Tesugen

On Shopping Cart Coin Replacement Things

Up until – what, about a decade ago? – shopping carts in Sweden were free. Well, they are still free, but you need a coin to unlock it. But before, you just took a shopping cart, used it, and returned it. Well, everyone didn’t return it. What happened was that many people just left their carts after paying for their groceries. Sometimes it got chaotic.

So someone decided that from now on, you need to deposit a coin in the cart, which you get in return only when you return it. And now everyone returned their carts. You wanted to return your cart so that you could get your five kronor back.

Then, after a couple of years, someone invented the shopping cart coin replacement thing. A piece of plastic, or metal, coin-sized, that you could use in place of a coin when checking out your cart.

I don’t know if you can buy them. I got mine – a mushroom-shaped one, of protected design – from a guy working at the store. On the flip side it sports the logo of the Union of Commercial Employees (“Handels”).

What’s interesting is I still want to return my cart, because of this treasured piece of plastic. It’s a stand-in for coins, so it has value. It’s my perpetually reusable currency for the shopping cart leasing market.

The above was posted to my personal weblog on April 22, 2005. My name is Peter Lindberg and I am a thirtysomething software developer and dad living in Stockholm, Sweden. Here, you’ll find posts in English and Swedish about whatever happens to interest me for the moment.

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