Hot Item at Safeway: Shopping Carts

Safeway's empty shopping-cart corral

Sometimes you just have make a Safeway run at 4:30 p.m. on a Saturday. And when you do, you generally expect to be able to shop with the help of, you know, a shopping cart.

But this past Saturday, despite there being plenty of empty parking spaces, there were no carts to be seen anywhere outside the building. (Unless you count a couple of locked off-brand ones sitting by the 29th Street cut-through.) Lucky for me, someone had abandoned a cart inside, near a cash register.

I asked courtesy clerk Derek what the story was. He said (very courteously), “They’re probably all in use. We don’t have much. Sorry about that.”

Hmm, is this some sort of Taoist simplicity thing?

PHOTO: Bronwyn Ximm

32 thoughts on “Hot Item at Safeway: Shopping Carts

  1. I think all supermarkets, including the Safeways and Trader Joe’s, should get those smaller-sized grocery carts like Whole Foods offers. These are much easier to manipulate through a crowded store.

  2. It is sad this is the closest Safeway in the city, since it is consistently one of the worst experiences we all have here. Personally, I have walked out *without purchasing* more times than I’ve actually made it to the registers because there are so few checkers and long lines. So it’s not surprising that they also skimp on the carts. Sucks because I do love the taoist “S” logo on the outside.

    • Funny… I went on Sunday afternoon, and also noticed the conspicuous lack of carts. I suspect many of them have been stolen.

      +1 on the minicarts! I’d love those.

      Also, reasonable people can disagree here, but I’m a fan of this Safeway. I like the compact size, especially since the remodel a few years back, which makes it very easy to get in and out. The checkout staff is friendly, but it is true that this is not the most beloved store in the Safeway empire, alas…

    • Worst. Safeway. Ever.

      I’ve been there when the lines stretch more than halfway down the frozen aisle. I’ve waited and waited for someone in customer service to get me something in a locked cabinet before I gave up and went next door to Walgreens. I often come back to my car to find a locked cart or two blocking me in.

      I’d rather drive up to Diamond Heights or pay the premium at Good Life.

      • Hey! That’s what I was going to say: Worst. Safeway. Ever.

        After coming back from vacation, my wife went there to restock our home. Waited in a line that reached the back of the store, then was directed to get in the back of the other line just as she reached the front of hers because the checked was going on a break. No manager. She left in disgust without any groceries. No response from Safeway to our letter of complaint. Boycotted all Safewaya for two months.

        Now we only shop at Safeway for very few things, and never go to that one. Never.

        Trader Joe’s. CSA produce box. Farmer’s Market. Sometimes the Good Life. There are alternatives!

  3. I’ve experienced the same thing. I was there on a weekday, around mid-day. I was wondering if some had been stolen because it doesn’t seem like they have cart locks in the parking lot (those magnetic strips that lock the wheels). I really like the idea of adding some new mini-carts! They have those at the 4th/King Safeway (which also had a small cart inventory).

  4. Same issue at the Portero Center Safeway. Lack of carts almost every time I go there.
    I wish they would reinstate the locks and chains where you deposit a quarter and get it back after you return the cart. Though I’m sure that is some sort of violation of human rights. So, alas, we shop without carts

  5. They get a lot of their carts stolen, and they just don’t replace them. They don’t even have that many small hand baskets. You all might be surprised to know that this Safeway is leagues better than it used to be back in the late 80’s and early 90’s where it was downright surly and completely disorganized. The one that was locked in the past for many years (including the old school cash registers) was the Portrero Center Safeway. That was the forgotten Safeway, as it often was scary low on inventory, etc. There just wasn’t much stuff there. But, yes, I think ours on Mission is close to being pretty scruffy.

  6. If the management would just employ one more checker, everything would be ok. It’s outrageous that during peak hours, they will sometime have only two registers open. 15 minute wait in the express line for milk and eggs? Cmon, guys.

  7. I suppose I should have better things to say about this Safeway since my darling next door neighbor on Precita was a checkout lady there for 20 or 30 years (she’s lived in her house since the 1960s or earlier). Unfortunately I can’t say enough bad about the place.

    It’s almost impossible to find a shopping cart, and I’m not exaggerating. I’ve left many times because there are no carts. I’ve watched scary-ass looking people grab food and beer and walk out the door without paying several times. I can’t say I blame security, I wouldn’t want to mess with these thieves either. The quality of the food is horrible. You wait for ever to checkout. The list goes on an on.

    I’ve completely given up on the place. I go to Good Life or Whole Foods, it’s more expensive, but you get what you pay for.

