Sunday, September 21, 2014

Land of the Shopping Carts

Yesterday proved not as rainy as I feared. I got quite a bit of walking and photography done in the NW4 postcode -- 39 streets, if I count correctly.

The region I covered surrounds a large North London shopping center called Brent Cross. As I walked through the neighborhoods near the shops I began seeing loads of shopping carts. When I was in college in Florida I worked at a hardware store -- part of a now non-existent chain called Scotty's -- and I remember how obsessive the managers were about collecting all our shopping carts. Apparently they're expensive.

So I was surprised and dismayed that these were all languishing in alleys...

and on lawns...

...and even in the streets.

I counted at least 25 carts, mostly from Marks & Spencer (with a few from Tesco thrown in). I considered pushing them back myself -- which I did once from my apartment complex in Florida, me with a long line of strayed carts -- but in this case there were simply too many and I wasn't sure where the store was.

However, I had to go to the mall to catch the bus home, so once there I found the Marks & Spencer store and told them how many carts had strayed and where they were. The people at the information counter were friendly but they didn't seem very alarmed -- every once in a while they send out a truck to collect them all, they said, and they know that neighborhood is often chock-a-block. "Lazy blighters," I believe the woman called the cart thieves.

Which is putting it nicely.


  1. Hi Steve!
    Poor lonely shopping carts!
    When we lived in France I thought they had a brilliant way of dealing with carts not being returned. Before you could take a cart you had to insert a franc in the handle to release the chain that attached it to the next cart (and so on). Unless you brought your cart back in to the fold of the other carts, you lost your money!

    Sorry I've not been commenting. :)

  2. Interesting what we find on walks. Enjoyed going on this one with you.

  3. I remember Scotty's very well.
    So do you suppose people just push those carts home and then abandon them? How odd.

  4. Wow, that is quite a lot of shopping carts out roaming the neighborhood. I live very close to two grocery stores and I never see carts going astray like this. That's probably because London is a walking city and Phoenix is definitely a drive everywhere city. It's certainly not because there are no lazy blighters here.