Tuesday, May 04, 2010

The Evolution of the Shopping Cart

The supermarket shopping cart hasn’t changed much over the years. Aside from the chopped version that recently appeared on the scene, the venerable stainless steel cart has remained unchanged for fifty years. Until now that is.

Last week when Peanut and I stopped into the Giant on Centre Park Drive we couldn’t find any of the small plastic hand baskets. There was a reason for this. They’d been replaced with a new hybrid basket that is really a cross between the wheeled cart and the hand basket.

Peanut liked wheeling around the two wheeled basket. I like it because I often found the old hand basket too small but the cart too big for my average grocery trip.

I’m also beginning to get the hang of the handheld scanners that Giant has introduced in some stores. The first couple of times I tried the handheld device I got frustrated at the checkout line because, like many guys, I didn’t read the instructions.

Nowadays I’m a regular scan man.

15 comments:

Dave W said...

We love the hand-held scanner. It is such a great feeling bagging the items as we go through store knowing when we get ready to check out, everything is already bagged and we can essentially leave shortly we pick up our last item instead of waiting for all our items to be put in bags.

We stopped going to Giant for a while when Harris Teeter opened up, mostly due to poor customer service at Giant. The hand-held self-scanner was a main reason we started going back to Giant again since it made grocery shopping much more convenient and one thing Harris Teeter should really think about implementing.

six-ft-seven said...

My male insecurity had me avoiding the "mini carts" or these new "bas-karts" like the plague, for fear that my man card would be taken away if I was caught using them. I'm slowly getting over it, though.

One design flaw I found with these new "bas-karts" at the C.P. Giant was that, as soon as you stack two or more at the self-serve checkouts in the little storage spot between the checkstand and the magazine rack, they stick out into the aisle, creating a tripping hazard, because the depth of two or more prevents them from fitting cleanly under the cantilevered tray on which you rest them while you're scanning. Oops...

six-ft-seven said...

By the way, the Chatham Giant is finally getting self-serve checkout and hand-held scanners (and, presumably, bas-karts) now that it is being remodeled, according to some of the (none-to-happy) cashiers we spoke to there.

Big coincidence how Giant ignored that store for the last 30 years (oh yeah, they did take out the seafood counter a few years ago), but, within months of Harris Teeter signing the lease at Turf Valley, they're suddenly Johnny-on-the-spot with the Extreme Market Makeover crew...

Anonymous said...

Thank goodness the carts are getting smaller. Now can we start talking about making the food containers smaller on everything from strawberries to soup?

Freemarket said...

It looks like a laundry basket with wheels.

The Food Lion in Woodbine has carts that have two levels, but they are shorter than a regular cart. They hold just as much but are much more maneuverable than a traditional cart.

Sarah said...

I love the self-scanner because then I can just put stuff in my bags as I go along (rather than put it in a basket, then bag it). Plus, when I remember to bring my reuseable bags, the cashiers don't have to fumble with them.

Anonymous said...

Being hand-held scanner illiterate, let me ask a question. What would prevent anyone from scanning one item and bagging two?
HH

wordbones said...

Honesty.

-wb

Sarah said...

Also, they do audits once in a while, so the possibility you'll get caught.

Anonymous said...

I guarantee those stores are not relying on customer honesty.

Sharon said...

With the invention of internet, our shopping carts have become invisible. Being a frugal buyer, I prefer to shop online, especially through cash back portals like Bing, ShopAtHome and AAfter Search.

nicole said...

This blog was really helpful….thanks everyone!!


Dubrovnik Apartments

Jen said...

I love the mini-cart. Trader Joe's needs more of them. It's like navigating a construction site moving through their store with a large cart.

Anonymous said...

I am considering one of the online grocery delivery services. It was about $10 to deliver a few items that might be needed mid-week. Beats getting up at 6am on the weekend to shop or risk traffic and lines which I avoid like the plague any day of the week.

Anonymous said...

There's a motion detector at every self-checkout point, and another in the bagging area. They do a quick comparison on your movements and your items.

There's also a camera pointed at you.

And a person watching you.

Still, I'm sure all of these stores have already budgeted for a 2-4 percent loss rate...but you're saving money for them by checking your self out, probably at a 6-9 percent rate, so they have a net gain. Employees are their biggest cost.

Somebody should track these numbers down.

I, personally, like checking out my own groceries, shorter lines and not have to wait for somebody else.

BTW, WB, a series of good posts lately. Thanks.