Discarded shopping carts a nuisance

| 20/11/2016

Foster’s Food Fair shopping carts (including the new ones) are along the roadside all over the island. This is unsightly and very concerning to me. I am certain the loss and destruction of these carts are costing FFF not to mention the customers! Can something be put in place? When I travel abroad I am not allowed to take carts out of the parking lot, no matter how much shopping I have done. Why are these people allowed to drag these carts all over the island?

Auntie’s answer: While I am not a betting person, I would still be willing to bet that everybody living here at one point or another has spotted either an abandoned shopping cart or one loaded with groceries being wheeled well away from the supermarket carpark.

But before I get into the specifics of your question, I feel compelled to say something. I take issue (and have always taken issue) with the use of the term “these people”. Without offering any comment on who you might be referring to, I find that term offensive on many levels. Perhaps I am overreacting and you did not mean anything by it, but just in case I wanted to make my feelings known. I will leave it at that.

Now about those ubiquitous carts. One supermarket over another is not more or less susceptible to carts going walkabout, but by sheer numbers it is certainly more likely to be a Foster’s cart (as you mentioned) on the streets. Therefore, I posed your question to Woody Foster, the managing director of Foster’s Food Fair.

“Your reader is correct, this is unsightly, unsafe, and expensive and lots of other things,” he said. “We have discussed many times over our last 35 years the need to keep our carts on premise. It would in fact save us quite a lot of expense from replacing permanently lost carts, damaged carts and the expense of sending people out in vehicles to find, collect and return them to our stores.”

I think we would all find his assessment to be reasonable. Mr Foster continued, however, that the overriding consideration for this issue is “customer service”, adding, “There are many people in Cayman that do not have vehicles or someone to give them a free ride so they walk to the store and walk home. To keep the carts on premise would cause these individuals a certain amount of hardship that at this time we are not willing to entertain.”

Again, I find it difficult to argue with Mr Foster’s explanation. He has also asked for people to appreciate his company’s position, saying, “We feel that it is more important to assist those that need this small service than take it away from them. Hopefully, your reader and others that have the same concern will understand.”

I leave it to the readers to weigh in.


Category: Ask Auntie

Comments (53)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Are these recovered ‘road carts’ sanitized before I put my food purchases in them?

  2. Anonymous says:

    I think the Foster Group has long been an advocate for the community and the customers they serve. Being a technology person – I would offer that if the FFF group would like to advertise a website link or an email address… anyone finding a cart could easily use their smartphone to let the FFF team know where the cart may be found to retrieve it. You never know… they may offer a quarterly prize of some sort (from the savings on retrievals) to the person who successfully reports the greatest number of “wandering” shopping carts.
    …You never know….. 🙂

  3. Anonymous says:

    In the UK you put a 1 pound coin in to borrow a cart and you don’t get your pound coin back until you return the cart.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Ignorance is bliss and plentiful here. You can not fight it because it is so powerful. Better to just go around it or get out of its way.

  5. Anonymous says:

    I have a question. Who is liable if a discarded cart rolls into the street and causes an accident? While I respect Mr Foster’s position on the use of the store’s carts, how would he respond if FFF were held responsible in such an event.

    • MM says:

      Hasn’t happened in 35 years, hopefully some bastard won’t push one in to the street today just to get the island riled up about this BS

    • Anonymous says:

      it happened to me the other night, a cart was rolling straight in front my moving vehicle, i stopped in middle of street as I cud not swerve into oncoming traffic in the other lane. A tourist nice gentleman walking on the sidewalk and quick thinking ran and removed it, whilst other impatient drivers behind me were rudely honking their horns because I had to stop suddenly.

  6. Rob says:

    This morning on my way to work, I had to stop in front of the gas station by countryside village to remove a shopping cart that had fallen into the road. It’s windy so I assume the wind blew it off the side walk.

    It’s been a way of life here and something we’ve all accepted unconsciously I guess. But you have raised a good point. People push their carts to the bus stop if they have no personal transport and lots of groceries. We have learned to accommodate them. I think it’s something you may have to get use to.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Three things:

    1. The government need to sort the public transport out so it is reliable
    2. There are such things as wheely bags for shopping. Old people often use them. They are like a long cuboid shape and they have wheels.
    3. Don’t buy so much.

