Missing trolley baskets cost supermarkets thousands

Missing trolley baskets cost supermarkets thousands
PHOTO: The Straits Times

SOME customers have found trolley baskets provided at supermarkets so useful, they cannot resist the temptation to leave with them too.

One supermarket chain, Sheng Siong, lost about six baskets a day last year.

A spokesman told the media that about 180 of its trolley baskets - and 90 of the bigger trolleys - went missing per month last year, leading to an estimated $10,000 in total losses.

A Sheng Siong spokesman told My Paper yesterday that people may be stealing more trolley baskets than traditional trolleys as the former are lighter and smaller.

To prevent future thefts, staff will approach customers who wheel trolley baskets out of stores and retrieve them.

Dairy Farm Group, which runs Giant, said its supermarket in Jurong East saw 600 trolley baskets go missing last year. It has since called the police, Chinese newspaper Shin Min Daily News reported yesterday.

The spokesman added that other Giant outlets had also been losing trolley baskets but the situation improved after staff reminded shoppers not to take them.

A FairPrice spokesman told My Paper that it does not have statistics on missing trolley baskets.

However, she added that it lost 1,000 traditional trolleys last year and the year before, incurring an estimated $150,000 in annual losses on repairing, replacing and retrieving abandoned trolleys.

FairPrice has put up signs at trolley points and plays pre-recorded messages in its stores to remind shoppers to return trolleys after use.

The spokesman added that public education is likely the best way to address the issue though it "may take a longer time to change shoppers' behaviour".

Sheng Siong chief executive Lim Hock Chee told Shin Min in a report yesterday that he believes some shoppers may make off with trolleys and baskets as they find it more convenient than carrying heavy groceries home.

Calling the issue "perplexing", he said he hopes that shoppers will spare a thought for others and return trolleys and trolley baskets after use.

Supermarket customers whom Shin Min spoke to denounced the "selfish" behaviour and said shoppers should buy their own trolley baskets if they need them.


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