Frustrated with European shopping carts

My wife recorded a video clip of me venting my frustration with European shopping carts back in February. Sorry for the rough words in the video, but I tell you, every time I go shopping and have to deal with those idiotic things, I want to get the guy that invented them, pin him to a wall and lob rotten apples at him. What simpleton makes all four wheels pivot, seriously? How can you not realize that loaded shopping carts have inertia, and cannot be steered at all when all four wheels pivot?

American shopping carts should be the standard. Only their front wheels pivot, so they’re easy to steer everywhere, especially around corners. They’re probably cheaper to make for that same reason. As for their European counterparts, they go anywhere except where you want them. It’s absolutely ridiculous, and what makes it worse is they’re everywhere in Europe. It’s like every store got together to figure out how best to frustrate and anger their customers, and decided to get these asinine carts. If that really was their intent, then they succeeded. It truly boggles the mind how they all went for the same moronic design. Didn’t any of their executives put two and two together? Don’t they use shopping carts? Don’t they know there’s something better already available?

See this video on, Vimeo or YouTube.


10 thoughts on “Frustrated with European shopping carts

  1. alen@croatia says:

    Dude, don’t be spoiled american brat. You just need to know hot to handle those carts and you’ll see its better than having ‘american type’. It’s more maneuverable, you can turn it around in radious of 0 – standing in place, you can move it sideways instantly in case youre down the isle which is clogged by people shopping. Do a sideways maneuver with american type cart! you could only lift the rear end and move front sideways with that lifted, a nice way to build muscles.

    The problem which you’re mentioning as your greatest concern, moving around corners and not crashing into anything is primarly avoided by:
    1) not stuffing that many things in that cart, you dont need that many things in your everyday shopping trust me, you only need that many things when theres some special ocassion, like a party etc. So cart wont be that heavy in average joe’s shopping and it’ll be more maneuverable than your kind of cart. That’s also because here in Europe, we don’t have fridges gigantic as yours so that much of stuff wont fit in them. Thats also because we dont eat that much crappy frozen industrial food as you americans do.

    2) you need to know that when coming near to a corner, you slow down your cart and you apply wrist pressure on it on the side you wish to steer to. Lets say you need a sharp left turn. Your left wrist pulls cart back and your right wrist pushes cart forward rotating it in a very short radius around the isle and avoiding any kind of undesired consequences.

    So dont just rush with full cart around the store, use your brains every once in a while.
    More luck next time you shop using ‘european type’ cart.


    • We go shopping once a month or less, so we have to stuff the cart with a lot of stuff. I don’t know about you, but I don’t like to spend a lot of time in stores, my time is better spent elsewhere. I appreciate the advice about maneuvering it, but in the end, an American cart is much easier to control when it’s heavy or when it’s light. Why do you think cars only have two maneuverable wheels? It’s simpler, it’s easier, it’s more practical.


  2. Josh says:

    I noticed this as well and actually liked this design a lot better. I guess it takes some people a little longer to get used to all of the wheels pivoting. Once you’re accustomed to it I find them to be more maneuverable, in my opinion.


  3. Kindra says:

    Thanks for the video! I’m all nostalgic for Carrefour now! But seriously, while the wheel design sucks, the really awesome thing I discovered about European carts as opposed to US carts is the lock on them so that people don’t steal the carts. Why haven’t US retailers figured this one out? If we had US wheels and European locks on the carts, they’d be perfect!


  4. That is absolutely awful, I had no idea shopping carts weren’t standard all over the world. But, American shopping carts have their issues too. They also lock and veer where you do want them to, and they can make these awful noises that will keep people staring at you down every aisle you travel!

    However, I guess they are obviously better than the european carts that you showed in your video. Dang you were mad! 🙂 If it is worth it to you, maybe you could start some kind of petition…to get the word traveling about the shopping cart change out…?



  5. Great video!! Those shopping carts are so frustrating- I kept crashing into everything my first trip over to Europe!

    And to your executive comment- of course they haven’t used the shopping carts- they have their ‘people’ do it for them! haha


  6. I definitely noticed a wee snigger from your wife there. I enjoyed you rant as much as I think she did.

    If our shopping carts were designed properly, I would never have seen this video.


  7. Adam says:

    I remember noticing these kinds of carts during my first visit to Europe a few years ago. I didn’t spend very much time in stores that had shopping carts, but I remember being amused by the ability to move in any direction with them, and wondered why stores in the U.S. didn’t have carts like that.

    Then, a few months ago, I was shopping at IKEA here in the States and their carts have 4-wheel-pivots, presumably due to their European heritage. And I realized how awful they truly are: just like you said, once the cart is weighed down with anything substantial, it becomes impossible to steer it in the direction you want to go without overshooting the turn and crashing into things.


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