The Shopping Trolley Corral As A Metaphor For Our Failure to Communicate with Each Other

Catchy Title eh?

I’m worried that the title may end up being longer then the actual post.  

No, wait, I think I’m okay.

I don’t know how it is where you are but here, when we go to the supermarket and want a trolley, we have to put a Euro coin into the trolley to release it from the trolley corral.  I guess people steal them or make karts with the wheels or... marry them or something.  I don’t know.  Whatever the reason, you need a Euro coin to get one.

But, invariably, when someone is going to get their trolley, someone else is putting theirs back and retrieving their precious Euro coin.  So the person who wants a trolley stands and waits while the person with the trolley shoves it into the trolley-stack and dicks around with the coin-release thing and gets their coin and goes.  Then the person who wants the trolley goes and puts their coin in and dicks with the release thing in order to get the trolley the other person just put back.

I watched this being taken to a crazy degree just today with a group of people who wanted trolleys all  standing waiting  around for the group of people to put their trolleys back.

For God’s Sake People…

Isn’t it obvious?  If you want a trolley, and have your Euro, and someone is returning a trolley and wants their Euro back… just give them your Euro, take the trolley and save a full bloody minute of faffing-around for both of you.



It doesn’t happen.  All right, it does sometimes - but not as often as it should.

People don’t want to talk to other people or, even more so, they do not want to be talked to.  "This guy offering me a Euro for my trolley, he might give me a fake Euro, or mug me, or make improper suggestions to me…"

We’re all just becoming more and more insular and scared.  Make a stand, build a bridge, if a little communication is mutually beneficial, do it.  Sometimes it’ll work out, sometimes it won’t, but at least you’ve tried.

So, if I’m returning my trolley and you offer me a Euro and ask me for it, I will say…

… well, I’ll say ‘No’, actually.  

I don't use Euro coins.  I’ve got one of those keyrings with a Euro shaped disk magnetically attached to it.  I use that to get my trolley and I want to get it back.  

So, sorry, no.

Hypocritical bugger, me.


travelmaus said...

Nice post!
In Toronto they started that 'coin for trolley' thing and most have now given up. When it was implemented, I too found people too anti-social to pass the coin.
The reason they started the 'coin for trolley' here , was because people were leaving the trollies in the parking lots and they were damaging other cars or taking up a spot. But now they've gone back to hiring students to retrieve the trollies. Much nicer, I say, and employs a student !

Laura Cousins said...

TRavelmaus, you're lucky. Here in the UK students are largely responsible for stealing supermarket trolleys and using them as make-shift go-karts to ferry each other's drunken carcasses back to their student houses on my estate, and then dumping them by the dog shit bin.

Ken, I am all agog, as I for one has no idea that they were called "corrals". That makes the trolleys sound equine; gives one a perfect excuse for some moon-lit trolley wrangling an' rustlin' ... herd them over the zebra crossing, and then ride them bare-backed into the dead of night before the posse catches up with us.

Ahh yes, I miss my student days.

Ken Armstrong said...

travelmaus: MAybe we will give up on coins someday too - a Brave New World... :)

Lozzie Cap: It may be only me who calls them 'Corrals'. I do things like that. :)

Fran said...

Look. When you've been watching an owl sitting on eggs in a box and read a constant stream of shit and spam from the chat box next to it and then you go shopping.... you might not feel very benevolent towards other people.

Having said that, if I felt really angry towards stupid chat box people from all corners of Earth and someone offered me a Euro/£ I would change. An overwhelming feeling of guilt would engulf me that a person, in spite of my twisted and glaring face, had offered to save me a few seconds bother at the corral. I would smile sheepishly back and thank them and take the money.

EmcogNEATO! said...

I've been giggling for a good five minutes now. We don't have the corral with coins, but our parking lots around here have corrals every so many parking spaces for people to return their carts. I can imagine people making multiple trips to their cars until their grocery list is completed just to avoid feeding the machines coins.

Ken Armstrong said...

God, yeah, The Owl!!!

(Runs away)


Jim Murdoch said...

We have the same mechanism. It takes a pound coin. And I have to say I have seen people just accept a coin from someone rather than insist on getting their pound back. In general Glaswegians are friendly people and I would have thought the same could be said for the Irish. Carrie was quite taken aback when she arrived over here and found wee biddies sparking up conversations with her at bus stops. Not something she was used to in California. Which is strange, don’t you think? I would’ve thought living in a sunny place like that would make people happier in general. I actually couldn’t tell you the last time I used a trolley. We’ve been shopping online for probably six years now and the delivery guys are always chatty.

twistedlilkitty said...

What I love most about leaving the trolley back is running full speed with a trolley.
Interestingly not all people use actual euros, they can use those key rings.
The Aldi trolleys will take an English 2p coin.
Years ago people did the money swap more readily but since people use other wee devices and tricks no one really does the coin swap.
So I don't think it's necessarily that we don't want to communicate, it's that we don't want to assume.

And that's my 2 cents....which incidentally won't get you a trolley.

karacornflake said...

*smile* moments like these surround the blonde. I am always excited for a moment when I can confront the inability of others to see a moment when a bridge can be built.
My favorite moments are when I hand over my "parking" permit to someone else just arriving as I leave.
It is so easy to make others smile.
You have made me smile with your post.
love kara

jan geronimo said...

Very funny post. I suspect though I might keep to myself like those people in your story. It's easier to sport a frown that says, "Don't you bother with me. Move on. Just move on." :)

Enchanted Oak said...

Chiming in from California: I don't know quite how I got here but I loved your long title and read some of your posts. In my part of California (rural, small town), we eagerly speak to each other everywhere we go, unlike Los Angeles, where I lived for decades and kept to myself. We call trolleys carts here and if some store wanted to charge for their use, the people would politely riot. Pop in for a visit sometime.

Kate said...

No coins for trolleys here in Australia yet (at least not in my part of it). We still even talk to each other about the state of the wheels on a particular trolley or the fact that it always leads to the left. Even better, if someone's struggling to get two trolleys apart, there'll always be someone who has the braun to do it. Long may it last.

Laura Brown said...

I don't know what a Euro is worth, here they have you put in a quarter 25 cents. Only a very few places still do it. I think people started shopping at places that didn't require them to fish for quarters. I still avoid the one grocery store that does it in town here. Whatever their reasons it is a huge pain in the butt when you go to get groceries and then realize you only have a few dimes and nickles and the store will not change them for a quarter for you.

Do you have those bags at your stores too? The ones we are supposed to bring back ourselves versus the plastic store bags? Those are a nuisance too. I take the bus to get groceries and have to carry all that stuff there and back. I almost never plan in advance enough to bring those bags with me. So I either buy another one or two of the fabric (thicker plastic, which is real irony in my opinion) bags or just try to buy a few things that I can stuff into my purse. I've been taking a backpack a few times. But I feel stupid carrying around an empty backpack all over town all day, just so I can get groceries at the end of the day.