What is a Shopping Trolley?

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  • Written By: B. Miller
  • Edited By: Andrew Jones
  • Last Modified Date: 09 October 2018
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A shopping trolley, also referred to as a shopping cart, shopping basket, or carriage, is a pushable cart used by customers at a supermarket for carrying groceries to the check-out counter or to their vehicle. The shopping trolley is almost always provided by the store itself. A small handheld shopping basket is an alternative to using a shopping cart, particularly in smaller stores or when one only needs to pick up a few things.

Another type of shopping trolley is one that belongs to the customer. These are designed slightly differently than a store shopping cart, and may have a small basket and a telescoping handle. These are often used by people who need to walk to the grocery store or who have difficulty carrying heavy bags. These carts are often foldable for easy storage when they are not in use.


A shopping trolley provided by a supermarket typically has a large basket attached to four pivoting wheels, with a small basket up front for a child to sit in. Some shopping baskets are designed with room for two children, or feature a chair for a larger child. Some may even have a small toy car attached to them for kids to ride in while their parents are shopping, which keeps kids safe and entertained. Shopping trolleys are usually equipped with belts to strap children in; it is important for children to ride in a cart the proper way, because falling out could easily lead to injury.

A shopping trolley may also be a powered version, with a type of chair similar to a mobility scooter attached to it. These are also generally provided by a store, though in limited quantities. These are helpful for customers with injuries or disabilities, or who have difficulty walking through a large supermarket.

Customers are generally permitted to leave their shopping trolley in the parking lot of the store. Some stores provide designated areas for customers to place the carts to avoid damage to vehicles, and store employees will come outside throughout the day and collect the carts. In many European countries, it is common practice for a customer to have to insert a coin into the cart's handle to unlock it from the other carts. When the customer returns the cart, he or she can collect her coin. This helps to prevent damage to vehicles from carts left out in the parking lot, and also serves to discourage theft, and saves store employees from having to walk around the lot and round them up.


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