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Shopping carts

A closely-cropped picture looking down into an empty shopping cart

Shopping carts at Home Depot are shorter than those at the grocery store. (Probably wider too.) Why? Have you ever tried to lift a big, heavy box onto something like a counter? There are no hand-held baskets. Instead, they usually have stacks of five-gallon buckets (in their signature orange) at the start of each aisle.

Carts at Target are much rounder, softer. Baskets have a sort of concave peanut shape to them and a single handle that runs lengthwise across the opening. They’re much easier on the thighs when you’re lugging around a lot of heavy things.

At IKEA you can move your shopping cart around in any direction. Each of the wheels rotate 360 degrees, perfect for winding your way through the self-serve marketplace and warehouse, weaving in and out of crowded aisles. Instead of a hand-held basket, you can borrow one of their big yellow bags.

Shopping carts at Costco are like tanks or school buses or USPS mail trucks. Very utilitarian. They’re so wide there are two spots for toddlers. No hand-held baskets.

Some grocery stores have shopping carts with wheels that lock if you go past a certain point in the parking lot. Hand-held grocery baskets with that classic silhouette are not ergonomic: Square sides, two squared handles.