Am I the only one who struggles with a British shopping trolley?

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Why are British shopping trolleys so hard to push?

After lazing around with friends this morning downing frothy skinny cappuccinos and discussing the spring-like weather, I stopped by Waitrose to pick up a few essentials. I like shopping there, despite the fact I spend on average £20 more each visit than Tesco. It’s an experience.

It all started out nicely. Ooohhhh, what’s that? Patatas bravas? And a quesadilla? My mind started to wander to summer holidays in Spain, free flowing tapas, children content in the sand, sunshine on tap…

As I was about to take a sip of my Rioja, I was jolted into reality. Oh this darn trolley. Why won’t it move? I looked down at the wheels and some silly metal contraption seemed be stuck. I tried jiggling it back and forth. Still jammed. I pushed harder, putting my shoulder into it, and this seemed to work.

That cake looks nice, doesn’t it sweetie? HM, following behind me with her Dora backpack, is in perfect form and we both start drooling over the pastel pink and yellow buttercream covered cupcakes. Right next to them are rabbit and egg-shaped cut out biscuits, decorated with purple and green dots.

I turned left, towards the warm smell of fresh baked breads, but the trolley won’t budge. I look round and everyone seems to be strolling along nicely with perfectly tame trolleys. I gave mine a push, a hard one, ooopps maybe too hard, and then it’s all a blur —  a blood curdling scream, red splats, a spiral of baked bean cans tumbling across the black and white tile floor.

I quickly work out that HM has banged her lip on the shopping cart and I probably need to take her to A&E.

A nice lady from customer service appeared and asks if we are OK while I am trying to stop the bleeding with the only thing I had in my pocket — some toilet roll that I had stuffed there in the morning because Emily had a runny nose and I couldn’t find any tissues. HM’s screams get louder and soon there is a bit of a crowd, mainly old ladies with concerned looked (who else do you see shopping at half past ten on a Wednesday morning?)

The nice customer service lady brought over a box off tissues and an ice lolly for HM, whose screams subside once the multi-coloured fruit pastilles pop is in her mouth. Thankfully the bleeding stopped.

I asked the customer service lady if anyone else had trouble with the trolleys. She explained that they have special devices to try to avoid them leaving the car park.


Does anyone else struggle with trolleys? Or is is just me?

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  1. castors
    13/04/2012 / 03:53

    Sometimes trolley cart are hard to maneuver. Some grocery store do not grease their cart wheels which make it hard to push and roll.

  2. 06/05/2009 / 13:20

    wait. aren’t there those trolleys near the parent child parking spaces (i’m talking tesco here) that have those funny clips on one of back wheels so you can apply a brake while you load/unload kids and shopping? or did i just dream that?

  3. 02/04/2009 / 23:31

    Bad luck with the trolley, I thought I was the only one that managed to procure ones with a life of their own. Hope HM is better now, I tend to stick to the online method of shopping, but I love Waitrose despite the extra cost.

  4. 31/03/2009 / 14:09

    Ooh I try my hardest to avoid supermarket shopping with the children (Internet delivery a much better option), but if I absolutely have to then yes, I do have problems with the trolleys – but usually I only notice once I’ve loaded both children into the seats, by which time I don’t have the energy to change. And instead I end up trying to concentrate so hard on the steering that I don’t buy anything I need. See why Internet delivery is preferable? Hope HM’s lip is better. It’s horribly scary when you see your child’s blood. I had a trip to A & E two days ago for a huge gash on Renée’s chin. Was hideous. x

  5. 29/03/2009 / 15:07

    well, try this again, with fat triplets?
    the practical choices are a) when they are in bed asleep at the 24 hour tesco down the road, or b) posh waitrose in town where a lovely young man pushes the triple buggy. (that option comes with an additional 20% on the shopping bill.)

  6. 28/03/2009 / 12:37

    yes, ours here are horrible too and i always get the squeaky, stuck, wonky, wobbly one that stops like yours too, luckily we’ve never had any injuries though!
    they have new ones that are little trucks on the front that the kids can sit in and drive then the cart behind. they are IMPOSSIBLE to drive and the kids love them, so that you are a beast when you tell them NO, we cannot get that one because mommy can’t drive it!

  7. 25/03/2009 / 18:48

    OH yes I do as well.
    Also, thanks for using my photograph!

  8. 25/03/2009 / 13:18

    I always manage to pick the only dodgy trolley in Waitrose-I’m sure they think “Ooh.. here she comes.. lets leave this one at the front especially for her!” Then I end up pushing it around in a jolty fashion whilst talking to it. Maybe thats why they leave it for me… I’m the mad woman! But that is my only gripe with Waitrose – food is worth that extra bit when you can afford it. Your poor little one – hope she’s not trolley scarred now – I’m glad the staff proved my theory… they always give good customer service in there.

  9. Iota
    21/03/2009 / 13:43

    I used to like the ones that have a car on the front for the kids to sit in (probably not Waitrose, then). But now my 4 and 8 year olds still insist on sitting in them, and they’re SO heavy to push. I can hardly steer them at all. So in answer to your question, yes, I struggle with trolleys too (and remembering to call them carts, of course, and trying to sound that ‘R’ in the middle of the word!)

