SINGAPORE: To grapple with the problem of missing trolleys, supermarket chain NTUC FairPrice, on Friday (Sep 2), launched an initiative which includes enforcement officers reaching out to customers on returning trolleys.
Named the Trolley Enforcement Project, the initiative hopes to deter shoppers from wheeling trolleys away from the premises, said FairPrice.
It will be piloted at Jurong Point Shopping Mall which experiences the highest incidence of trolley abandonment cases. Up to 200 supermarket trolleys are retrieved daily from around the vicinity of the mall.
About two trolley enforcement officers will be on shift at any time and they will be stationed at the store's exit to educate shoppers on returning trolleys.
"We have decided to pilot this new trolley initiative at Jurong Point Shopping Mall to complement ongoing public education efforts to encourage responsible trolley use," said chief executive officer of FairPrice, Mr Seah Kian Peng.
The supermarket chain lost about 1,000 trolleys last year. This is an increase of almost 20 per cent compared to five years ago, said Mr Seah. FairPrice spends over S$150,000 every year on repairing, replacing and retrieving unreturned trolleys.
As part of the project, FairPrice has also partnered the Singapore Kindness Movement and the Frontier Community Club to involve students to spread the message of responsible trolley use. About 15 students from Jurong West Secondary School will distribute fliers to shoppers as well as residents living in the area.
Campaign collaterals are also on the trolleys to inform customers that trolleys are the property of FairPrice and the supermarket has the right to report those who wheel them out from the mall to the police.
Several measures were introduced by the supermarket chain in previous years to address the ongoing problem of abandoned shopping trolleys. These include exchanging identification cards, perimeter fencing and the coin-lock system.
"But these had limited success in addressing the issue ... shoppers will always find a way to defeat any security system," said Mr Seah.
Mr Seah hopes that the new initiative will complement the supermarket's ongoing efforts to address the problem of abandoned shopping trolleys in Singapore.
"We are always trying new solutions, finding new solutions. We think this is a step forward," he said.
"This is quite a drastic change from the earlier initiatives that we have taken. But we believe that having spoken to the community and the grassroots, they are all supportive, let's do something about it," Mr Seah added.