A whole lot of grit and grunt

HERE’S the thing: I can’t actually remember the last time I returned my shopping trolley to an allocated trolley bay in a car park.

Is that bad?

I should point out, I’m not one of those annoying shoppers who leave my trolley aimlessly floating about, where it’s in danger of scratching another car or taking up a carspace.


But when I duck into Coles or Woolies to stock up on groceries, it’s usually with a small child (or two) in tow, which makes the act of returning said trolley much more complicated than when I’m shopping solo.

It’s usually the safer and, yes, the more convenient option to just wedge it into a secure spot nearby.

I’ve always figured that it’s okay, because people are employed to collect wayward trolleys and if we all became Darren do-gooders and parked our trolleys back in the bay after use, they’d wind up out of a job.

At the minimum, they’d get their hours cut. Right?

That’s how I’ve always justified it anyway, and to honest, I’ve never felt all that guilty.

Until now. I read a report last week from the Fair Work Ombudsman, which reveals that some shopping centre trolley collectors are being paid as little as $8 an hour.

Eight dollars!

To buy a sandwich and a drink on their lunchbreak would cost them more than they earn in an hour!

Have you seen how much effort goes into recalling trolleys at the major shopping centres around the Coast? It takes a whole lot of grit and grunt to load up and guide dozens of trolleys back and forth – and in summer it reaches a new level when they have to contend with soaring temperatures, too.

Earning a paltry eight bucks an hour for all of that work is completely illegal, of course, because the minimum wage is more than double that figure, at $16.87.

As a result, the FWO has several matters before the courts, claiming that 71 trolley collectors have been underpaid by almost $500,000 between them.

I’m sure the good retailers of the Gold Coast do the right thing and pay their staff a proper wage, but I now can’t help but feel for those poor blokes who have to ferret my trolley from behind poles and between railings in the carpark.

Perhaps I should start seeking out the trolley bays after all…

The Meddler

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