  10. 20/03/2009 / 17:51

    Haha yes trolleys always annoy me .. I have bad pains in my arms, back and legs as I have a form of M.E and I can never get them to go round a corner!
    Your story made me smile .. but I do hope your child is okay now 🙂

  11. Sal
    20/03/2009 / 17:50

    Haha yes trolleys always annoy me .. I have bad pains as I have a form of M.E and I can never get them to go round a corner!
    Your story made me smile .. but I do hope your child is okay now 🙂

  12. 20/03/2009 / 17:00

    Not just you and not just supermarkets – our Garden Centre has just had a revamp and replaced all its trolleys with ones with fixed wheels at the front – nightmare!! Most people seem to have discovered that the only way to maneouvre them is to drag them backward round the Garden Centre! What are they thinking?

  13. 20/03/2009 / 16:40

    Hi Susanna, Congatulations! Lily the Hamster has just chosen you for the White Tiger book. If you email me your address I will post it out to you. See my profile for my email. Ciao. A.

  14. 20/03/2009 / 12:14

    Hope your sweet one is better now. Sounds like it was quite a moment!
    I go to Waitrose for certain things, and the other groceries to fill in with fresh things as needed, but I have my bulky and heavy pantry items delivered every 3-4 weeks or so (terribly lazy, but it saves me so much time).
    It was hard to get used to the all-wheel drive trolleys here. Makes me crazy, every time. Not to mention remembering to have a pound coin with me at all times! I’ve one of those pound coin key rings now, so that has helped. 😉

  15. 20/03/2009 / 10:02

    No you’re not the only one who struggles.
    My local Tesco is one of those mega monster stores which sells everything you need (and don’t need) and they so haven’t sorted out their trolleys.
    For starters they are too old, secondly when I had a baby in tow they never had enough baby seat trolleys and then there is the issue of the contraptions they put on the wheels so they can travel up the moving stairs.
    I try to avoid now because I get so wound up every time I go!

  16. 20/03/2009 / 07:56

    SPD-Ha, yes Waitrose should push our carts for us for what they charge…
    CodingMamma-Dangerous, isn’t it?!
    Lindsey-Yes, worth it, love it here, just not the price tag
    Courtney-Glad to know it is not just the UK!

  17. 20/03/2009 / 00:05

    so I see that its a world wide issue…. finding a shopping trolley that works! I only ever found one supermarket back home in Melbourne that had the locked wheel trolleys, but because I was within the confines I didnt know how annoying they were.
    Cut to Ottawa, and there is a supermarket we USED to go to that has the bus stop miles away from the actual store, with the locking trolley wheels. Can I just say that I love having a 6’21/2” hubby who can literally pick the trolley up (shopping and all), lift it over the magnetic strip and keep going!? Yes, I think I just did! LOL

  18. 19/03/2009 / 21:51

    Isn’t Waitrose worth the extra £20? I always feel so inspired to cook after I leave their shop.
    As for the shopping trolley incident, I went through a bad spell with shopping trollies, but am okay for now!

  19. 19/03/2009 / 20:48

    I never get a decent trolley. I swear the bad ones mill around waiting to see me struggling to unload Rosemary from her buggy and place the buggy somewhere where no-one will steal (though honestly why I think anyone in Waitrose would steal my stained and crumb-infested Maclaren, I don’t know) and then all jump to the front of the trolley line.
    I am not allowed to go to Waitrose anymore. I go in for milk and bread and come out having spent £100.
    Hope the lip is better now.

  20. 19/03/2009 / 13:48

    Did you explain that you weren’t in the lengthy process of trying to flee the car park?
    I have trouble too, and the child flap seat things, but I am surprised you have this trouble at Waitrose, I thought there would be people pushing your trolley for you at the golden supermarche.

  21. 19/03/2009 / 13:37

    Doubletree-oh, my!
    Antonella and Potty and Brenda– Sainburys it is then.
    Rosie — unfortunaltey not at my Tesco!

  22. 19/03/2009 / 13:14

    Hope HM lip is better, thank goodness for the great customer service of waitrose. I agree Sainsbury´s trolleys seem to be the best, always seem to have problems with Tescos…could be the amount of shopping that is in it!

  23. 19/03/2009 / 13:00

    Oh no! The poor little thing, how frightening for her. I’m not a fan of shopping trolleys although the Tesco ones seem a bit better these days. I suppose they have to make every effort to get us shopping there these days!

  24. 19/03/2009 / 12:53

    I’m with Antonella. Go to Sainsbury – they seem to have the cursed trolley situation under control… (And funny how the ice lolly stopped the crying, isn’t it…?)

  25. 19/03/2009 / 10:53

    Hope HM is better by now. bad luck with the trolley, Waitrose trolleys are usually ok. The worst ones are Asda’s and Tesco’s. I usually avoid shopping in Asda as I hurt my back almost every time I push one of their trolleys. Sainsbury’s trolleys are always good, that’s one of the reasons it’s my favourite supermarket. As you can see, I’m an expert with trolleys!!! Sad life, I know. Ciao. A.

  26. 19/03/2009 / 07:57

    Some years ago I had the same sort of problem with my shopping trolley. And my (then) little daugther fell off (having precariously balaned in her seat before). She imediately started screeming – no nice service lady anywhere but plenty of onlookers and listeners since she started yelling and telling them that “Mummy pushed me off the trolley.” Plenty of strange looks for me …

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