When you stop by the grocery store to pick up some food for your family, you probably take for granted that there will be a shopping cart waiting for you. Made from metal, these carts feature wheels that can move across the flooring in the store without sticking and have plenty of space for all the food you pick out. These carts also have a small front basket that helps you keep an eye on your child as you shop and a shelf on the bottom for storing extra packages. Even if you worked in retail before, there are some things you may not know about these carts.
Most grocery stores use an honor system that lets you use a cart for free, but some stores want to cut down on costs and now use new types of carts. ALDI requires that you put a quarter in the cart, which unlocks it from any others in that row. When you bring the cart back, you get your quarter back. Other stores use electrical systems that monitor the location of the cart. If someone tries to take it out of the parking lot, the system will put the brakes on the shopping cart casters to keep that cart from moving any further.
It Almost Failed
The man who invented the shopping cart owned a grocery store and grew tired of seeing customers fill their baskets and then leave. He thought that giving them a basket that had more space inside would encourage them to keep shopping until they filled their carts. Though he launched the carts in his store, most walked by without trying one. It wasn’t until he paid people to wander around the store and push the carts that others began using them.
Future of Shopping Carts
If you’re lucky enough to live in one of the test markets used by Whole Foods, you might get the chance to try out one of the newest shopping carts for yourself. These carts have an internal motor and will actually follow along with you as you do your shopping. You can download an app at home and upload your shopping list to the app. A device on the cart helps you keep track of that list. These newer carts can even register everything you place inside and automatically charge a card you registered.
Many people take for granted that they can use shopping carts when doing a little shopping. The original carts, which were simple baskets with wheels on the bottom, look quite different from those found today. When you head to the store, think about some of these fun facts as you do your shopping.