October 21, 2007

Cashiers, Carts, and Sacks

I live in the grocery store in France as much as I do here in the States. I have made several observations....not just about the food that is there...which is obviously different...but, the basics are different too.

First, once you are parked, you go to the cart area and get a cart. To do this, you must use a 1 Euro coin or perhaps you have a token from a grocery store promotion. Insert the coin and the chain releases and you have a cart for shopping. NO, you are not paying a Euro for the use of the cart. You get your Euro back when you return the cart and reconnect the chain.. SIMPLE....No carts rolling around the parking lot....and never necessary to send someone to round up carts. So when I think about how this could be done here, I realize that we don't have a 'common' coin that has perhaps enough value to insure the return of the cart....would a quarter do it......no one ever has a $.50 piece or a dollar coin in their pocket.

Second....Note the pic of the cashier....she is seated and has total control of all around her. Cashiers unite! You need to sit down...it works.

Third.....Over the past 2-3 years, ALL the grocery stores...big and small....do not give you any kind of sack or bag for your purchases. It is about 'being green' and environmentally conscious. You can purchase a plastic bag (like we have) for less than a nickel or you can bring your own bag and fill it. Heavy duty reuseable bags are always on sale for less than a Euro. I must tell you that I have never seen anyone buy the bags like we use. If they don't have a bag with them, many people keep a box or cooler in their car and just reload their cart at check-out and make the transfer when they get to the car. Obviously, it is easier to just take your reuseable bag into the store. And, you do bag your own groceries. I do that here but I think I am the exception. I like organizing them to make putting them away easier when I get home. OK ...enough of this.

Finally, I don't think there is much you and I can do about the first two items but we can certainly take our own shopping sack with us and diminish our impact on the planet. It is just a habit that we need to develop.

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