  8. Anonymous says:

    I remember visiting family in Brooklyn New York in the 1970 s, and going to the community store with a relative who had her own cart. Everybody in the community who walked to the store dragged their own calapseable carts. Perhaps Fosters could source some so the people who need them can purchase them. That would be a win-win for them. While on the subjects of carts, I am wondering what happened to the nice smaller blue plastic carts that was available at Country Side. They have been replaced by some rinky-dink metal ones. I asked an employee what happened to the carts and was told they were damaged and has been replaced. I know that is not the truth. One Thursday they were all there in good condition, by the nest week Thursday they were all replaced. I think they were taken to the more affluent Strand. or Camana Bay market. Woody, do not treat your customers at Country Side like that. We all spend the same money.

    • MM says:

      Those carts were very much getting damaged – the metal ones were always originally there, the metal ones were replaced by the blue ones which obviously could not handle the amount of use they were getting whereas the metal ones (as you could imagine) have a longer usage

  9. Anonymous says:

    Just couple thoughts.

    1. Move the closest bus stop onto the Store property so people can come out and get straight on a bus. More convenient for store and customer.
    2. Maybe Stores should consider a delivery service for a nominal fee or maybe even for free.
    3. Online shopping with a delivery option. That maybe ambitious for Cayman but works elsewhere.

    Just some “food” for thought.

    • Anonymous says:

      There are bus stops near all of the Foster’s stores.

      • Anonymous says:

        Which is where 90% of the carts wind up. In case you missed it this is the problem we are trying to fix. But thanks for commenting!

    • Joosy Mango says:

      good suggestions but that will not solve the needs of many customers without transportation; easy internet access or the means to finance paying for the service. some live hand to mouth and get assistance from government’s coffers. let us have a heart and do what we can to ease the situation. let us live like one big happy family addressing needs in a simple manner at little or not cost to us.

  10. Anonymous says:

    so how do the poor people magically get their groceries from the bus to their house?
    bottom line; this is just lazy ignorant behaviour and should not be accepted…..
    it is not accepted in other civilised places where there are lots of ‘poor’ people without cars….

    • MM says:

      Other civilized places where abandonment of the less fortunate is the norm and nobody gives a shit about anyone else but themselves?

      Those civilized places?

      The ones where people all over the world have run from to come to Cayman because of how “friendly and caring” everybody was?

      Those same civilized places?

      In case everyone is missing something – the primary reason the Cayman headlines are filled with crime stories and desperation is because Cayman has jumped on the bandwagon of all these same “civilized places” chasing luxury, money and recognition and forgetting humanity, respect and “loving thy neighbor”.

      We have had people from every “civilized place” around the globe run here to make a better life, bringing obviously more experience and knowledge than the natives and then the natives decided they would run out and play “catch-up” by abandoning their children, elderly and family values to grab what they believe has more value according to the recommendations of the “civilized”.

      And now we have serious situations with neglected youth who grow up to be criminals and now the whole world wants to look down on us and our country when our Government sold us out to go globe-trotting.

      I am outright getting sick and tired of being told how this country needs to be run to make it more “civilized” and being told these things by the same type of people that insisted they would “civilize” the Indians. Everyone runs here to avoid taxes and grab sun the same way they flooded “America” for gold and in turn (as always it has happened throughout history) the natives are the ones who suffer and gain the negative reputation from these wonderfully “civilized” people.

      Savages, savages, savages!!! That is all I am hearing my people being called and granted it is our own damn fault for being the “friendly, caring, native” morons we were raised to be and now that we are sick and f-ing tired of the BS we are being called savages too! Classic example of the antics of the “civilized”.

  11. Anonymous says:

    As I understand it there is a supermarket policy where people are encouraged to take carts from supermarkets and leave them on the side of the road where supermarkets then pick them up. I agree it may look unsightly but from a supermarket’s point of view this helps customers and encourages them to buy more, and from a shopper’s point of view (be they a shopper who lives here and has no car or a car-less visitor) it makes the food shop a lot easier. Think you might just have to get over this one!

  12. Anonymous says:

    I would suggest that anyone driving a truck , sees a cart on the roadside and can conveniently stop should stop , pick up the cart and take it back to the supermarket. Woody would appreciate it and so would the environment.

    • Anonymous says:

      I am happy to assist FFF by picking up trolly’s that have been left outside the property & dropping back to their stores.It costs you zero and assists both the store owner and the shoppers that use them . Shop staff that see you unloading them will thank you for your effort. I have seen other truck or larger vehicle drivers doing the same at the other store locations as well.

