Austria and the Case of the Missing Shopping Baskets

You can often size up the major likes and dislikes about a place pretty quickly. Some of them are widely known – good food and bureaucracy in Italy, for instance. However, it takes a while living somewhere to start noticing the little annoyances or pleasant little things.

One of the things that I still can’t figure out about Austrian supermarkets is that they don’t have shopping baskets. Shopping carts, yes – just like in Italy, you have to put in a Euro to unlock it and use it – but there are very rarely baskets that you can carry around if you just need to pick up a few things. The result being that people either remember to bring a bag or something else of their own, or you see people headed towards the checkout line with their arms and hands full of stuff. It’s quite bizarre, and I don’t know what to make of it. Italy certainly has the handbaskets. So does the US. I can’t really think of anywhere I’ve been that doesn’t, come to think of it. Once in a while, you’ll see one around, but it’s pretty rare.

So… does anyone out there know the answer to this little mystery? Why don’t they have shopping baskets in Austria – or is it just Innsbruck?

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