Baffled customers found themselves roaming the car park of an Asda store in search of something to shop amid a ‘ridiculous’ lack of trolleys.
The shortage at the Ashford supermarket has been blamed on people taking them home – or throwing them in the river.
The problem is said to have persisted for some time and when KentOnline visited the Kimberley Way store this week there were only five small trolleys available.
A few minutes later, six of the larger versions were out – by then the smaller ones were all gone.
Disgruntled shoppers say they have never seen such a scarce supply of trolleys in the main bay at the front of the supermarket.
Customers Mary and Tony were among the lucky few who managed to get one on a Thursday.
“People take them home with their groceries,” Mary said.
“They could have been thrown in the river or abandoned too.”
The dumping of carts has become such a problem that waste pickers in South Willesborough collect about 15 of them from the East Stour each time they meet for monthly cleanups.
This clearly weighs on the number available at the Asda store.
Another customer, also called Mary, called the situation “ridiculous”.
“I have no idea where they all went,” she said.
“It’s going to make it very difficult for people to shop.”
Another shopper who visited the store earlier this week says the issue needs to be fixed quickly as it is an inconvenience.
“I was looking for a little cart in the main bay outside the entrance but couldn’t find one,” he said.
“So I started wandering around the parking lot and only managed to find some at the third bay where I arrived.
“It’s a downside. Luckily I was fit enough to walk around the parking lot, but if I was an elderly person there could have been a problem.
“They really need to sort this out – there seems to be a general lack of carts for some reason.”
South Willesborough waste pickers have already asked Asda if they could donate a grappling hook anchor for £17, four heavy waste pickers which cost £23 each and four new bin bag hoops which cost around £14 each.
But the supermarket said it was unable to help because its community fund ‘cannot be used outside the store’.
Chris Pimm, who joined the group four months ago, said: “We have a lot to do with waste, we don’t need Asda trolleys to sort too.
“They could even send two employees once a week to drag them around, but they don’t.
“They pick up the carts from the parking lot, why don’t they pick them up from the river?
“Asda once told me that a disabled trolley costs £800 so they’re not cheap. We’re saving them money and they won’t help us.”
Frustrated customers have also taken to Facebook to raise concerns about the lack of trolleys at their local supermarket.
“This bad behavior from some shoppers will just force supermarkets to only offer baskets,” one wrote.
“So everyone loses because of a minority.”
“Go back and put a pound in it and you’ll get them back…”
Another resident said she saw about seven carts stolen in the space of 40 minutes while at the playground behind the store.
Some are calling for Asda to reintroduce the one pound user fee.
“Put it back to put a pound in it, then you’ll get it back,” she wrote.
While another resident replied that the cost should be increased to £2, then they will be returned.
Asda has been contacted for comment.
South Willesborough waste pickers meet on the first Wednesday of every month to clean the streets, starting at the Swan Center from 9am.
‘It’s ridiculous! Where have all the carts gone?