Home > personal > What Would You Do: Grocery Stores

What Would You Do: Grocery Stores

July 19, 2005

Every time I hear about a product or company having a potential problem, or facing a coming challenge, I try to think about what I’d do about it.

This time, it’s grocery stores. Apparently, the handle on a shopping cart at your local grocery store contains 10X more harmful bacteria than anything else you come in contact with on a regular basis. Yuck! Is this a problem facing grocery stores in the future? I happen to think it’s an opportunity, and here’s what I’d do:

  • Highlight the problem. Next to the carts, in the store, during checkout, I’d have posters/flyers/whatever blaring the problem at customers. Why? To sensationalize the issue and damage the competition.
  • Solve the problem. Have a self-serve Purell alcohol dispenser at the shopping cart pickup area.
  • Profit from the problem. Sell Purell and other disinfecting agents and tools in checkout, right next to signs explaining the problem and what Your Store is doing about it.
  • Anyway, What Would You Do is a fun game to play. Anyone else got any fun problems and solutions? HP already used my favorite solution: get rid of Carly! 🙂

    Categories: personal
    1. JT
      July 19, 2005 at 10:55 am

      Harmons, a local grocery chain in Utah puts out rolls of sanitizing wipes next to their carts. Do they do that in California?

    2. July 20, 2005 at 6:00 am

      Good idea, Don. Our Schucks grocery stores (St. Louis, MO) have been putting sanitizing wipes by the carts for about a year.

      OTOH, having raised children, I don’t worry much about touching bacteria infested stuff with my hands.🙂

    3. August 4, 2005 at 9:44 am

      I have been researching this subject for about two years. Shopping Cart Handles are over-run with germs and bacteria. The wipes that are being promoted to destroy these germs and bacteria do have their positive points but also many negatives.

      Wipes come with all kind of characteristics: Some have higher contents of alcohol and germ combating chemicals. Some have to set for as many as four minutes before they are effective. Some are never there when you need them, they are out of stock.

      My friends and I were offended to have to clean the cart handles before we could shop and spend our money at a store. We knew that no matter how much we wiped, we were still missing the cracks and crevices that simply could not be reached.

      Therefore, after waiting patiently for someone to come up with a better idea, we invented one ourselves.

      • wally
        September 8, 2009 at 2:14 pm

        what was your better idea you invented regarding healthy supermarket shopping carts .

    4. Stan
      August 5, 2005 at 10:13 pm

      Now wait a minute. We’ve all been shopping all our lives. Sure, I’m inconsistently paranoid to avoid touching the rails on buses and subways, and I really don’t enjoy shaking people’s hands since I constantly see how many don’t wash their hands coming out of the bathroom, but I put my hand on a shopping cart, basket, or public doorknob every other day. I figure that since we’ve lived with “unsanitary” conditions for thousands of years, what hasn’t killed me will make my immune system stronger (unless you disavow how evolution works).

      If you’re going to be worried about this, I have some advice for you based on what I’ve read, and that’s don’t stay in a hotel unless you can wash all of the bedding, wipe down the TV remote, etc. yourself.🙂

      But seriously, the most practical course of action seems to be to do what you normally do, and simply wash or otherwise sanitize your hands before eating or touching your face. And while we’re at it, buy stock in companies making “antibacterial” products.

    5. Stan
      August 5, 2005 at 10:18 pm

      Let me expand on my last sentence in the other post. A few months ago Slashdot referred to study that described the number of bacteria on a typical shower curtain. Ewww, gross! Horrors! Hand me the disinfectant!

      Guess who funded the study?


    6. August 15, 2006 at 10:43 am

      I can speak for Kansas City and Los Angeles, they both have sanitizer wipes near the grocery carts. Ironically, I saw them in Kansas City before L.A.

    7. Marc
      November 27, 2006 at 5:19 pm

      Barbor: it’ll be nice to actually see your product, cause what I see is a regular cart with what seems to be an ad. I have so many questions about your product that could be answered with a picture (those 1000 words …).
      Stan: Thousands of years ago … yeah, Stan, less people, less traveling, but a lot of mortality caused by germs … oh yeah, when you white people came to colonize the world … here you go Stan, what has not killed you has killed millions. Thanks. But you’re right on wipes and hand sanitizers except …
      Sanitizing wipes and other antimicrobial products: Chlorine, phenolics, triclosan, quaternary ammonium (quats) are petroleum based products and freaking toxic, non biodegradable, flammable, oh persistent pollutant as they call them over at OSHA, EPA and co. As for Purell, why not walking with Napalm in a canister. More seriously, it dries your skin and will actually create the perfect environment to cultivate germs (according to nurses).
      Until someone make a plant based sanitizer/ disinfectant, use the other stuff with moderation (soap is best, not the antimicrobial soap, just regular). They do harm people and the environment. Cheers.

    8. January 23, 2007 at 10:30 am

      A few things to think about. People most affected by GERMS that indeed reside on shopping cart handles are the very YOUNG,The ELDERLY and anyone with a low IMMUNE system.Now think of this,would you allow a stranger to put there hand in your childs mouth or if you see someone sneeze or cough in there hand would you shake that hand.Fact it would be safer for your child to go into the public rest room and lick the toilet seat than allow them to touch the shopping cart handle and put their hand in their mouth .These arent wild statements ,but scientific FACT.
      I have decided to STOP trusting chemical companys when it comes to unknowns.Their track record is scary .And as consumers we should get our head out of the sand when it comes to letting someone else tell us what works and what dosent when it comes to protecting me and my family from GERMS.There is to much printed material out there so we can make our own smart choices.One last thought to tie this all togeather ,remember that list of who needs protection most?YOUNG OLD SICK .Each catagory needs a caregiver that should be doing all they can do to protct them from what can harm them .ARE YOU DOING YOUR PART
      If you would like to share a unique form of non chemical protection with your readers . please direct them to http://www.thehealthyhandle.com
      Thank you for your lnformitive website
      Marge Chivers

    9. August 31, 2007 at 10:08 am

      Check out this web site – we are a company who completely sanitizes grocery carts each time they’re used. When they’re brought back into the store from the parking lot, they’re run through what looks like a mini car wash. The machine puts a light sanitizing mist on each cart that dries in 2-5 min., and each customer that comes in the store receives a completely sanitized cart before they start shopping.

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      October 31, 2007 at 5:17 pm


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    11. November 15, 2009 at 10:25 am

      Okay, clarification time:)

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