Friday, March 11, 2011

Fare la Spesa

This is not a glamorous post, but something I think is brilliant.  Locked shopping carts.  Here, all the shopping carts are locked in the parking lot (much like luggage carts in the airport).  To get a cart, you put in a euro and unlock the cart.  When you return the cart, you get your euro back.  I think it is the best idea because guess what, everyone wants their euro back so everyone returns their cart.  The stores don't have to hire anyone to gather the carts in the parking lot, and there are no loose carts blocking parking spaces or rolling into cars.  Also, if you only need a few things and choose not to get a cart, you can truly only buy a few things because the carts are all the way in the parking lot.  No impulse buys.

While we are talking about the glamorous task of grocery shopping, another Italian way I would love to see in the States is this:  you have to pay for all your grocery bags.  Amazingly, as soon as I am forced to pay 5 or 10 cents for every plasitc bag, all of a sudden I am a great environmentalist.  Now I bring my own bags, or when I forget my bags, I cram everything into just a few bags.  

However, I do really miss baggers.  Here you bag your own groceries which is way more stressful than it sounds.  I must bag my own groceries while trying to have a conversation in Italian and pay for the groceries at the same time, while the people in line behind me get more and more impatient.  I have often come home with produce crushed by the bottles of wine I threw on top of it or shampoo leaking into the pasta.  Perhaps I should have paid for an extra bag for that shampoo...


  1. Love the 'pay for your cart' idea - come on, America, wake up to a good idea

  2. Aldy's has that idea only the cart price is a quarter.

  3. Whoops - it's Aldi's. Probably an Italian Company! They have bag it yourself, cart rental refunds but they only accept cash, debit cards to keep cost down.

  4. I just googled Aldi's because I have never heard of it and they even talk about it on their website! "Smarter shoppers know better than to pay extra at stores where baggers bag groceries and employees chase carts in the parking lot"

    Now, if only that translated to lower costs in Italy as well. Unfortunately, it is the opposite.

  5. I do like the idea for the carts. We noticed the other night that there were 4 carts at bus stops about 2 blocks from the nearest grocery store. I am sure that I eventually pay for those carts when I buy groceries. I have reusable bags, but I always forget to throw them in the laundry so I do not use them most of the time. BUT, I do recycle the plastic bags. Sometimes I wish I could bag my own because the bagger puts the bread or the eggs or the grapes on the bottom... It would be more difficult to do all of the bagging, etc., by yourself if you had a couple of little ones with you.