbing.

As UAE residents, we have a responsibility to keep public places clean and tidy. That includes public places and parking lots. Returning trolleys to their designated slots keep the area neat and will help a shopper waiting for the trolley. It could be you!