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Grocery store question

Teach 5

Senior Member
I’m out of town and went to a very nice large grocery store, Buehler’s.
My question hypha’s to do with the fact that there are no cart returns in the parking lot or anywhere outside. They have a large circular space in front of the store for outdoor products, but no place there for carts either.
Is this the norm now?
I have to scan all my groceries, bag them and now I have to walk the cart all the way back into the store.
Not to sound lazy, I have the time since I’m retired, but I’m thinking of those of you that are still working or have little ones that ride in the cart or people that have difficulty walking.


Senior Member
That’s not the norm where I live (yet???). We still have cart returns in the parking lot.

You have a better attitude about scanning than I do. I don’t mind scanning when I only have a few items, but since Covid I try to make only 1 monthly trip to the grocery store. So I have a very full cart. If no checkstand is open, I ask for someone to ring my groceries. I may have to wait, but they’re always very nice about it.


Senior Member
For the 2 big grocery stores I go to most often, I notice they only have 1 cart return station very close to the front of the store. If you have to park in the next section away from the entrance, you need to walk all the way to the front to return your cart. Not so convenient.


Senior Member
I noticed at a target the other day that the only cart returns were up close to the store. It was really hard for me to do it, but I left my cart way out there in the parking lot by a grassy spot.

NJ Teacher

Senior Member
Cart returns

The bigger chains in my area have parking lot cart returns. Smaller chains like Aldi and The Fresh Market do not. At Aldi, the cart return is near the front entrance to the store. A cart cost 25 cents, which is returned when you hook the cart back up. At The Fresh Market, you do have to walk the cart back up. When they first opened, they had employees who loaded your car and then walked the cart back. They cut that out a long time ago and now carts are returned inside the store.


Senior Member
We still have cart returns in the parking lot here, but I live in a rural area so I'm sure the parking lots aren't as large as some in other areas. Except for the Aldi stores that are in the nearest small cities. I guess I'm a little difficult because I always felt that you shouldn't be charged for using a cart to shop in a store. The least they could do is provide the cart to enable their profits. We usually trade off at the store front before attaching them to the line of carts if there's someone there who needs a cart.

Ima Teacher

Senior Member
We only have one grocery store, and it has returns. Same for next city with Walmart, Kroger, and Meijer. None of the smaller stores have them.


Senior Member
Paying to use a shopping cart??! :confused: Unbelievable. What’s next? The gas stations will decide to charge people for using the nozzle when they gas up?


Senior Member
shopping carts

Where I shop they still have cart returns in the parking lot. That doesn't mean that people actually use them. Too many carts are left right in the parking space where they parked and unloaded their carts. It forces others to have to get out of their cars to move the carts out of the way in order to park. A lot of dinging and scratching results from this practice.

While I understand that it is difficult for parents with little ones or people who have less mobility, others should at least attempt to do their small bit to make things go a little smoother by returning the carts.

Paying to use a shopping cart??! Unbelievable. What’s next?
This has been the practice in Europe for decades. Aldi is a European grocery chain, and from what I can tell it has been working for them here in the US. When I have visitors from Europe they are appalled at the way people abandon/treat shopping carts on parking lots. Perhaps a quarter is not enough of an incentive for Americans. Maybe a dollar might be more of a bite. Airports across the world use this system for their luggage carts. You don't really pay because you get your money back IF you return the cart to the corrals.

Grocery stores have very small profit margins, and hiring extra personnel to move carts is an extra expense that they may not be able to afford. Aldi is one of the less expensive grocery chains, and their profit margin is even lower than that of other chains.
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Senior Member
Definitely not the norm here. We have 2 grocery stores, Walmart and a locally owned large grocery. Both stores have several cart return corrals in their lot, however the hometown, locally owned store will load your groceries into a cart, then deliver and load them into your car. It is a great convenience in the winter when there is snow on the ground and nearly impossible to push a cart across the lot to your car. The store provides jobs to many adults who live in group homes but are able to work. It is meaningful employment for them and a great service to our community. The prices in this store maybe a little higher than Walmart but I shop there because of the community support.