Confession time: We didn’t know there were places where you needed a coin to unlock a shopping card. Perhaps it’s just a Southern California thing, but we’ve never experienced it. You take the cart into the store, you bring your purchases out to your car, unload, and if you’re nice you return it to a nearby station so that it’s not blocking other cars or causing problems.
But then we saw this video from Daniel Ehlers, and realized it was a thing.
So with that in mind, we did some research — and by “research,” we mean a Google search and clicked on the first link, which was Wikipedia:
In many places in the United States, customers are allowed to leave the carts in the parking lot, and store personnel will return the carts to the storage area. In many European and Canadian premises, however, coin- (or token-)operated locking mechanisms are provided to encourage shoppers to return the carts to the correct location after use.
It goes on to say…
One motivation behind the deposit system is to reduce the expense of employees having to gather carts that are not returned, and to avoid damage done by runaway carts.
Although almost ubiquitous in continental Europe, the deposit system is less common in the United Kingdom and Canada and has not been widely adopted in the United States, with the exception of some chains like Aldi, which require a $0.25 deposit. Other stores such as Costco and ShopRite also use the coin deposit system, but it is not used at all of their locations.
But what if you don’t have a coin? You do what Daniel does in his “How to Unlock a Shopping Cart” video above. Super simple, and you probably already have this trick on you.