Friday 9 May 2008

Oman: trolley wars

A curious phenomenon was observed in City Centre today. The usual random distribution of abandoned supermarket trolleys in the car park has been replaced by small clusters of trolleys linked haphazardly by chains.
The cause was immediately obvious when we reached the entrance of Carrefour. The supermarket has introduced trolley chains which are unlocked with a 50bz coin. There was utter confusion.
In the middle of a group of ladies stood a member of staff in yellow overalls clutching a fistful of bank notes in exchange for coins. He had lost complete control of the situation. People watched with awe as I smugly inserted my coin into the slot and pulled away a trolley.
Progress around the shop was hindered on a couple of occasions by a nest of linked trolleys in the spice aisle and another in the vegetable department. Presumably these were caused by people desperate for a trolley or for the 50bz coin.
Back in the car park, there was no place to return the trolley and retrieve the coin. The favoured method is to find the nearest abandoned trolley in order to retrieve the coin. Hence the tangled clusters.

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