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Shopping Trolleys

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A shopping trolley in a familiar environment.

Shopping trolleys are devices found under bridges in all British rivers1. Their real reason-to-be is to assist shoppers in supermarkets.

Types of Trolley

Shopping trolleys themselves are metal-wire devices used for carrying things in supermarkets, and look rather like metal trays on wheels. There are many different types of shopping trolley, and larger stores such as Tescos offer the best range.

The Standard Trolley

This is a large, deep metal basket that is often hard to manoeuvre, and usually has a squeak in the front right wheel. They sometimes come with a child seat that faces the handle at the back, and the handle often has the name of the store in large letters, just in case you didn't see the name on the shop as you entered, or on the shopping bags, or on the products being placed in said trolley.

The Tray Trolley

The difference between this and the standard trolley is that it is in a 'C' shape, and the top part is more of a flat tray with edges than an actual basket. It is designed this way so that you can reach what you put in it without having to lean and risk falling inside, but it has the disadvantage of not being able to carry as many items.

The Disabled Trolley

This is a trolley with clips designed to attach it to the frame of a wheel chair. In theory this means anyone in a wheelchair no longer has to struggle with pushing the trolley at the same time as trying to wheel forward, but in practice it can result in the clips getting in the way of pushing the wheels. However, it does have the basket at an easy-to-reach level, so putting things into and out of the trolley is stress-free.

The Children's Trolley

This trolley is designed for a young child and is a perfect replica of a standard trolley, but is a third of the size. This means that it can carry less than the smallest of shopping baskets. The main disadvantage is that it is the perfect size for ramming straight into your kneecap when a six-year-old tries to play dodgems on it. The main advantage is that they allow children to pretend they're playing 'pram and baby' with a sack of potatoes, instead of facing their parents and moaning as they do when seated in the standard trolley.

The Plastic Trolley

These are rarer than the other types, and contain a plastic basket on a metal frame. Apart from the basket being plastic and not metal, they are identical to the standard or tray trolleys.

1 Why shopping trolleys are found under bridges is not yet clear. It has been suggested (although not often by those of sound mind) that this could be the result of an advanced form of the game Pooh Sticks - a game where one drops two or more sticks on one side of a bridge, and see which stick comes out from beneath the other end first. Unfortunately, when shopping trolleys are dropped into rivers, they tend not to move.

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