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Extinct grocery carts?

Does anyone else remember the grocery carts that folded up? The main basket was maybe a foot and a half deep and it folded up. They didn't hold that much, but you didn't have to reach down inside to grab your groceries. Not that I miss them, but I can't remember the last time I saw one. Can't even find a picture of one. On a separate note, I love the little mini-carts that some stores have now, and I hate, hate, hate those obnoxious aisle-blocking toy car carts they have for kids.

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  1. i don't remember any commercial carts like the one you describe - the only folding/collapsible ones i've ever used are the personal ones like this:

    i love the double-basket mini carts too, as well as the wheeled baskets with the long handle.

    don't get me started on those toy carts. some kid rammed into me with one of them the other day when his mother was blithely chatting away on her phone, completely ignoring the fact that her child was barreling through the aisles with it plowing into people.

    1. I too LOVE the mini-carts. Wish more stores would get them.

      3 Replies
      1. re: letsindulge

        Are your mini carts double deckers? The ones in my local Fred Meyer (Kroger) are. I put my reusable shopping bags in the lower part and my purchases in the upper part. Until it's full. Then I start putting them in the lower too.

        1. re: pdxgastro

          I also love those mini-carts. The ones at my local store are double decker and it is funny to see how the customers will stalk people in the parking lot to nab one to take into the store.

          When I asked the manager about the carts, he said they got them in for the older shoppers and were surprised by the popularity.

          So popular, in fact, they have a severe problem with theft. He said they can keep only a few on site at a time.

          I have seen them in use at a convenience store up the road, being wheeled down the street to an apartment complex and at a plumbing supply warehouse.

        2. Found a pic of one! Was starting to think I was nuts. Judging from the height of the soup can I guess they were more like 8" or 9" deep. The basket is higher up and rectangular, and isn't tapered toward the front like most. The basket folds up at a 90° toward the child seat.

          2 Replies
          1. re: gmm

            One of the stores I shop at in the Bay Area, Nob Hill, uses those. They used to be more common.

            1. re: gmm

              Some Ingle's grocery stores in the Southeast have them though they're being phased out. They're kind of hard to find nowdays.

            2. They are still used at the Roche Bros./Sudbury Farms chain in MA. They're great!

              1. They are used a a grocery store that i don't go to near me in Pittsburgh. My mother still goes there and those carts survived I think it might have been possibly 4 transitions on store ownership and names. The store is in a serious need of a rehaul! The carts i like though.

                1. And didn't the front ends drop down on those?

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: lemons

                    Now that you mention it, I think they did. You had to pull them up to release, and then they dropped down like the door on a truck bed. So you could just slide your groceries into your car?

                    1. re: gmm

                      For us, it was at the level of the belt you put them on, so you didn't have to heave the 42 lb. bag of cat litter up and over without managing to rip it before you got it to the conveyor belt.

                      1. re: lemons

                        Yep, I remember those carts. In late 70s-early 80s my mom shopped at this weird little discount grocery store (uncommon in our rural area) and the store had those carts. The front did drop down. What a memory!

                  2. Seen them at a liquor store in jersey

                    1. I love the double decker small carts. Hate the big ones. Hate any supermarket that does not have cart kiosks in the parking lot. I still patronize them, be resent having to haul the cart back up to the store.
                      Hate lazy A-holes who leave the cart on the grass or just sitting there in a parking space. Costco members are particularly notable for being said lazy A-holes.

                      1. I love the new mini double decker carts. I hate the kiddie carts, hate the larger baskets on wheels (I feel like a child w/ a wagon), hate the extra large carts w/ a built in car for kids. Some stores have gotten rid of handbaskets and I ask for them to be brought back.

                        13 Replies
                        1. re: chowser

                          No hand baskets? That's just wrong.

                          1. re: monavano

                            They have those larger baskets that you drag behind you but none of the regular ones you can hold. I tried holding the larger ones but they're unwieldy. I'm thinking if I feel foolish, at 5'1", dragging a basket behind me, a guy who's over 6' tall is going to hate it, These are tne new baskets on wheels:


                            1. re: chowser

                              Those look like a terrible idea. Too many moving parts to break, so low to the ground people are bound to trip over them, not high enough for taller people to pull without stooping, too high for shorter people to comfortably pull, plus you have to bend over to put items in! I really hope those don't catch on elsewhere...

                              1. re: mpjmph

                                Exactly--unwieldy and people have tripped over other people's baskets because you can't see them, and don't expect something that low. And, it's a pain to unload at the register.

                                1. re: chowser

                                  It looks like there's a single handle on the one pictured. Is there not a handle on the ones you are using at your store? I haven't seen these before! i love a basket because not only do I have to tone down what i am buying I often enough buy things on the way to or from work and if I can't life it around the store how in the world will I make it home walking 30 minutes after getting off my bus?

