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Shopping cart return program (1) Fri, Dec 30, 2005
ShopRite has been utilizing an amazing shopping cart return program for years:  Use a quarter to get a cart; get your quarter back when you return the cart.  It's unbelievable how well this works.  You insert your quarter into a machine on the cart's handle, and this unlocks the cart from the stack.  You do your shopping and load all your stuff in your car.  Then you return the cart to the stack by inserting the lock back into the machine on the handle.  Your quarter pops out.  Just visit any ShopRite parking lot to see how well it works.  All the carts are in stacks and in cages.  There are no stray carts in the entire parking lot. 

I bet this idea received some pretty harsh criticism when it was brought up at some big, important ShopRite meeting.  "So you really believe people would go through the trouble of walking across a parking lot in the freezing cold so they could get their quarter back?  And you expect us to invest millions of dollars in this?  Get out of my face and out of my life forever, you stupid, squirrelly little engineer!"  (I'm hoping it was an engineer's idea.  That would bring great pride to my people.  In reality, it was probably a gymnast or the president of the United States, two professions I can't relate to.) 

I'm no exception to the system.  I always get my quarter back.  If it was a penny, I wouldn't care.  A nickel or dime, I'd justify leaving it.  But a quarter?  I would run a marathon for a quarter.  I would eat mud and drink bleach for a quarter.  I would kill a man for quarter.  Well, maybe not kill.  But I might violently beat and maim. 

So anyway, kudos to ShopRite for its reliance on people's cheapness. #business

Emily Tue, Jan 03, 2006
The ShopRite by us doesn't have this program. I certainly would have appreciated it when I was working at the supermarket in high school. Collecting carts was one of the worst jobs going.

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