Dumped Woolworths trolleys spark fierce debate: 'How is this Woolies' fault?'

Photos of several Woolworths shopping trolleys dumped in various locations of the Whitsundays in Queensland have fuelled a debate over whether the supermarket should be held responsible for recovering the stolen carts.

One concerned resident took to Facebook to raise the issue through the group Whitsundays Chat, saying Woolies needs to take responsibility to stop people from taking the trolleys away from the supermarket vicinity.

"When is Woolworths going to take responsibility or be held to account for people removing shopping trolleys from their premises and littering our beautiful town and our oceans?" the upset man ranted in the post, adding that he found seven trolleys in the Port of Airlie marina.

Abandoned Woolworths shopping trolleys in waterway; Woolworths trolleys stacked at carpark
A post about abandoned Woolworths trolleys in the Whitsundays has fuelled a debate over who should take responsibility for recovering the carts. Source: Facebook

"Go to any city and they have geo-locks on them, which means the wheels lock up as soon as they pass an imaginary line, meaning people can't remove them from outside the supermarket determined area. Please, someone do something!" the man continued.

While everyone acknowledged the negative impact of stolen and dumped trolleys, some members of the group expressed a different opinion on who should be taking responsibility.

"This is the issue with society. Always ready to point the finger at everyone else rather than the individual," someone commented.

"Why can't people just return them to the trolley bays instead of being lazy, obviously trolleys are supplied for the convenience of the shopper, so once finished put them back!" another wrote.

"Any shopping centre is not responsible for the actions of the individual shopper. Don't you mean when are people going to be more responsible for their actions?" one woman pointed out.

Abandoned Woolworths shopping trolleys on side of road and in shelter
A concerned Whitsundays resident took to Facebook to complain about abandoned shopping trolleys, but not all are in agreement that Woolworths is responsible for their removal. Source: Facebook

Boat users to blame?

Some members of the Facebook group placed the blame for the abandoned shopping carts on boat users who dock their vessels at the marina, accusing them of dumping trolleys in the water after removing their groceries from them.

"Terribly lazy of people not to return the trolleys! Maybe the marina could have a trolley bay area for those boaties that don't have cars to drop their trolleys off? Then at least all those trolleys are easier for Woolies staff to collect," another person suggested in the comments.

"If boaties are capable of pushing a shopping trolley to the marina maybe they should push it back to the shops instead of just leaving them everywhere and expecting someone else to clean up after them," one person argued.

Shoppers defend supermarket

Some members of the Facebook group leapt to Woolworths' defence.

"What's Woolies to do? Put all their trolleys on a leash? When will humans beings stop being lazy, vandalising and destructive is my question?" one group member commented.

"Hang on, how is this Woolies fault?" asked another. "This has nothing to do with Woolies. They provide these for you to use, thankfully. Not to abuse them."

The author of the post added an edit to his post, writing, "I agree, lazy thieves are the issue, but Woolworths has to take responsibility and stop it, which can be easily done. If your property is stolen and you have made no attempt to protect it by locking it up, do insurance pay out? Most cases no, because it's on you to have a responsibly to help protect your property. Same goes here."

Woolworths responds

A Woolworths spokesperson told Yahoo News Australia that they invest millions in collection services to help mitigate the impact of abandoned trolleys in the community.

"Trolleys are provided for the convenience of our customers and the vast majority do the right thing in returning them," the spokesperson said in a statement and added, "We understand abandoned trolleys can be a nuisance and that's why we invest millions in collection services to help mitigate their impact in the community."

"We work closely with dedicated collection contractors who respond quickly to reports of abandoned trolleys to return them to our stores. They also conduct regular sweeps for abandoned trolleys in the streets surrounding our stores," the spokesperson further stated.

"These efforts not only help preserve local amenity, but also ensure we have enough trolleys available for our customers in our stores."

Woolworths has a partnership with Trolley Tracker, a service that allows members of the public to report abandoned trolleys through a free phone call at 1800 641 497 or online so trolleys can be removed from an area in a timely fashion.

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