      • Anonymous says:

        Whilst I applaud your willingness to assist, I believe that if FFF wishes to provide this kind of assistance, they should also be willing to collect the trolleys at their own cost.

        • Anonymous says:

          FFF does collect the carts at their own cost. They have staff hired who drive around to collect the carts.

  13. Anonymous says:

    Clearly, in this instance, “these people” applies to discourteous customers that fail to call the originating store to thank them for the use their cart and tell them where to recover their property. Being poor doesn’t give anyone permission to be selfish and rude. Maybe Woody could put the FFF cart recovery phone number on the carts like Cost U Less does and make it easier for “these people” to do the right thing as grown ups should? What’s the next excuse going to be?

  14. Fosters Supporter says:

    I absolutely agree with the other posters. All praise to Woody and the family. Personally I have occasionally stopped to point the pick-up driver in the direction of an abandoned trolley, which reminds me: they are TROLLEYs not CARTs, this is not the USA.

    • Anonymous says:

      Oh for Christs’ sake please shut up. It may not be the USA but it’s not England either, ’bout trolley…they are whatever the hell someone wants to call them, which would probably be the same thing they call them in their home country. IN THIS COUNTRY we call them carts. So try hush, you don’t own anything here. If it’s a TROLLEY to you then by all means, rock on (or roll, since we are referring to CARTS)…XXXX

  15. ThIs WrItInG Is VeRy IrRiTaTiNg says:

    I am fine with FFF providing this “service” to those who do not have vehicles but I don’t understand why the people borrowing the carts do not feel that it is their responsibility to return the carts to the store after they use them. If I borrow something from a friend it is my responsibility to get it back to them in the same condition they loaned it to me in. I can’t just leave it in some random place and expect them to find it and hope that it is still in the same condition. I doubt this will ever happen given the number of people who are too inconsiderate to return the carts to the store from the parking lot. If the people with vehicles can’t be bothered to return them to the store from the parking lot what chance is there that the people that take them home will be considerate enough to return them to the store?

  16. Anonymous says:

    “These people” clearly cannot afford their own means of transportation. I too have noticed it and also note the distance of some of these carts, and the very thought of someone having to walk that distance (in Cayman’s heat) renders a soft spot in my heart. I have often said I would collect the carts myself and carry them back, but not sure if there would be any repercussions.

  17. Bluff Patrol says:

    Easy but fairly costly solution for this… http://www.geek.com/news/electronic-fences-for-shopping-carts-555102/

  18. Anonymous says:

    So how do people who live in big cities or elsewhere in the world get their groceries home when they do not have a car or can’t catch a ride? Even if they have the use of a public transportation system, they also have to haul their goods first from the store to the bus/train/subway station and once they arrive at their station they have to carry their goods home, many times having to climb up god knows how many stairs.

    I am all for helping people but in Cayman there is a big lack of appreciation and a big lack of respect for property of others. Just look at the bus stops and see how the carts are just randomly left, sometimes half into the road. If they had any appreciation, what keeps the people who rely so heavily on this good will shown by the supermarkets to at least have common decency and respect and stack the carts on one side, out of the way and with all trash removed from the cart?

    • Anonymous says:

      spot on comment….. won’t be too many replies to this from the excuse-makers…..

    • Anonymous says:

      4-Wheel Jumbo Folding Shopping Cart, Black $20.00 not sure if al thompson or kirks may sell, if not walmart when you go to the states this would solve everything

    • Anonymous says:

      Your whole first paragraph is useless as this is not a big city, this is Cayman. What does it matter how people in other places do things when we aren’t in those places, we are here. So let’s jump right into tearing apart your second paragraph, shall we? Do you know that the word “but” in a sentence completely negates everything you said before it? So you aren’t all for helping people because if you were, you would know that true help comes from the desire to simply help, no matter their reaction, lack of appreciation, or lack of respect. If you’re helping and looking for appreciation and respect then you’re doing it wrong and you need to stop. Once again, if the supermarket itself does not mind people doing this and is willing to send out the guy with the little truck to pick up carts, the guy is willing to do it and Woody is willing to pay said guy a couple extra bucks, WHAT DO YOU CARE? WHAT HARDSHIP IS IT TO YOU? Get off your high horse and thank God you don’t have to push a cart to a bus stop over rocks and grass in 90 degree heat with everybody looking at you and judging you from the comfort of their air conditioned vehicles. Thank God you have whatever you have and remember that YOU could be THEM. God don’t like ugly.

