Where'd all the baskets go?
November 19, 2014 7:21 PM   Subscribe

During the last six months or so, I've noticed that they haven't had those standard hand-held shopping baskets available in Walmart. Why not? This is quite annoying to me personally, since I hate using a giant buggy for my typical shop, but also annoying because every other store seems to still have them. Is there any reason for them to have disappeared, and if so, why only at Walmart? Also, any idea on an affordable and sturdy one for my own use?
posted by Trifling to Shopping (14 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
You don't say where you are (so I'm guessing USA) however in Canada the Real Canadian SuperStore has pretty decent plastic shopping baskets for purchase.
posted by Mitheral at 7:26 PM on November 19, 2014

A few shops I've been to lately have switched over to larger baskets with wheels that you pull behind you. Maybe your Walmart is doing the same thing, and this is an in-between time?
posted by xingcat at 7:27 PM on November 19, 2014

Here's a related Straight Dope question asking the same thing. Lots of theories.

I'm of the mindset that this is an attempt to boost sales. People will shop with a basket and then stop shopping when the basket is full. An empty shopping cart is more tempting to keep filling as you push along (plus it slows you down).

Have you also checked the checkout lanes? I used to shop at one Target that was chronically out of baskets, but it turned out the staff was just too lazy to keep returning them to the front. You'd have to divert to the cashier area to find one.
posted by JoeZydeco at 7:38 PM on November 19, 2014 [12 favorites]

Must be your Walmart. Both the ones I've been in this month (in Oregon) have had them, available at the front - because I used them. Today included.
posted by stormyteal at 7:45 PM on November 19, 2014 [1 favorite]

The Reisenthel carrybag (Amazon)
posted by crush-onastick at 7:48 PM on November 19, 2014 [2 favorites]

I've noticed a decline here in my NW metro Denver Wal Mart. For a while it seemed like they were only be gathered at one of the two main entrances (the entrance furthest from the grocery side of the building), but lately I've only seen them (and few at that) near the self-checkout.
posted by audi alteram partem at 7:52 PM on November 19, 2014

At my local grocery store, for a while after the introduction of the 'bring your own bags' local ordinance there were almost never hand-held baskets around.

Then I overheard some of the clerks mentioning they had been being stolen, people using them to carry their groceries and just putting them in their cars with the groceries.

Now it seems like the basket situation has reached equilibrium again but it took, I'd guess, a few months.
posted by Lady Li at 10:17 PM on November 19, 2014 [1 favorite]

+1 for stolen. I used to work at a place where we'd have to replace the entire stack of baskets every couple of years. Is there a thriving scrap metal dealership near to the store?
posted by Solomon at 11:23 PM on November 19, 2014

You won't buy as much if you have to actually physically carry it throughout the store. You're forced to take a cart, wagon, buggy, and as long as you have it, you might as well fill it up.

They're messing with your mind.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 5:52 AM on November 20, 2014

That happened at a "new" Walmart here in NC. For a while they had baskets but it became harder and harder to find them. After less than a year they were pretty much completely gone. I asked Customer Service and they said they were being stolen, and after their initial allotment was gone there would be no more, and there haven't been.
posted by achrise at 6:39 AM on November 20, 2014

Yeah, I'm in the conspiracy to get you to buy more camp as well. Local wallymart here doesn't have baskets .. So it's either try to carry by hand (which is a great self-limiter) or push a cart around, and probably toss more stuff in from impulse or "just because" ..
posted by k5.user at 7:06 AM on November 20, 2014

Many stores in my area have been transitioning from hand-held baskets to a larger type with an extendable handle (like luggage) that you can either carry or roll along the floor behind you. Presumably, as others have noted, this is to encourage you to purchase more than you would otherwise be able to carry...

Going for carts-only seems like a sneaky move. Perhaps you can ask/complain?
posted by onshi at 7:34 AM on November 20, 2014

Is there a thriving scrap metal dealership near to the store?

I've never ever seen a Walmart or Target basket made out of any significant amount of metal. They're usually 100% plastic.
posted by JoeZydeco at 7:38 AM on November 20, 2014 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Here in Tampa, we haven't had hand-baskets at any of the Wal-Marts I've been in for at least several years. This is annoying for me as well, because I hate (refuse) to push around a buggy, especially in such a congested place at Wal-Mart.

My vote is also for the "You'll buy more with a buggy" but this back-fires, because I actually buy less/go to Target instead (where they have the baskets).

If I'm in dire straights and have to go to Wal-Mart, my work around is to go get a bucket out of the auto-supplies or kitchen-cleaning area, use that as my basket, at the end of the transaction say, "I don't want the bucket." It's then tucked behind the counter to be re-stocked.
posted by dearwassily at 1:09 PM on November 20, 2014 [2 favorites]

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