These grocery carts are parked in a field near Island Park Towers, upscale rental buildings just west of Island Park Drive along the Ottawa River.
I suspect the building caretakers gather the carts and push them across the street, abandoning them on a dilapidated bit of … city or Ottawa Hydro land.
For a brief time, I resided in Fenwick Towers, a brutal concrete high-rise in Halifax. The views were fabulous. The building inside was dubious, having been started as a luxury tower but bankrupted before completion, and then finished out in Beaver Lumber cheap by the university. This was before cell phones, so residents communicated to each other by going out on the balcony and yelling up or down the building as loud as possible.
Directly across the street was a large Sobey grocery store. Naturally, the carts all migrated from the Sobey’s to the lobby of the Tower. Signs were posted. Warnings were issued. Escalating to dire threats. But still the carts came to Fenwick; and of course no one wanted to wheel an empty cart back to the store because that would advertise that you probably took it in the first place. The need to get
beer groceries home outweighed any social disapproval; the return trip offered no rewards.
Eventually, Sobey’s relied on Market Forces to do the job. The carts cost 25 or 50cents to rent at the store. But if you took a cart from Fenwick, you had one for free, and earned 50cents by returning it. The incentive, like the deposit on wine bottles, was sufficient to cause some members of society to be modestly rewarded for doing good.
Students were genuinely poor back in those days.
So what, I wondered, could Galen Weston do to encourage the return of the carts to their Real Canadian Superstore premises? It should be cheap, and preferably involve no paid labour on Loblaw’s part.