We thank Mr Chiok Beng Piow, Mr Andrew Seow and Ms Yeo Choon Muan for their letters (Require registration before use of supermarket trolleys; Think out of the box to solve problem of abandoned trolleys, both Jan 11; Abandoning trolleys symptomatic of bigger societal issue, Jan 14).
We have received many proposals on how to better track the location of trolleys; many have also proposed tightening the registration processes for trolley use.
To us, these are all second-order things which do not address the key issue which is fundamentally, irresponsible social behaviour.
Trolleys are provided for the convenience of shoppers and are not meant for use outside the supermarkets or malls. In using these trolleys, one is expected to return them after use.
The suggestion to register for trolley use has been tested and discontinued at FairPrice, as it caused inconvenience to every trolley user when only a small group failed to return trolleys to their proper place after use.
As a principle, we do not believe in introducing measures that will inconvenience the large majority of shoppers who are dutifully doing the right thing.
We had also conducted a pilot system where trolley wheels would automatically lock when a trolley crosses permissible boundaries, but errant shoppers circumvent it by damaging the embedded sensors.
The coin deposit system, implemented by FairPrice, was a first in the supermarket industry to encourage trolley returns.
For customers' ease, trolley return bays are conveniently located at exit areas like taxi stands, drop-off points and carparks.
We had in the past collaborated with strategic partners to encourage responsible trolley use through public awareness campaigns and in-store broadcast reminders and signage.
Unfortunately, these have not been as effective as we would like them to be.
The errant and irresponsible behaviour of this small group of shoppers has created much unproductive work for our staff; it also inconveniences shoppers, especially during peak hours when trolleys are in short supply. These acts are not condoned.
So we will lodge police reports and take stern action against errant users to address this issue.
However, we are encouraged that most of our shoppers are responsible trolley users.
We appeal to the wider community to encourage one another to be civic-minded, forge a cohesive community spirit, and to return supermarket trolleys after use for the convenience of other shoppers.
Seah Kian Peng