Tackling trolley abuse must be community effort

We thank Dr V. Subramaniam for his suggestion ("Install tracking devices in trolleys"; Feb 8).

The issue of abandoned trolleys has indeed plagued supermarkets in many countries.

Such irresponsible acts by a small minority of users regrettably cause much inconvenience to the majority of consumers.

At FairPrice, we have been tackling this issue proactively by leveraging technological innovations and process-driven initiatives.

We previously piloted solutions such as installing proximity locks and even collecting identity cards in exchange for trolley usage.

However, recalcitrant and socially inconsiderate customers would find ways to bypass these measures, which were costly to implement and affected the majority of shoppers who would responsibly return trolleys.

In the same way, installing tracking devices in trolleys does not address the crux of the issue, which is the need for responsibility and civic-mindedness among customers.

Thus, public education and engagement initiatives are crucial in educating customers on responsible trolley use.

Our current efforts include displaying signs at trolley points and broadcasting pre-recorded messages in stores to remind shoppers about trolley etiquette.

We also work with town councils and community and government agencies to raise public awareness of this industrywide issue.

We are prepared to take legal action on the theft or abuse of our trolleys.

In addition to these efforts, FairPrice is further galvanising the community to help tackle this issue by reporting abandoned trolleys or if they witness trolley theft or acts of trolley abuse.

We urge the public to be considerate and to return trolleys after use, when shopping at any supermarket.

Jonas Kor

Director

Corporate Communications

NTUC FairPrice

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 16, 2016, with the headline 'Tackling trolley abuse must be community effort'. Print Edition | Subscribe