Shaw's Wants You To Shop More With Their Wheeled Baskets

Shaw’s has wised up to the trick of using a basket instead of a shopping cart to physically limit your grocery purchases, and they’ve come up with a creative workaround: convertible baskets that you can drag behind you on wheels when they become too heavy to carry.

“This allows them the possibility to move inside the store without having to carry all the items in their hands with the handheld baskets,” spokeswoman Judy Chong said. “When you’re picking up a half gallon of milk and two-liter bottles of soda, it gets heavy.”

According to their North American distributor, another big benefit of being able to pull the Shop n’ Roll baskets is that they prompt some shoppers to load them with more groceries, instead of perhaps heading to the checkout when carrying them becomes fatiguing.

“They promote more items being purchased,” said George Braeunig, who handles North American sales for distributor SCS Inc. in Boca Raton, Fla.

We like it. It’s like a basket and a shopping cart had a little baby. You should just be aware that there’s an intentional “buy more stuff” side effect if you’re not careful.

“Shaw’s rolls out baskets with wheels” [Boston Herald] (Thanks to Henry!)
(Photo: Larsz)

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  1. nicemarmot617 says:

    It’s so cute! I hope they start using these in Manhattan stores instead of the little mini-carts they have now.

  2. feralparakeet says:

    That actually sounds ideal for me… a full buggy is too much, a hand basket won’t always fit everything I need, and I usually pick up a couple of 2-liter bottles at the store, so it gets heavy fast.

  3. Rectilinear Propagation says:

    Yeah, but then you have to bend over to get stuff out. You might not be tiring out carrying the basket but you’re hurting your back at check out.

    On a semi-related note, I always wondered why grocery stores don’t sell those personal shopping carts. I’ve seen TVs, DVD players, chairs, hammocks, and other lawn furniture but never personal shopping carts. People are forever asking me where I got mine.

  4. cobaltthorium says:

    Always frustrating is the fact that, while you want to get your pop/milk last because it’s the heaviest, if you do, you’ll squish your bread and produce.

  5. mike says:

    This is a bit sad…

    I like using baskets if I’m only buying a few things. It’s easier to manuever than a cart and much faster!

    This basket with wheels seems like the idea was borrowed from the school next door. Kids with 30 lbs backpacks now wheel them to school.

    The biggest problem with the basket is that it’s at ground level, verses waste level, which makes placing the items difficult.

    I think this is going to come back and bit them.

    • pecan 3.14159265 says:

      @linus: The reason for this is because a basket gets crowded and heavy quickly if you buy a 2-liter of coke, juice or anything that isn’t a box of crackers. If you never buy larger items, or are very strong, it won’t matter for you. But for most people, juice, milk, or soda is on the shopping list most times.

      I agree, the problem is that it is at ground level, which strains the back because people don’t learn to bend at the knees. But I think it’s a great idea, certainly a good compromise between the giant cart and the tiny basket.

  6. mugsywwiii says:

    That’s a good idea. I usually grab a basket, but if they have a sale on 12 packs of soda I grab a few. That usually leaves me with two twelve packs in one hand and an overloaded basket, which is not fun (and the manager at Pathmark doesn’t seem to like it when I overload the baskets).

    I recently moved, so now I shop at Wegmans. I think their small double-decker carts are an ideal compromise. Nearly as agile as a basket, but quite a bit more capacity.

    • pecan 3.14159265 says:

      @mugsywwiii: I also love Wegmans’ double decker carts. They save space, and you can actually pass someone with a cart in the aisle. Bloom has smaller carts as well. They’re smaller but still very roomy for most shopping trips. I think it’s better, because then my items don’t start rolling around.

    • karmaghost says:

      @mugsywwiii: I’ve actually heard rumblings that some of the NY Wegmans stores have these rolling baskets now as well, but I haven’t seen them locally yet.

      • mbz32190 says:

        @karmaghost:

        From a store employees’ perspective, those little carts turn out to be nothing but trouble.
        1. They are a pain to gather up in the lots because they don’t stay locked together
        2. People still tend to overload them (the elderly in general like to push around these carts), which makes a cashiers job of loading it back up quite difficult, especially when they insist on paper bags.

  7. ShrutiCaballo says:

    Many of the supermarkets over here in Spain have this sort of thing, though usually a bit larger with 4 wheels.
    Very useful, though they start to get difficult to move once you’ve put about 15kg in.