                                  1. re: Astur

                                    Yes, there is a handle but w/ the large size, wheels, extra handle, it gets heavy when you put in groceries, plus the large size makes it hard to hold when you're not tall. I did it at first before I realized you can pull it.

                              2. re: chowser

                                Those baskets are quite popular in our region, especially in liquor stores and wine shops. It is possible for me, 5'6", to carry with the handle. And when the basket gets heavy, I roll and pull with the handle.

                                1. re: KarenDW

                                  I'm 5'ish, with a bad shoulder right now so it's not easy. But, I've never seen anyone carry one. Enough people must have complained because now they have both--the old hand baskets and the new pull ones. The pull ones just sit there for the most part. This is grocery stores only, I haven't seen them in wine shops.

                                  1. re: chowser

                                    I've only seen these in one store. I opted to carry the basket because it felt ridiculous to pull it. The handle is too short as well.

                                    1. re: chowser

                                      I've never seen those 'pull' baskets but I don't think they'd work very well - it's way too far down to put your groceries in the basket. And then you have to unload it onto the belt. It seems like a shopping trip with a built-in aerobics lesson. Maybe that's the point?

                                      1. re: Kajikit

                                        LOL, a solution to the obesity problem. I think that's one reason they brought back the regular baskets. It was work unloading it, especially when you buy a lot of items. I think the worst part of them is someone not noticing another's basket and tripping over it.

                                  2. re: chowser

                                    That is completely idiotic! What team of idiots said that was a good idea to market? I can only imagine lawsuits from people tripping over them in the aisles.

                                    1. re: LindaWhit

                                      I agree. The stores I've seen them in were not grocery stores. I too think that if the cart is too heavy to carry, putting wheels on it really is not the answer. At that point a regular cart is the answer.

                              3. I remember those carts, but I only recall seeing them in one particular market. That was the Highland Park Market in Manchester, CT, which was just up the road from where I lived in the early 70's. As I recall, the height of the cart was exactly the height of the check-out conveyor belt. The check-out person would unhinge the front panel of the cart and the panel would drop down. The checker would pull the items from the cart directly onto the belt as he/she rang them up on the register.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: CindyJ

                                  Jewel T was the name of the store where I lived.

                                2. CindyJ ... I remember the same thing from my childhood.

                                  1. If I understand your post correctly, you are referring to the personal grocery carts that old ladies used to use to take their groceries home. If so, I remember them... We aptly called them granny carts... Haven't seen any in a while though... Not even sure what the grannies are using anymore. Is this what you're talking about??

                                    9 Replies
                                    1. re: Moimoi

                                      No, OP is talking about a style of supermarket shopping carts.

                                      Back to granny carts though, they made a lot of sense! That was in the days when people *walked* to the store. Not only that but supermarket carts used to have 2 hooks on the front so you could hang your granny cart from them. Anyone remember that? Today, no hooks, no granny carts, no walking to the store.

                                      1. re: pdxgastro

                                        There's the occasional customer who does walk to the store, that feels that buying groceries gives them the right to also take the cart home with them. Classy.

                                        1. re: pdxgastro

                                          I walk to the store. I have a wire cart, as do most people in my neighborhood (although we call them wagons). And the supermarket carts in my local grocery store have hooks. What era am I living in? 'cause I was sure it was the present.

                                          1. re: small h

                                            Yup, I sometimes walk the 1+ mile each way to the grocery store and wheel my cart along. Gives me some exercise and feels righteous not to need bags (I just pack the stuff directly into the cart). But no hooks at my store.

                                            1. re: pine time

                                              My grandmother never drove a car in her entire life. She pushed a wheelbarrow to the grocery store ( about 4 blocks).

                                              1. re: pine time

                                                And one unsung benefit of the wagon is that it keeps you from getting rammed in the shins by a wayward Bugaboo stroller. Sorry about your feet, little guy, but tell your mama to stop texting and pay attention to the sidewalk in front of her.

                                            2. re: pdxgastro

                                              Granny carts are used at large antique shows. Great way to carry around your purchases (and water, drinks, etc.).

                                              1. re: LindaWhit

                                                I had to Google 'granny cart'. I thought I knew what it looked like and I was correct but to be sure I did the search. I guess that's what happens when you do most of your grocery shopping in the suburbs.

                                            3. re: Moimoi

                                              I've got a granny cart for doing my shopping. I used to lug the groceries home on my back but I damaged my shoulder and I can't carry any weight over distance - and it's a two-mile walk to and from the grocery store (a mile each way...) My granny cart is invaluable for shopping trips, and when I get home it folds up and slides into a corner.

                                            4. After reading this thread a couple of weeks ago I started to see the OP's carts in several stores, none however were the mainstream grocery stores in our area.