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Life Hack: Shopping Cart Wheels

August 30, 2017


Maybe if I go faster?


No, it’s not a big deal.

But, it bugs me every time.

That stupid wheel on the shopping cart that has a portion shaved off: Turning it from a wheel into an inhuman torture device, designed to drive you slowly insane as you wander the aisles of WalMart.

I know how to avoid that aggravation. Okay, you could carry one of those organic cloth bags, and be eco-smart, but I have seven teenagers at home, five of them boys. There aren’t enough cloth bags to carry their weekly grocery needs. (Yes, you could avoid WalMart, but this life hack works for any store with carts.)

First, let’s talk about how they got damaged. My son works for WalMart. His job is to collect carts. That’s pretty much it. He’s also 17 and saving for a car, so I’m fine with him learning the value of minimum wage jobs. The cart collectors get big long lines of carts from the parking lot and bring them back to the store. Those big lines of carts don’t turn easily. In fact, they don’t really turn at all. So, when the cart collector needs to turn them, he (not sexist here, but I’ve never seen a female cart collector) grabs the end and forces the entire line sideways. And he’s typically doing the moving on asphalt. That parking lot chews up those hard plastic wheels pretty good. And as they are being muscled sideways, the wheel is getting an unneeded haircut. And that’s how it gets the bald spot.

Okay, but knowing why they have bald spots isn’t nearly as interesting as figuring out how to pick the one without a haircut. You might be tempted to pull one out and run it back and forth a few times to check for a divot. Ever notice that the entrance to WalMart is rough stone? Yeah, I don’t know if they do it to stop you from checking the carts, but I wouldn’t be surprised. Anyway, testing it on a rough stone tile is chancy at best.

The key is look at side of the wheel. Here’s a picture of a bunch of carts.

This one doesn’t have a flat spot on the wheel.

I know that because I used it today. Smooth as . . well, as smooth as grocery carts get.

On the other hand, this cart probably has a divot the size of a quarter on at least one of the wheels.

WalMart (and other supermarkets) don’t replace their carts very often, but they replace the wheels on a fairly regular basis. Just look for the cart with the new wheels.

Sometimes It’s just a matter of knowing what to watch out for.

Rodney M Bliss is an author, columnist and IT Consultant. His blog updates every weekday. He lives in Pleasant Grove, UT with his lovely wife, thirteen children and grandchildren. 

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(c) 2017 Rodney M Bliss, all rights reserved 

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  1. And this is why you make the big bucks sir.

  2. Real question though. Have you ever seen the shopping cart wheel and spins and does whatever it wants while you’re pushing the cart? No?

    You’ll be looking now.

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