Shopping Carts in NZ and Australia

I believe the object Americans call a shopping cart is called a “trolley” in Australian grocery stores. I thought they called it by a third name in New Zealand, but I can’t remember. What is it?

Im from NZ and remember it as shopping trolley but I havent lived there since 92, might be a new words turned up or the memory is getting hazy.


It was definitely a shopping trolley when I lived in New Zealand.

Shopping trolley in NZ.
Ditto in Oz.

But Kiwis are pretty multilingual and will understand American idiom. We get enough of your TV shows.

But what I really want to know is why in Oz (where I presently live) they insist on having four steerable castors on all shopping trolleys. In NZ, the front two steer and the back two are fixed. The result is that the trolley goes in the direction that you point it and doesn’t slide sideways. You don’t wrench your back when you turn it around a corner. You can move it out of the way of other shoppers – it doesn’t career diagonally down the aisle. You can drive it across the carpark on a slight slope without it running away from you. And if one wheel is wonky, then it still behaves in a semi-manageable manner. [/personal rant]

I was at an IKEA recently (the one in Costa Mesa, California), and they had four-wheel-steerable carts there, too. I noticed the same issues you did - it was a good deal more effort to steer around.

Two wheel steering on shopping carts (NZ-style, apparently) is far more common around here - that’s why the IKEA cart stood out in my mind.

When I was in NZ, trolleys were called trundlers at some supermarkets.

This is the only type I’ve had exposure to, but I like them and I think it makes a lot of sense. The aisles can get pretty cramped sometimes and you’ve got all that extra manoeuvrability to just go directly sideways to get around someone.

And its great taking little kids shopping at least - my nephew loves spinning around in circles on the spot, and I find myself ‘drifting’ around corners. Yes I suppose that does help make your point that its not useful. Oh well.

Say, do shopping carts or trolleys Down Under veer off in the opposite direction from what they do in the Northern Hemisphere?

Yes, it’s the only way they can keep hitting the driver’s door.

When I read this I thought all four wheel went in the same direction instead of my usual; three wheels forward, one spinning aimlessly a millimetre off the ground or stuck facing left.

Woolworths in Australia originally called their shopping trolleys “gliders” (back in the 50’s, I think, when they first started using them).

This is the way they are in many places in Europe too, and I never understood that either. It’s surprising to me too. I prefer the setup where only two wheels are steering

I’m with Maggenpye- I can never find a shopping trilley that goes in the direction I want.

They’re sometimes called ‘baskets’ here in the UK* - even the big ones. I believe the industry sometimes refers to them as bascarts (sp?)

*(I do realise that’s outside the proper scope of the question, but we do sometimes share terminology with antipodeans)

:confused: Not in any supermarket I’ve been in. There are big trolleys and little trolleys but a basket is a basket that you carry - no wheels! Just try queuing up at the “Baskets Only” checkout with a trolley and see what happens :smiley:

On the two or four castors question all the supermarket trolleys in the UK have four. Large trolleys in DIY stores sometimes only have two.

It takes skill to drift a fully laden four-wheel turning trolley round the aisles at speed - you need to do a little anti flick first to start the rotational inertia, then power round with the back end - like a rally car. Heaps more fun :smiley:

NZers wouldn’t call a trolley a basket, we reserve that word for people from the UK… :wink:


I didn’t mean to imply that it was official or even common, but I’ve come across the usage - occasionally, but often enough to believe it isn’t just an idiosyncrasy of one or two people - that’s all.

Dunno, but the aisles must be full of Americans. No bastard keeps left.

The carts in Wisconsin wobble side to side as you push them down the shopping isle. I thought for years this was so you have mixed chocolate milk when you left the store. Paint in the cans was well blended too. Now I’ve decided it’s because we are on the 45th parallel and the carts oscillate between the north pole and the equator. By the way look up Poniatowski, Wisconsin. As you can see, we have the best attractions of the U.S.A. in Wisconsin. :wink: At this exact spot shopping carts will spin in circles on one back wheel. :eek:

Can’t stand trolley’s that won’t go straight. I’ve been known to keep taking them back till I get a decent one.

I think this was what I heard. In case there is something regional to it, I was in Auckland, and a Coles in Hamilton.

I too noted that Australian carts have rear wheels that pivot.

In Hamilton, they had 20 kg sacks of coal for $9 NZ. I took a picture, since this is not a common item in US supermarkets.