Friday, April 18, 2008

Where have all the shopping carts gone?

In Switzerland, there are no shopping carts left in the parking lots to scratch and dent your car. One reason could be that the Swiss are more considerate of each other than Americans are. Let me think about that for just a moment…., nah that’s not the reason.

In Switzerland you have to rent your cart. Rent is either 1 or 2 Francs – that’s roughly 1 or 2 dollars. People shop frequently here - 2 or 3 times a week or more. In America you can easily get by with shopping 2 or 3 times a month, except for bread and milk. Sure you could say the heck with it and forfeit your coin and leave the cart in the parking lot, but those coins would add up pretty quickly. Look at the picture, you get your coin back by pushing your cart into another. Insert the key from the other cart into your cart and your coin is returned.

I’ve seen stores in the U.S. do this sort of thing, but the rent is only a quarter or a token. Heck, I’ve lost more change than that through the holes in my pockets. No one cares about a quarter here and there. The smallest Franc banknote is a 10. Anything less are coins starting with $5, then $2, $1, 50¢, 20¢, 10¢ and 5¢. The Swiss no longer use 1¢ coins. If the U.S. would do away with the $1 and maybe the $5 bill, then replace them with coins, you could see this sort of thing in the U.S. Maybe then you wouldn’t have to worry so much about your car getting scratched and dented as you buy a loaf of bread.

You might have picked up that I disapprove of the lazy people that don’t return their carts to the return areas. I wish I could go Ben 10 on them - turn into Rip Jaws and bite their heads off.