  8. Don’t know why this post tickles my fancy, but I started laughing out loud at work after reading it. Sure miss the neighborhood now that I don’t live there anymore.

  9. Todd, I think you live in an alternate reality. The Mister and I refer to this location as “the Stupidity Museum” because the employees there always act rude, clueless, and unintelligent. I’m also constantly amazed that a store that has room to stock 63 flavors of Campbell’s soup doesn’t stock staples like ground turkey.

    • I guess I’ve had better luck on the employee front — they’ve always been friendly to me. Kind of amazing, given all the negatives associated with this particular store, which no doubt make their already-thankless jobs even harder. Hello, corporate Safeway — anyone listening? Throw your brand a life jacket, will ya?

  10. They’re all in use all right. Keep your eyes open throughout the Mission, and you’ll see plenty of them in use from alley to alley, dumpster to dumpster, and corner to corner.

  11. I am in Glen Park and fortunate that there are 3x Safeways all exactly a mile from my house. Diamond Heights, Mission/Bernal, and Sunnyside. While I cant comment on the number of Carts at Sunnyside Safeway, that place is the land that time forgot. I seriously saw a can of beans there from 1972.
    Whole Foods for the meat, Diamond Heights for the best closest Safeway, Taoist Safeway when I need to go to Walgreen or need a a burrito, Castro Safeway when I want decent produce and Canyon Market if I feel like spending $50 on cheese and crackers.

  12. I worked for Safeway for fifteen years. The one thing that I discovered is that no matter what the economic climate, Safeway never has a slow period. In a catastrophe, folks eat; in times of celebrations, folks eat; in times of recessions folks eat (even more so), ;holidays? everybody eats to the point of exhaustion.

    The point is, Safeway is a multimillion dollar money maker that has not ever shown any symptoms of slowing down their potential for sales and thus profits. At least I never witnessed any as a checker in the check stands at Safeways across the city and bay area. There is no real excuse for this lack of carts at our store. It is baloney. They do have the money and they can purchase more carts for all of us to have if they really did care about their customers. Truth is, Safeway can give a rats ass about their customers. The management does not and will not support the employees calls for help and improvements that they see are necessary for “superior customer service.”

    If Safeway was honest about caring for their customers, their would be rows and rows of shopping carts mimicking images of Costco’s entry on any given day. This blaming of the homeless and the non affluent is ignorant and most of all cruel!

    Safeway has the money to provide us with new clean carts. The employees clearly understand this but are powerless to do anything. If you want carts, do not waste your time with the “First or Second” assistant managers, they are even more powerless than the union clerks. Go directly to the store manager and insist on “more” carts for the customers. There is absolutely no excuse for this lack of shopping carts in a store such as this. If s/he does not resolve the issue, then, nothing has changed at Safeway in the last fifteen years since I left.

    That is, the management can care less about the customer. The very fact that we are discussing this issue of such an elementary part of shopping in here is proof of such. They just simply do not care.

    This issue will not be resolved.
    I guarantee it.

  13. Long lines at peak times were bad – walked out countless times. But the straw that broke the camel’s back was seeing two guys hitting each other in the head right outside the front door while I was there with my 2yo – and this was, like, at 10am on a Saturday. Staff were actually quite nice, though.

    Checkout peeps at Canyon Road are plainly all stoned, all the time. Just try asking for a bag at the start…it just won’t register. They put all your stuff on the other side of the counter, make change and then stare at it for 10 seconds before going…’oh, do you need a bag?’ *all of them do this*

    • Assuming you mean Canyon Market, I must say that they have some of the only bread worth eating in this town. And all kinds of other goodies and what I’ve found to be amazing customer service, AND THE BREAD>>>>>>> 🙂

      • Canyon Market is the best market within 2 miles of Bernal. Great pre-prepped food, great made to order sandwiches, quality produce, 10% off for bicycle coalition members. The prices? I don’t really pay attention to what good food costs, I just get it.

  14. What I enjoy most when I go to this Safeway is having to walk into the dark, cavernous cold room to get my own gallon of milk that somehow got stuck at the top of the slanted rack. Never anyone available to help. Everything else is closed. It’s late and I’m desperate. It’s organic for the kids. They never have enough. No joke. I’ve had to do this on more than one occasion.

  15. Does anyone out there care to teach the Safeway clerks the basics of phonetics so they can somewhat accurately pronounce my last name after every purchase?

    • Actually, the one hidden asset of this Safeway is the (ok, it’s actually totally gross,) public restroom they have in the back. If you’re drunk enough, it’s not so bad.

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