Why do I have to deposit $1 to use a shopping cart?

Really? I need a $1 coin in order to access the convenience of using a shopping cart?

This irks me.

Yes, I understand the logic - in theory. It will incentivize me to return the cart to the little area, so I can get my loonie back. Frankly, I don't really even care about the dollar. Relative to my purchase at this major grocery chain, a dollar would be relatively insignificant. I'm not shopping at a value chain. This is a "frill" I expect.

I am guessing the buck is also meant to stop to those lawless individuals who may steal the carts away. Those individuals would, presumably, amble down the road where there are greener pastures (sans the $1 barrier) for acquiring an empty bottle wagon.

Still image from the film "Carts of Darkness" by Murray Siple.

Be this as it may, my feedback is that the policy is lamentable.

Obviously, I do not carry a purse - I'm a man. I have a change pouch in my car, but there are many occasions where - regrettably - there are no $1 coins in it.

Or perhaps I have forgotten this draconian policy when I get out of my car, only to realize I have to make a decision once I get in there. Do I go back to my car and fish for a dollar? I will be further irritated if my change pouch tells me to 'go fish'. Should I go wait in line and break a bill? What if I have no cash on me, maybe the cashier does cashback for the dollar? There are really no good options here.

Usually, I end up carrying around an extremely heavy basket. There has to be a better way.

I have seen the frustration and anger sweep across fellow customers' faces as the realization washes over them like a foul noxious gas. Panic becomes visible in their eyes as they root through their belongings, muttering profanities mixed in with "are you kidding me?"

If I decide to leave my cart wherever I please when I'm finished with it, that should be my prerogative. You cannot tell me that it's too expensive to hire minimum wage employees to collect them at this recurring revenue mega-facility. You cannot convince me the savings will be passed on to me via prices. You can even charge me a small collection fee at check-out - just don't put me in this ridiculous situation.

by Rick Sturch.

Footnote: While searching for a cover image for this article, I came across 'Carts of Darkness', a really interesting (and free) film on the National Film Board's youtube channel. It's about a group of homeless Vancouver men who race carts, and it highlights some of their difficulties. It's an interesting watch.


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