      • Anonymous says:

        you have torn apart nothing….all you are saying is that this cayman and this how it is… typical caymanian ‘like it or leave’ sentiment

        • Anonymous says:

          Ummm, ok. And your point is??? And I think I did a great job at – if not tearing apart your pathetic attempt at writing – tearing you a new a**hole. So go sit down. This IS Cayman and this IS HOW IT IS. LOL…don’t like it? GO HOME. LIKE IT OR LEAVE. One less of you makes no difference to me.

          • Anonymous says:

            nah…i’m permanent..so I can come and go as i please….
            have a nice day…..

      • Anonymous says:

        whoa whoa… hold on!! Why so harsh?? Yes, this is not “a big city”, but the lesson to learn from such big cities it adaptability and responsibility! It’s a thing called RECYCLED BAGS for one! If people walking with their groceries had quality bags to put them in, it would be easier to transport… and better for our environment that is so crappy at recycling anyway!! Secondly, those little fold up trolley’s that people in said “big cities” use to transport their stuff is not so far fetched for Cayman!!! Perhaps FFF and the other grocery stores can partner w/ gov’t or big suppliers to make these fold up carts available for purchase at a REASONABLE price? Wouldn’t it be nicer to walk home w/ a trolley that belongs to you, that you can fold up and take anywhere you shop- as opposed to taking a grocery store cart w/ you only when you shop there? Get your head out of the sand and stop making excuses for Cayman! This is not something that can’t be solved– and I will go ahead and “Thank God” for that!!

  19. Al Catraz says:

    If you are walking toward’s a supermarket, and you find a cart by the side of the road, why not push it back home where it belongs?

    • Anonymous says:

      cayman solution to a cayman problem….zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

    • Anonymous says:

      Maybe the cart doesn’t want to go home. Maybe the cart is trying to get over to Mango Tree for a beer. Maybe the cart is just happy to be free where it can now be independent and not just one of the crowd. Maybe the cart wants to feel the grass under it’s wheels and imagine rolling free over the veldt with the wind blowing through its sale papers. Maybe the cart doesn’t belong at home because it’s cart family hates it. Maybe the cart got kicked out of home for just rolling aimlessly around the parking lot and crashing into people’s cars and never getting picked to carry groceries, and it’s mother called it a loser and told it to straighten up and roll right and now it’s bi-polar and manically depressed and feels useless. Maybe the cart has a sore wheel that creaks and turns out like a clubfoot and all the other carts made fun of it. Maybe the cart is just tired of carrying people’s useless shit all day and getting the shit kicked out of it’s face by some brats little feet and just had enough and decided to strike out on it’s own and find it’s true purpose. Or, maybe…just maybe the cart was kind enough to carry some lady’s groceries to the bus stop for her and doesn’t mind waiting patiently with the other carts for the guy to come along in his little truck and take them all home.

  20. Anonymous says:

    You know what they could do? All the supermarkets could join together and create one or more communal trolley parks in each district and then employ someone to collect and return them.
    1. Less unsightly (it’s pretty cheap and nasty to see them on West Bay Road)
    2. Employment increase to hire someone twice a week to round up all the trolleys
    3. Continue to allow “those people”the service they so need

  21. MM says:

    This question to Aunty has obviously come from a very over-privileged person with absolutely no consideration of any other human life but their own or those in their circle. It is obviously not always the case that all people can emphasize with one another, but I doubt anyone is pushing the supermarket carts a mile away from the supermarket for fun!

    I completely agree with Mr Foster and may his company forever grow, expand and be blessed for his stance on this issue. There are thousand of people on this island that rely on the fact that they can walk, hitch or take the bus to one of Foster’s many locations and then get to the roadside with their groceries to get a bus home, many of whom who have children waiting anxiously for the bounty.

    For so many this is their only option when having to replenish cupboards at home and for the sake of “roadside beautification” this person insists on complaining.

    • Anonymous says:

      it’s not a matter of being “over privileged”– there are solutions for this issue & I think that’s the point the person was trying to make! fold up carts for purchase! I think I just realized a niche market for a new business!!

