First off, please resist the temptation to think, This blogger guy has too much time on his hands.
That thought denigrates the important subject of this post -- how I feel about the shopping carts at three stores in south Salem (Oregon version, not to be confused with the copycat Salem in Massachusetts; sure, the Massachusetts Salem came first historically, but we Oregonians consider ourselves superior to every other state because... well, just because).
Yes, there are more important issues in the world.
But I'm the designated weekly grocery shopper in our two-person household, our dog being incapable, or unwilling, to perform any useful chore other than lying on her back and wagging her tail in a Pat Me signal.
And I consider that a quality shopping cart is an important contributor to the quality of my shopping experience. So I've taken photos of the carts at Trader Joe's, Fred Meyer, and LifeSource Natural Foods -- my habitual three grocery store stops -- and will comment on my feelings about each.
(Strangely, I Googled "grocery store shopping carts rated" and didn't find any hits on the first few results pages similar to this post. So either I really do have too much time on my hands, or people who care as deeply about the quality of shopping carts as I do don't have blogs.)
Trader Joe's has excellent medium size shopping carts. I like the energetic color. There's very little difference between the carts. Meaning, none I've used has had a bumpy wheel or other deformity. And there's zero problem pulling them out of the stack of carts, unlike the carts at the next store, which would go nameless if it wasn't called Fred Meyer.
Also, I've never found a used napkin, grocery list, plastic bag, or other leftovers from a previous shopper in a Trader Joe's cart. Either shoppers at this store are more neat and considerate than shoppers at other stores, or an employee clears debris from the carts (I'm guessing the former).
This is a Fred Meyer shopping cart. I was kind of disappointed that it looks so good, because until recently Fred Meyer had some horrible carts. I was looking forward to insulting them, but it appears that Fred Meyer has replaced the bumpy, squeaky, misshapen, disgusting carts that used to irritate me.
That said, there's still some things that irk me about the carts at Fred Meyer, though maybe the new carts don't have this particular drawback: getting stuck in the line of carts. Usually this was due to a strap on the fold down thingie at the back of the cart getting attached to the cart in front of it.
After yanking on the handle of a cart and finding it stuck, often I'd move on to another row of carts because I didn't want to take the time to unstick it (needed to save my time to write a blog post about how this irritates me).
Also, Fred Meyer has more stuff left in its carts than any other store I visit regularly. I'll throw away an advertising circular, but I draw the line at a used facial tissue or other obnoxious leftover. So even with the new carts, Fred Meyer is at the bottom of my ratings. The gray color is too utilitarian for my taste (cheapest color, though, according to a purveyor of shopping carts).
LifeSource Natural Foods has my favorite shopping cart. It is very similar to the Trader Joe's cart, but I prefer the calming green color. Nice fit for a store that has "natural" in its name.
The carts are high quality with no discernible problems. I feel good pushing one around, using my non-patented "leave it and walk" technique that I also use at Trader Joe's and Fred Meyer.
It doesn't make sense to me to push a cart down the length of an aisle just to pick one item off a shelf and put it in the cart. Instead, I prefer to leave my cart at the end of an aisle, then walk to get the item and bring it back to the cart. This keeps the aisle free of one more cart, though I have to admit it leaves another area filled with an extra cart.
So overall my shopping cart ratings are:
(1) LifeSource Natural Foods
(2) Trader Joe's
(3) Fred Meyer
I like the smaller double basket carts at Safeway. They are perfect if what you're getting is more than what a hand basket will carry, but not enough to fill the full size carts.
I wish more stores would adopt them.
Posted by: Steimy Stein | December 09, 2018 at 09:48 PM
i like the little ones at LifeSource the best.
Posted by: Aileen P. Kaye | December 09, 2018 at 09:54 PM
Thank you for mentioning debris left in the basket. This seems to be a South Salem trait, especially at Life Source.
May I suggest another topic, also related to shopping: the courtesy (or lack thereof) shown by shoppers who push by, or reach over, and generally show a lack of courtesy to other shoppers? Again, another South Salem trait?
Posted by: veeper | December 10, 2018 at 05:40 AM
I disagree with a comment on FB which excoriates you for choosing this important topic. Anyone who has ever visited Walmart knows about the ubiquity of their carts with bent and damaged wheels, veritable cripples that make a loud whomp-whomp sound as you sheepishly make your way down the aisles. I once thought this was from customer use, but then I saw how the cart boys handle them. Disgraceful, and if a future Society for the Prevention of Cart Abuse (SPCA) ever forms there will be a reckoning.
Speaking of cart boys and girls, they are the reason the carts at Freddy’s are always soaked when it rains. When I arrived the cart stock was low and it was raining outside. Then, I noticed two young employees walking around the store together with bright yellow vests trying to look like they were doing something important. You know the game. A serious mein, a purposeful stride, with knowing asides to one another. In the grocery business, employees on the floor usually work alone unless being briefly directed by a supervisor. By the time I finished shopping with my wet cart, the supply had been replenished, and those two boys were forlornly wrangling carts in the rain. Guess a supervisor caught up to them.
At Winco, paper towels are provided for wiping down the carts and they have a motorized mule for cart retrieval. This allows a truly massive line of carts that brings vehicle traffic to a halt while the “herd” is gathered from various cart corrals and brought under cover. Life in Cartland is varied and exciting!
Posted by: Norm Baxter | December 10, 2018 at 09:14 AM
What irks me more than types of cart or something left in it-- People who don't return their carts to the proper place. I've watched, when hubby has done the shopping, how many elderly and those who aren't in the greatest of shape-- return their carts. Then come those with plenty of energy, middle years, who can't be bothered. I always feel like going over and saying-- put it away as it makes some store employee have to do more work to retrieve it. This is not an official poll, but women in their middle years, who look like they work out at a gym, are the worst offenders!
Posted by: Rain Trueax | December 10, 2018 at 11:43 AM
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Just kidding. Ignore the above. It's a teeny attempt at a teeny prank. Blogger knows what it's about.
What people need to do is follow me to the carts and let me grab one first because I often choose the defective one. Also, if you see me heading to a particular checkout line, go to a different line. I usually get the slowest line with somebody who has an issue with an item or paying which causes a delay in the process while they call the manager.
In my area we have Natural Grocers (among all the other players). It is one of the few places where I always get a cart that actually rolls smoothly, steers straight and without used snot tissues and melted candy smeared on it.. until now that I've said it.
Posted by: tucson | December 11, 2018 at 05:17 PM