Because Sally kindly loaned me her car this afternoon, I was able to load up my plastic bins and reusable bags and go grocery shopping somewhere outside the neighbourhood. I decided to try a Food Basics. I've never been there before but I gathered that they claim to have low prices. I like low prices.
I pulled into the parking lot and walked up to the store with my load of bins and reusable bags. Walking past a cart return area, I noticed that the carts had those little chain things that some stores used to use where you deposit a quarter so that you'll return the cart to the cart area instead of stealing it or leaving it somewhere in the parking lot. Then I saw someone actually return a cart and slip the chain from the cart in front of hers to get her quarter back.
I checked my pocket and discovered I had no change at all. The cart return area at the front had only one cart. I'll grab that, I thought. But before I could get to the free cart, a guy ripped out of the store and conjoined his cart with it.
I swore to myself and walked back to the car. Then I thought, come on, they must have a way to give you a cart when you don't have a quarter. Some sort of key thing. And just because they don't trust you to be civilized with their carts doesn't mean you should drive to another store.
So I walked back to the store. Just behind the cart area I spotted four young fellows in green Food Basics golf shirts. "Is there any way I can get a cart without a quarter?" I asked.
"Best bet would be ask one of the ladies at the courtesy desk," said one of them in a tone of voice that rubbed me the wrong way.
"I'll just shop somewhere else." I turned around, walked back to Sally's car, put the bins and bags in the trunk and drove to a store a good ways further down Carling where the prices were probably higher but the carts were free for the taking.
My decision to drive away from Food Basics was about being pissed off and showing it, but I stand by my decision.
First, I'd rather not shop where the first message upon arrival is that I am not to be trusted with a shopping cart. I've been carefully returning grocery carts to the proper area for more than 30 years. You don't have to hold 25 cents of mine to get me to do that. Even when I'm grumpy or in a hurry.
Second, perhaps I'd have walked in to the courtesy desk and they'd have had a cart right there for me. But perhaps I'd have had to wait in line for ten minutes behind other people with problems and then had to endure more waiting or humiliation because I didn't happen to carry a quarter with me.
Third, the lack of helpfulness of the four young men outside the store and the tone of the fellow who answered suggests to me that other interactions with the staff there might have been similarly useless or annoying.
[By the way, I'd have sent them an email about this, but they only let you contact them with one of those contact forms and their form just adds to my grumpiness.]