When people ask me about the differences between France and U.S., one of the obvious differences is the grocery shopping situation. I've already discussed bringing your own plastic bags and bagging your own groceries.
But before you can get that far into your shopping, you must first have a Euro. If you don't have a Euro, you can't get a cart. You must insert the euro into the little box in order to unlock your cart that is currently locked to all the other carts.
I fully support this idea. There are no random carts floating around the parking lot, threatening your vehicle.
The real problems start once you've detached your cart and pull it out of the cart stall. Yes, the problems begin when you actually try to PUSH your cart. That's because all four wheels turn all the way around. Unlike carts in the US (or baby strollers, for instance) which have two fixed wheels and two wheels that can turn 360 degrees.
This may sound really neat because it enables you to push your cart left and right at will as well as forward and backward just like KIT, David Hasselhoff's car in Knight Rider. But the truth is, it stinks. Especially if you have anything more than a loaf of bread in your cart. Illustration below:
So I've decided to make the kids push the cart so that I can be free to roam around Auchan at my leisure and not have to strain myself. ;)
Here is Carter earning his keep in France.