Shopping Smart and Safe

Image source: photo by Gustavo Fring via pexels


A friend that I usually talk to in months always gives the impression that she’s the busiest person on this planet, making me wonder if other people on Earth are out of work. Speaking of being busy, we all have too many tasks to handle in a 24 hour window frame. I think I would have been able to plan my schedule a little better if the day had just a couple of extra hours. When classes are in session, my son, a rising junior, tells me every Friday that the weekend for him is going to be very busy with lots of school work. So I once asked him if he had a different story to narrate because he was not telling me anything new.

It’s true that in our daily agenda there is a long list of chores to complete, and we tend to overlook certain responsibilities in a hurry. The readymade explanation is that we are racing against time. However, there are instances when we avoid doing tasks because of sheer indifference or laziness. Something that may take just a minute to accomplish is avoided just because of a callous attitude. At times, a small act of negligence ends up in a situation with wide, unpleasant ramifications. A common sight is that of a shopper loading the grocery bags into the trunk of a car and then driving away, leaving the shopping cart haphazardly in the parking lot. The possible outcome is that of the cart hitting another car, thus causing a dent or a nasty scratch. Most times, the owner of the damaged vehicle does not even know who the culprit is. The next step is to either drive away disgruntled or contact the store and insurance company. There is absolutely no guarantee that the problem will be handled as per the customer’s satisfaction. Most shopping complexes have cart corrals for the convenience of shoppers, yet these utility vehicles are often not kept in the designated area and are chaotically strewn all over.

An article I read a long time ago drew an apt comparison: “If the parking lots of suburbia were the seas, the shopping carts would be the sharks”. An abandoned cart can truly amount to a big nuisance. Besides crashing against vehicles, it may even hit walkers passing by.

Having witnessed the shopping cart menace, I was particularly impressed by the ALDI idea. I had never visited this supermarket prior to 2014 when I had stepped in to buy fruits while on vacation in Chicago, Illinois. With headquarters in Essen, Germany and close to 10,000 stores in 18 countries, this leading global discount supermarket has a unique way of handling shopping carts. A shopper needs to pay twenty five cents to get a cart and, after loading the groceries, can return the cart and get the quarter back. So unless one is extremely lazy or forgetful, he’ll make sure to return the cart to the proper area and retrieve the quarter. In the process, the risk of a stray cart hitting another vehicle is minimized. The store employees too are spared the agony of dealing with wrangling carts. The idea is simple yet innovative.

In Spring 2015, Forbes reported that by perfecting its own store brands portfolio and by providing a unique shopping experience, ALDI was a major force on the verge of changing the grocery retailing landscape. It was perceived as a growing threat to America’s grocery retailers. Well, retailing is a different issue altogether, but handling shopping carts the ALDI way is definitely a neat and smart way to be considered.


  1. I like shopping at Aldi’s for that reason, and they are improving their supply of organics as well! Good post, Rashmi! I am with you on the abandoned shopping carts. I have even returned ones that were not mine on occasion. It’s hard to believe anyone is that busy or that lazy!

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