Dubai stores on trolley hunt after shoppers ‘cart’ them home

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Some stores claim as many as 100 trolleys go missing every week

As many as 100 shopping carts find themselves taken for a stroll every weekend, as several community-based supermarket chains across Dubai tackle the problem of basic shopping etiquette.

Neighbourhoods that reportedly appear to be most affected include Bur Dubai, Karama and Hor Al Anz.

A staff member at a popular neighbourhood supermarket chain in Karama, said on the condition of anonymity: “We spend at least one hour every night collecting trolleys that have been carried off to neighbourhood buildings.

“Usually, we round up trolleys as far as four to five streets over, but come weekend and we have to sometimes travel with a pickup to the other side of Karama, some 3kms over; that is how far the shopping carts end up.”

He added: “On weekends, we usually lose up to 100 trolleys over the two days; but most of them are retrieved, except for the odd few that usually end up in people’s buildings.”
Raghu Y, a 28-year-old employee with a popular high-end supermarket in Al Mankhool said: “We know most of the residential buildings in Bur Dubai have at least two or three trolleys parked on the premises; however, we are not legally allowed to enter buildings for spot checks.”

Quizzed further and Raghu said: “Most times, the shopper borrows the trolley all the way to their apartment to off load their groceries and leave it in the stairwell. After that, if neither the shopper nor the watchman bothers, we never see the cart again.”

For this very reason several supermarkets such as Geant introduced the Dh1 policy to use a cart, with the money only returned when the trolley is returned to its loading dock.

Meanwhile, neighbourhood supermarkets such as Spinneys have tried something even more innovative.

Colette Shanon, marketing manager at Spinneys, said: “We retail specialised customer trolleys for our shoppers, which are very popular in community-based outlets such as Spinneys Ramada, where most people walk to the supermarket.”

The compartmentalised, insulated bag, which is proving to be very popular among our customers retails at Dh48, has a wheel system that makes it suitable for going up stairs.

When quizzed on the growing menace of people ‘borrowing’ trolleys, she added: “We do request customers not remove the trolleys from the car parks; however, we don’t consider people borrowing trolleys an issue; at the end of the each day our porters go around the community to collect the shopping carts.

“We also offer our customers the convenience of a porter service to the cars to assist them.”

P Kaur, who lives in a row house in Hor Al Anz and has a supermarket trolley parked in her garage, doesn’t think too much of its inclusion amongst her personal belongings.

“So many people walk off with shopping carts all the time, what’s the big deal. Surely, with the markup that most supermarkets charge on goods, they can afford sparing a trolley or two,” she said.

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