I read with much interest the report on the trolleys on some irresponsible shoppers that grabbed the headlines in Saturday’s Straits Times (“FairPrice rolls out ‘trolley’ enforcement officers’; September 1, 2016).
The management at NTUC FairPrice reported that with the loss of around 1,000 trolleys last year, the supermarket made losses of $150,000 in buying new trolleys. In addition, the abandoned trolleys left at void decks such as the one in Jurong West can block passage ways in the housing estate; and during a fire can endanger lives and hamper the work of the firefighters. This is not on.
While enforcement may help to reduce the number of abandoned trolleys, NTUC FairPrice could introduce a point reward system in which shoppers who use trolleys and is civic minded enough to return it after use, gets some points placed in their NTUC FairPrice plus card. The accumulated points can be used by the shopper to reduce the bill on their purchases every month.
The downside of enforcement is that customers will be driven away and this giant supermarket will lose business. So a balance has to be struck – a win-win situation for the good of everyone.
Besides benefiting the shopper, the supermarket tends to gain as more shoppers will be enticed to buy from NTUC FairPrice to secure additional points. It brings tangible as well as intangible benefits and I hope the management is open to this idea.
Another option is to give NTUC FairPrice vouchers of anything between $5-$10 for loyal and dedicated shoppers who make purchases of $100 every month. To cut to the chase, the bigger the purchases, the higher the payout.
Publicity and marketing of this proposed idea along with educating the public on the proper and responsible use of trolleys in newsletters from the RCs’ and CDCs’ will help reduce cost on purchases of trolleys.
In addition, periodic announcements on the public address system at the supermarkets can instill a sense of responsibility on the part of all shoppers.
Another practical suggestion to solve the problem of lost trolleys would be, as suggested by Forum Writer Ng Mee Joon, is for NTUC FairPrice to work with manufacturers to design and produce bigger but lighter and foldable trolleys for sale. (“Innovative solutions needed to solve missing trolleys problem”; Sept 12)
It is sad that because the trolleys that are provided by the supermarket comes free of charge, some shoppers do not value or appreciate the service provided. But when these very shoppers have to make use of their own trolleys which they have purchased, you bet they will make sure it is not dumped in one corner and forgotten.
RAYMOND ANTHONY FERNANDO
PROFILE OF THE WRITER
Raymond Anthony Fernando is a motivational speaker, poet, author, trainer, songwriter, freelance television actor, ghostwriter, media celebrity, regular newspaper forum page writer and an advocate for the mentally ill.
He is a volunteer with the Institute of Mental Health. The author of 32 books was married to Doris Lau Siew Lang, herself an author of 8 books. Doris was called to the Lord in April 2014. This Model Caregiver 2007 and Mental Health Champion 2010, who is born on Valentine’s Day, has contributed 31 years of service to the public sector, 15 years of experience in public relations work, and received several awards and commendations from government organisations.
Raymond attributes his success to his beloved wife, Doris, who has always been his greatest inspiration.