Joho the BlogFor your convenience... - Joho the Blog

For your convenience…

sign explaining that your shopping cart will lock its wheels if you try to take it too far

No it’s not.

From our local Shaw’s grocery store.

16 Responses to “For your convenience…”

  1. First, if they incurred the expense for this, it means that theft is a non-trivial problem. So yes, it’s for your convenience in the sense that some of the future costs of theft won’t land on you. Second, the carts aren’t intended to be all purpose conveyors for you; they are intended to be used at the store’s site. Why do you feel some entitlement to use other people’s property as you see fit?

    Tell you what – your computer probably isn’t locked down on your desk. Next time I’m up your way, how about I borrow it for a few weeks? Based on this post, it seems that you wouldn’t mind. And if you leave the door unlocked, why that’s implicit permission in your world.

    No wonder you voted for Warren; you have the perfect Robin Hood morality system going there.

  2. Really, James? You think I’m advocating stealing shopping carts, rather than making a comment about marketing-speak? And then you manage to connect this to Elizabeth Warren? Breath-taking.

  3. But what SHOULD it say? “Dear people who are thinking about stealing our carts…” ?

  4. How about: “Do not remove carts”?

    Or: “Thieves have made us lock our carts. [Explanation] We apologize for the inconvenience.”

  5. David, your apparent inability to parse polite market speak for “please don’t steal the carts” leaves me with few other conclusions. If you haven’t figured out that customers will react poorly to “do not steal carts”, then I really don’t know which turnip truck you just fell off of.

  6. There may used to have been an alternative – having to put money into them – and, since this is inconvenient especially if you don’t have the right change, they paid for a more convenient security system.

    As a customer experiencing the change, I would indeed be thinking ‘nice, much more convenient’.

    I can certainly see your point though David; without knowing the alternative, then as James explains the ‘convenience’ is rather indirect.

    As to what it should say, I just don’t see the point of the notice at all. Like a notice in a car lot saying ‘we’ve installed concrete for your convenience’, we’d be better off if it just didn’t exist.

  7. It’s for the convenience of someone who wants to use a cart, that they’ll all be in the store or parking lot, rather than trundled down the street or in someone’s back yard.

    But that “Shoppy the Cart” drawing looks like it belongs in a children’s book (maybe about “Don’t Cross The Line”)

  8. Strangely enough, I agree with my brother (who did not fall off a turnip truck). The sign is marketing talk to make it sound better. I don’t know this food market, but if you parked in the street instead of their lot, you would not find it convenient when the wheels locked. I’d rather have an honest explanation.

    And speaking of costs, I suspect that this is a pretty expensive solution to the apparent problem. Anybody know the costs for the perimeter wiring and the cost per cart for the electric brakes?

  9. Adam, I’ve been shopping at this store since 1986. The locked wheels did not replace a prior system.

    And, as it turns out, they are a particularly crappy system, although that was not the point of my original post. Not only do they prevent the use of the cart for cars parked on the street (as my brother points out), the wheels seize rather arbitrarily in mid-lot, and many of the carts by now have partially seized wheels that make them hard to wheel anywhere.

    But my point was my brother says: I’d rather have an honest explanation.

  10. The footnote on that sign shows it’s a generic one made by the security company; they must have just given it to the store and the store stuck it up. Clearly without thinking about the online furore it would initiate…


    Mendoca’s seen the carts–which cost between $75 and $100–used as barbecue pits, go-carts, laundry trolleys and shelters.

    “They wind up mostly in apartment complexes, low-income housing and bus stops,” he says. …

    IN APRIL, Webb’s Safeway installed a front-wheel clamping system that activates when a cart is wheeled over a yellow spray-painted line. Webb figures since he’s been manager, he’s lost 50 to 100 carts every six months due to theft. Since Webb installed CAPS (Cart Anti-Theft Protection System) on 150 of his 200-cart stock, not one of the protected carts has disappeared. Of the 50 unprotected carts, 35 have been stolen.

  12. Here is a video of some people who devised a way to trigger the boot in the store:

    Where there is a will… this man analyzed it and made a device to reverse the signal:

    And the company that makes it is here (seems to be British):

  13. I agree, this has little to do with the consumers’ convenience (other than being marginally better than the coin locks) and an explanation would be respectful.

    I’ve experienced the CAPS system at a different supermarket. It’s not convenient when you’ve backed your vehicle into the back row nearest the yellow line and the front wheels seize up before you can get close enough to your trunk to load everything in. Then the frozen cart sits there occupying the parking spot until the attendants come to unfreeze it. Convenient? No. Cost savings? Maybe.

  14. In the same category is this I received last week from Verizon: “At Verizon, we strive to provide you with the best experience by keeping you informed of programming and content-related changes that occur on our network. Effective, on or after, December 31, 2012, changes will be made to better streamline and consolidate FiOS TV programming. These changes will allow us to continue to deliver the most current and relevant channels to our customers. Please refer to the chart below for changes specific to your FiOS TV channel lineup.”

    By streamline, they mean they are removing a channel!

  15. Big fan here. Too many shopping carts just abandoned around my neighborhood.

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