Loblaws has an outlet in Westboro called the Real Canadian Superstore. And we all know Real Canadians don’t complain. But we apparently do steal shopping carts. They show up all over the neighborhood:
The RCSS in Westboro recently got a fleet of new carts. The half-size carts in particular are a welcome alternative to the tractor-trailer sized ones the dominate the store and invite you to load ’em up with more stuff than you need and then clip the heels of the fatigued shopper ahead of you..
The new carts have wheel brakes on them. Once you leave the parking lot, the brakes come on and the cart stays on the property. Works great, as far as I can see, in the back 40 (-acre parking lot).
But out front, where the cyclists and pedestrians and transit users frequent the store, the story is different. Instead of the carts coagulating around the bus stop and bike racks, many of them ‘freeze up’ right at the foot of the ramp down to the sidewalk. I realize this is probably the actual property line, but it isn’t where people want to take them (even if you aren’t trying to take one home).
Nonetheless, I see people drag them over to the bus shelter (hint: you can’t push them with the brakes on, but you can drag them, much like a recalcitrant four-year old). So despite the locking brakes, the carts now litter the entire trail over to the shelter. I see people get off the bus, and grab a cart to take with them back towards the store. But wait, they won’t roll, so they get left behind as sidewalk litter. Even the carts right at the foot of the ramp won’t move, and this is just outside the store doors.
The result is that people of good will are thwarted, the carts linger outside longer, Loblaws has to depend on an employee with an unlocking gizmo to go collect the carts, and shoppers often have to walk the whole width of the store to get a fresh cart from the inside display, conveniently located half way to the parking lot. Hmm.
I lived for a short time in Fenwick Towers, the Dalhousie U residence in Halifax. There was a giant Sobey’s right across the street. Carts, of course, ended up more in the lobby and entrance way of Fenwick than in the parking lot. The solution: a coin deposit to ‘borrow’ a cart. For the sake of earning 25c, impoverished students would take the carts back to Sobey’s. Problem solved.
I wonder if Galen Weston could work with the Real Canadian shoppers and figure out a win-win solution.