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Bizarre reason why people didn't like shopping trollies when they were launched

Bizarre reason why people didn't like shopping trollies when they were launched

Turns out they weren't always a supermarket staple

Although shopping trollies are now synonymous with the weekly food shop, this wasn't always the case.

In fact, when they first hit the market, both male and female customers had their own bizarre reasons why they didn't want to use them.

Before we get into it, let's look at the history of these four-wheeled inventions.

The first shopping cart is believed to have been developed by Sylvan Goldman, an American businessman who owned and merged the Humpty-Dumpty and Standard grocery store chains.

In the 1930s, Goldman noticed a gap in the market – with the rise of car usage and supermarkets in the US, there was an opportunity to make more sales.

But shoppers could only fit so much in handheld baskets, and that's precisely where the trolley comes in.

With the help of a mechanic, the store owner created the first prototype consisting of a metal frame with wheels and wire baskets.

In June 1937, Goldman was ready to introduce the contraption to the Humpty Dumpty supermarket chain in Oklahoma City.

But much to his surprise, it didn't immediately catch on.

In a 1977 interview with CBS' Charles Kuralt, he said: "I thought it would be an immediate success, I was so enthused about the cart."

He then presented some early advertising for the cart which reads: "Shoppers came, saw and said, 'It's a wow!'"

Sylvan Goldman was shocked that his invention wasn't an immediate hit.

When asked by Kuralt whether that's what really happened, Goldman admitted: "No, that's a big lie."

In truth, he went down to the company's largest store the morning after the launch expecting to see queues of people waiting to use the new invention.

But in reality there was plenty of room for him to get in – and not one person was using a trolley.

Goldman revealed the reasons men and women gave for sticking to their handheld baskets in a letter cited by The New York Times.

He wrote: "Women customers would come in, and we had a young lady with some carts with two baskets on them to present to them for use, but very, very few would take one.

"Their comment was: 'No, we have pushed enough baby buggies around – we are not going to push carts in stores'."

As for the men, they would say: "With my big arms I can carry my baskets, I am not pushing one of those things."

The businessman hired people to use the carts and they soon caught on.

Of course, we now know that they did eventually become a permanent fixture of supermarkets across America and beyond.

And the way Goldman made this happen was ridiculously simple.

In his interview, he explained that he simply hired three women – one in her 20s, one in her 40s and one in her 50s – to shop while using the trolleys.

"When they had seen the ones walking around using them, they started using them," he said. "And immediately it became a huge success."

And the rest, as they say, is history.

Featured Image Credit: Rob Whitworth / Jon Legge / Alamy

Topics: Food and Drink, US News