  22. "one of those people" says:

    I guess I am one of “those people” because although I have a good paying job but just not quite enough to save to purchase a car I at times have to push a cart home. I always try to push the cart back to where I got it from, which for me is Savannah FFF or leave somewhere easy to find. I would love a car, can’t always get a ride and have an elderly mother at home so what do I do? Taxi usually charge me double rate to come out to Savannah. I ask why one time and was told it was cost to recover gas, to leave GT and come out to Savannah is not cost effective for them because all the tourists are in GT. They said only time don’t charge double fare is if there is more than 2 customers in the same area requesting pick up.

    I am so grateful for Woody’s policy, which by the way is a continuing one from his father’ because his father used to have same belief he has. His father like him also used to tell his staff to be mindful of “those people” as well.

    It must be nice to drive up and down to FFF without having need to push a cart. Perhaps one day I will get a car, perhaps one day you may be without yours. Don’t be so quick to judge you never know what life will throw you.

    • Anonymous says:

      take a cab and factor it into your bi monthly shopping.

      How hard is this?

      I used to do that when i was on welfare. So there is no excuse. But maybe I just had good money management. Or common sense.

      • MM says:

        If a person in the Cayman Islands is receiving Government assistance they do not EVER get cash-in-hand the way many other countries do! They get vouchers and direct payment of whatever expenses they are approved for and therefore do not have the cash to pay for fare if they are on “welfare”.

        So I am not sure what country you were receiving your “welfare” from (as I do know the UK pays cash to the bank account of recipients) – but Cayman does not give cash for people to do as they please with and therefore many families receiving assistance may come get actual cash in their hand a few times a month – would you spend it on a cab?

    • Anonymous says:

      When I was young and poor my wife and I would carry our groceries home in the bags (until we could afford a cart) because removing the grocery store carts was considered theft. There are very inexpensive carts that individuals can purchase that not only work better but also you can use for other things like taking your clothes to the laundromat. Taking the carts is a form of theft and should be treated as such. They belong to the grocery stores and are not your personal property to take home and leave on the boulevard. I believe that FFF stance is not appropriate because those carts are not just used for taking groceries home but many other things are taken with them. They are also a danger to children who may find them and use as toys. Perhaps FFF and the others stores should make the individual carts available for purchase at reasonable costs. Also if FFF was so concerned about others they would lower the prices but I’m guessing from other posts they don’t mind that others have to pay higher prices because someone has to pickup the carts or purchase new ones…It all goes into the overall costs.

      • Anonymous says:

        It’s not theft if the frigging store says you can take it, Einstein. People have been doing this in Cayman for years and years. Why is it suddenly bothering everyone? If the grocery store itself says they don’t mind then what do you care how someone else gets home with their food? Get in your car, drive past the poor and filthy populace, put your nose a little higher in the air, and your head a little further up your ass and shut up.

      • MM says:

        Yes, and try taking those “carts” on the overloaded public bus with you along with your groceries.

    • Anonymous says:

      Thank you! So many people with so little heart. You would be surprised at the faces that go with these snotty, arrogant attitudes. Same faces that hide behind their computer screens and unleash their hatred and condescension for people “lower” than them under a veil of anonymity but smile up in people’s faces when they see them in places like Foster’s. Disgusting bi***es. And the next comment in line below this reply, about “take a cab”? Try “factoring” in a cab when you have a kid or two at home, a low-paying job and $50 left after paying CUC and the water bill, day care and the never ending phone credit. You “factor” in a cab out of an amount that won’t even begin to cover the amount of food you actually need even IF you spent the whole $50. “How hard is this?” You supercilious, uppity POS. “How hard is this?” For many of us it’s impossible, that’s how hard it is. It’s not “hard”. IT’S IMPOSSIBLE. “Maybe I just had good money management. Or common sense.” Or maybe you were not far from a store and the fare was cheap. Or maybe the taxi had reasonable rates controlled by a meter rather than the astronomical rates taxis charge here. Or maybe you have 8 kids and therefore got so much welfare that you could afford a luxury like a taxi. Or maybe you’re just a condescending a-hole that should do us all a favor and keep your mouth shut. Can you “factor” that in, buddy? How hard is that?…..POS.

      • Anonymous says:

        oops. Sorry for stepping on a nerve. If FFF and other stores have to pay someone to pickup after you and that makes the cost of food more expensive for me then yes….it does affect all of use for your selfishness. I am guessing that because you feel you make less then me it is also ok to break into my car…my house and shoplift.

        If a child gets hurt because they were racing each other with the carts and I could have prevented it by saying something in a post how does that make me heartless.