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