Letter to the Editor: Reward those who return supermarket trolleys and track those who don’t

Dear Editor,

I refer to the article, ‘How to get supermarket shoppers to return trolleys?‘

All these years, many netizens had various ideas on implementing penalties and measures to curb this social menace of people dumping trolleys away from supermarkets instead of returning them.

1. Reporting to the police (as proposed recently) – a very poor idea that involves a lot of public-funded resources and time-consuming activities; e.g., tracing the culprit, taking the person to court, etc. etc. We can keep the police for better use other than catching ‘small thieves’.

2. Installing an alarm system or barcodes – feasible, but involves a larger pool of administrative and logistics resources. Regular maintenance of alarm systems, which can be additional costs.

3. Using identification cards or numbers will lead to more privacy issues or abuses.

The list goes on and on…

All the while, the supermarkets are complaining about not having additional manpower to search for lost trolleys and returning them back. However, the key to resolving this issue has been ignored by many. My solution is to make use of public resources’.

How to mobilize ‘public resources’?

  • The supermarket can work out a system to make the user pay a deposit. Something that is not too substantial or too much. For example, $10 per trolley to start with.
  • If the person returns the trolley, he/she get back the deposit.
  • If the trolley is abandoned, any public person who returns the trolley gets “rewarded”. It can be $8.00 or the full $10.00, depending on the owner’s choice.
  • For the rich who cannot be bothered about the $10.00, I am sure their domestic helpers are more than willing to collect the “reward” by returning the trolley.

Once the idea kicks in and word spreads, it is better than collecting cardboard or empty drink cans from dustbins. Sooner or later, we might have a pool of “public servants” standing by to search for abandoned trolleys.

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All we need is just one supermarket chain to test out this concept.

For example, today, if I am going to a particular supermarket and I find an abandoned trolley along the way, I will simply push it back, since I am going there anyway. Assuming now that I can get a small “reward”, say $10.00, it will definitely make my day. This is definitely a “win-win” for both parties.

Many people are concerned about the travelling distance to push back the trolleys. However, from personal observations, abandoned trolleys are usually within walking distance from the supermarkets. If the supermarkets are kilometres away, nobody is stupid enough to push that far. They might just get a ride back instead.

Have you seen anyone squeezing a trolley into their car??? Perhaps a van or lorry is possible…

In hindsight, these people will simply load their goods into the car or lorry. Who needs to bring a trolley home???

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Yours Truly,
Concerned Citizen

The views expressed here are those of the author(s)/contributor(s) and do not necessarily represent the views of The Independent Singapore

Letter to the Editor: Solution for abandoned trolleys by inconsiderate people


Dear Editor,

Would like to suggest this:

Change the gadget on trolleys to a ‘tap n pay’ machine of inserting a $1 coin. This way, supermarkets can track the person using it, the duration it was used and when it was returned.

This is something similar to renting a bike, or a car.


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