Consumers ditching full shopping carts more than ever: report
By Jason Buckland, Sympatico / MSN Finance
It’s been a tough, gritty fight to find the most depressing story of this recession.
Back in March, no one was having sex. Then April came, and abortions were on the rise. Just last month – in a kind of cruel, ironic circle of life – people couldn’t even afford their own damn funerals.
Rarely have stories come out showing just how the downturn has ravaged our psyche, though, having turned healthy consumers into frugal, paranoid and frightened shoppers.
The new report doing just that comes from the Associated Press, and the only thing eclipsing its discouragement is its subtlety in doing so.
According to the news agency, instances of abandoning your shopping cart – you know, filling it up, walking it around the store and just flat-out leaving it in an aisle without buying anything – have shot through the roof since the recession began.
This is nothing new, of course; it happens in the grocery store all the time. But the types of abandoned sales and the frequency with which it’s occurring certainly seems like cause for concern.
A retail consultant tells the AP that, while “hard numbers are difficult to come by,” in 25 per cent of shoppers’ trips to the store, they’re now ditching at least one item. In the recession of the early '90s, it was 15 to 20 per cent. “In good times, it’s more like 10 per cent,” he says.
People “want to be in the act of shopping, but they don’t want to be in the act of buying,” Joel Bines, a turnaround consultant, adds on the matter.
Now, it’s easy to sit back and say, Well, great, it’s about time we smartened up and stopped spending over our heads. A little rationality isn’t hurting anyone.
Yet look closer and the real story here is how damaged shoppers have become in light of the economic adversity.
Consider, too, how such trends appear to affect stores like Home Hardware (labour costs for restocking abandoned goods would go up without any actual sales to offset them) and this issue becomes greater than one of personal spending.
And in an economy many advise will remain stagnant unless we go out and buy stuff, chalk this up as another red flag in the long line of depressing recessionary anecdotes.
Posted by: cindi | Aug 24, 2021 4:37:02 PM
I have ditched full shopping carts, but not because I don't want to pay for the items. After I have loaded the cart full I get to the check out to find they have 2 cashiers - 1 in express and 1 for more than 8 items and the line up is heading to the back of the store. Serves the store right if they have to restock. They obviously don't respect my time if they think I need to stand in line twice as long to check out as it took me to accumulate the cart load in the first place. I have bailed on the big "superstores". I now frequent a smaller IGA store in my community that stills provides bags (not in GTA) and packs them for me. They also have enough staff to handle the volume of customers at the checkout , deli counter etc. Bravo to them...keep up the good work.
Posted by: tom | Aug 25, 2021 1:36:58 PM
put more cashiers on.... thats the point not consumers cutting back .... business cutting back on service
Posted by: Ed | Aug 25, 2021 2:19:07 PM
I agree with th eother comments. Everytime that I go to one of those big stores to save a few dollars I pack up what I need, get to the front find they have one or two registers open out of the 10 or 15 they have there and there is a huge line so I just park the cart somewhere and leave. If they would bother putting enough staff on to make the wait reasonable I would buy there but as they are right now I don't even bother going in anymore.
Posted by: don | Aug 25, 2021 6:25:38 PM
I spent many years working for a large retail outlet. yes, the sevice is poor but in my 30 years in the job market I have never been asked to do so much for so little. It was always hard to wait on customers when paperwork had to be completed, shelves had to be stocked, pricing had to be updated, new merchandise worked in, seasonal changeovers done and the list goes on.
The big stores do save you a few dollars but the price of that savings,passed onto you, is in lack of staff to provide service.
When recruiting for retail I had one prospective employee ask this question. "Why should I work here when I can go to a smaller store, make the same amount of money and do half the work?" They did not get the job.
For all the people working in these retail outlets...thank you. If I cant wait I will pay a little more.
Posted by: y bell | Aug 26, 2021 12:52:06 AM
I have read a number of comments. Why is it people chose to over extend themselves. Children, no children, spouses, no spouses, own a home or not. Why? Just live a tiny bit below your means, pay check etc.
Posted by: Kathy | Aug 27, 2021 5:33:51 PM
Maybe those cashiers haven't had their hours cut. Maybe they have to spend a lot more time restocking shelves -- all those abandoned carts, you know.