Shopping Trolleys

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Shopping trolleys are devices found under bridges in all British rivers. Their origin is in supermarkets - which are places where you shop in a modern sophisticated fashion. 1

Why shopping trolleys are found under bridges is not yet clear. Many believe that it is an advanced form of the game "Pooh Sticks" - a game where you drop 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.

Types of Trolley

Shopping trolleys themselves are metal-wire devices used for carrying things in supermarkets, and look 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 maneuver, and has a squeak in the front right wheel. They come with a child seat that faces the handle at the back, and the handle 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 bought.

  • 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 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 much stuff.

    This type of trolley is also the best for playing One-man Dodgems.

  • The disabled trolley - this is a trolley designed to have clips that can clip onto the frame of a wheel chair. This, in theory, means that 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 results in the clips getting in the way of pushing the wheels, and the whole attachment is so unmaneuverable as to make it impossible to move anywhere, or turn corners. It does, though, have the basket at an easy-to-reach level, so putting things into and out of the trolley is stress free. This, though does not help with getting the product you want from the top shelf.

  • The children's trolley - this trolley is designed for a child of 6, and is a perfect replica of a standard trolley, but is a third of the size. This means that it can carry less than even the smallest of shopping baskets. The main disadvantage is that it is the perfect size for ramming straight into your knee-cap when a 6 year old tries to play dodgems on it, and whenever you enter a supermarket with these trolleys in, remember to keep looking around you and down, as otherwise you will be buying more bandages than you had planned to...

    The only advantage of these is that they allow your children to pretend they're playing "pram and baby" with a sack of potatoes, instead of facing you 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.

Getting a Trolley

When shopping, getting a supermarket trolley is easy. All you have to do is go to a supermarket, and most supermarkets have them outside their store in order that, after it rains, your trolley stays wet. This means that the bags of flour and sugar you are about to buy are soaked through, and spill their contents everywhere, especially in the back of your car if you have one, or in your bag.

Some supermarkets are paranoid about trolleys, and insist that you insert a £1 coin in a lock before you take it away. This doesn't prevent the trollies from being stolen, as it is simple to take a trolley without paying a pound by simply applying a hacksaw.


After you have got a shopping trolley, there are many ways in which to play with them.2

  • One Man Dodgems - This can be played in the shopping centre itself.

    What you do is push the trolley at a run, and then push up on the handle so that you lift your feet off the ground. Some trolleys even have a bar between the wheels that you can rest your feet on. The result is that you glide forward at a fair speed, often spinning out of control, yet you are capable of regaining the appearance of a casual shopper by merely dropping down to the floor and taking control.

  • Two Man Dodgems - If there are more than one of you, then one person can sit in a trolley whilst the other pushes you along. This means that you yourself have no way of controlling where you are going. Standard trolleys are best for this, and if there is only one of you, you can try and have the same fun by sitting in the trolley at the top of a hill, and letting gravity do its work.

  • A third alternative is to attach radio-control units and motors to the wheels, and entering it into "Robot Wars"3, however, it is unlikely that it would do that well...

1This means you cram as many people in to a large square as possible and ask them to wait for hours at tills fiddling with baskets, rippable bags, and Discount cards.2Remember to return the trolley afterwards!3A BBC television show presented by Craig Charles and Phillipa Forester where radio-controlled cars with weapons battle it out

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