  8. OmniZero says:

    I would avoid this by just using my own two arms to carry things instead of a basket. That greatly limits my splurge shopping to only what I need. Try to deter that one, Shaw’s!

  9. Anneth says:

    They began using those at my local Sainsbury’s (English grocery store) and they were all stolen within a week.

  10. chiieddy says:

    We shop off a menu and list to prevent overbuying. If it’s not on the list, it doesn’t get bought. The list is created off recipes we plan for the week, often chosen by whatever leftover meat is in the freezer to keep the bill down. We’ve got a weekly grocery bill for 2 to under $50/week.

  11. Kimaroo - 100% Pure Natural Kitteh says:

    It looks like a pretty good design that seems to be versitile.. If you want to carry it like a regular hand basket you can.. if it gets heavy for you you can wheel it.. I like the idea myself.. Course if you want to buy even more stuff you’d need a regular cart.

  12. johnmcga says:

    They introduced these at my local Sainsbury’s too, a good few months ago. I thought they were just being nice – it never crossed my mind that they were a sneaky underhand tactic to get me to buy more.

    But knowing the supermarkets here, it’s almost certainly an attempt to make us spend more without realising it.

    No problem anyway. I live in Reading in the UK. We have a massive rock festival here at the end of August. I think most of the wheeled baskets were appropriated by teenage festival goers looking for an easy way to carry booze up to the festival site.

    Score one for the humble consumer!

  13. kerry says:

    Unless they let me walk home with the wheelie basket this sounds astoundingly stupid. If my basket is too big to carry, how the devil am I supposed to walk home with it?
    Yes, I realize that many shoppers are traveling by car, but many, particularly those too old or poor to own a car, are walking home. The “convenience” of this basket just causes trouble when the customer checks out and discovers they’ve bought more than they can carry.

    • laddibugg says:

      @kerry: you can carry more if you divide your purchase and distribute the weight on both sides of your body. Usually people only carry one basket, and it gets kinda tiring to have the weight on just one side of your body. However, i can see overloading because you didn’t realize *just* how heavy your stuff was.

  14. William C Bonner says:

    I carry a basket around the store when I’ve walked to the store. If it’s too heavy to carry around the store, then it’s too heavy to walk home with it.

    On the times I drop by the store when I’m on my way home with my car I’m much more likely to push a cart.

  15. BeeBoo says:

    If they try to use these in New York, people will steal them. They sell something similar at places like Container Store and Staples but the basket is more like a crate. The only reason people don’t steal shopping carts now is that they don’t want to look like a homeless person. These are too small for homeless people to use.

    I walk to the grocery store, too. Using a basket works both ways. If I find my basket getting too heavy, I stop buying things and prioritize. But if it is still underweight, I pick up more staple items, can’t afford to waste a trip. That’s how I ended up with five jars of peanut butter in my cabinet!

    • mmmsoap says:

      @BeeBoo: People steal shopping carts all the time, regardless of whether they look like a “homeless person”. That’s why many (mostly urban) grocery stores have installed radio transmitters in their carts that cause the wheels to lock up when they travel past a certain radius (usually 100-250 feet from the door), or they have barriers installed with gaps that are too narrow for the carts to pass through.

  16. CountryJustice says:

    Is it so hard to shop from a list? If your basket gets too heavy or your cart gets too full, you’re doing something wrong one way or another.

    • swimmey says:

      @CountryJustice:

      Dude! I have two teenagers. Do you have any idea how much these people eat? I try not to shop more than once a week. The milk, soda and juice alone — oh the humanity. Add a couple of cats and it’s a full cart and the whole back of my Subaru.

  17. jusooho says:

    @chiieddy: But… if you shop off list to prevent overbuying how can you have leftover meat in the freezer? Wouldn’t you have no leftovers? haha just joking

  18. tawker says:

    Our local (government run) liquor stores use them and I don’t think they encourage overspending – they are still about the same size as a normal basket so you are still space constrained.

    They’re a lot easier to hang on to than a buggy. Overall they’re a pretty good thing.

  19. ltx says:

    These have been around for a while (at least here in Canada). I don’t remember exactly where, but I think it is at Save-on-Foods or IGA. Handy if you have too little for a cart, but too much weight for a regular basket.

  20. kaitlind says:

    my local store has these normal height mini shopping carts that are like less than half as long as a normal cart. they have like one or two baskets and the shelf thing on the bottom. i love them. i hate having a huge cart to push around, yet i usually get more than a basket full (and i hate carrying stuff like a gallon of milk in one of those baskets. its uncomfortable).

  21. karmaghost says:

    I’ve actually heard rumblings that some of the NY Wegmans stores have these rolling baskets now as well, but I haven’t seen them locally yet.

  22. There's room to move as a fry cook says:

    The basket is too low and inconvenient. My small grocers use mini shopping carts to hold the baskets.. like this..
    [www.germes-online.com]

  23. ArgusRun says:

    @CountryJustice: Yeah… At least it is for me. If I have any disposable income and extra time, I am very susceptible to impulse buys. I know this is a character defect and have made adaptations to address it. If I am going into a store for just a few items, I either take the hand basket or no basket at all.

    If I’m going to Costco for a specific item that I can hold, I take no shopping cart. It is just too easy to convince myself that I really need five pounds of Pretzel Chips.

    Some people have rock solid will power. Some do not.

    Now, on the subject of these wheeling baskets. They seem a little larger than a typical basket which is bad, but they look awkward and dorky to wheel around, which is good. It would take a lot for me to wheel it around rather than carrying it, so I’ll still have the ability to use weight as a limiting factor.

  24. HRHKingFridayXX says:

    I prefer the mini carts at whole foods (saw some at harris teeter a while ago too). That way my groceries are at arm level, rather than bending down to put things in a rolling cart or in a basket.

  25. parkavery says:

    I dub thee: “Bart.”

    Half BAsket, half caRT.

  26. Now if Shaw’s could just stop dividing the aisles with product displays so we could get down them without knocking things over…

  27. camille_javal says:

    @nicemarmot617: They had them at the Morton Williams for a little while – however, I think they switched back to the old handbaskets (at least at the one I go to most, and they may still have a few of the wheeled ones) because it’s hard enough to fit down the tiny aisles with a handbasket. The rare people who use one of the few carts tend to get death glares, because it is impossible to squeeze past a cart on the aisle, even if you are empty-handed.

    Reason # 1871981789 why I use Fresh Direct (the prices at Morton Williams are atrocious, too).

  28. forgottenpassword says:

    I kinda like that idea. Being a bachelor…. I tend to not need a giant shopping cart & the handheld carry baskets can be a bit heavy when full. I find this a very nice solution.

    Note: I have actually seen odd little carts at one grocery store which are basically a hybrid between the big shopping cart & the handheld carry baskets (basically a small basket on a small cart frame).

  29. scott429 says:

    Annoyingly, ShopRite in Wilmington, DE has done away with handbaskets altogether. They have (few) mini-carts and full-size carts only.

    Causes way too much congestion in the aisles and at the checkouts. Really not worth the hassle of going there if all you need is a few things.

  30. Joey_Brill says:

    Look at that picture.

    These new wheelie baskets will still block both sides of each grocery aisle.

    Also, you can’t use the handle to ride these out to your car.

  31. grandzu says:

    Looks about as annoying as those wheeled luggage you drag and take up twice as much space.

  32. Baron Von Crogs says:

    This is the stupidest thing I’ve ever seen.

  33. Jetgirly says:

    I first saw these at Walmart in Mexico and I quite like them. I don’t have a car, so I can only buy the groceries I can carry. However, I also love to cook and regularly make meals requiring many ingredients. I bring a backpack and reusable cloth bags when I go grocery shopping, but it’s the time when I’m actually browsing in the store that causes problems because I’m carrying all the weight on one side of my body. It’s not impossible, but it is uncomfortable. These baskets really help with that.

  34. P_Smith says:

    Gee, inflame people’s back pain, what a great idea.

    If you really want to limit your purchases but don’t want to carry a basket, then put a basket in the cart.

  35. Speak says:

    So that’s why they created these baskets. I’ve seen these in Whole Foods stores in New York, and while I can see their utility, I really dislike them.

    In crowded situations–where you’re trying to avoid bumping into people and don’t necessarily notice what’s at floor-level–I tend to feel I might trip over someone’s basket. It’s not as annoying as a shopping cart in a packed store (and is there some kind of rule that only the most absentminded people use shopping carts when the store is at its busiest?) but at least a shopping cart’s big enough for me to notice right away, and it allows me to make stink-eye contact with the other shopper.