What is your method of assessing peoples character?

in
Mount Barker, Australia
Level 10
977 Views

I have always judged the character of people in our society by…..the humble shopping trolley!

 

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A shopping trolley is supplied in most instances free of charge as a convenience for shoppers to convey their purchasers from the check-out to their vehicle. There is no obligation to do anything other than that and, this is where the ‘character’ bit comes in.

 

Shoppers fall into three distinct categories!

1/…..Those who (without a second thought) return the shopping trolley to the trolley coral. They don’t get a gold star for doing it, they just choose to be responsible, thoughtful community members. I would like to think this is the accepted community standard.

 

Unfortunately it is not!

 

2/……There are a large percentage who will wheel their purchases to their vehicle, load them and simply drive off leaving that shopping trolley to be someone elses problem…..leave it in the way of other shoppers without a second thought. It was just too much effort to be a responsible person.

This character of person I hope I don’t have to have anything to do with, life is all about them and sod-all to do with respect for the rest of the community.

 

3/….Yesterday I spent 2 hours pulling 3 shopping trolleys out of the creek that runs through our local Stephenson Park. These ‘shoppers’ (for want of a more appropriate word) not only used these trolleys that were supplied to try and help them, but when they had finished pushing them off the shopping premises and half way around Mt Barker, simply threw them into the Western Flat creek.

 

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Any person who will without a second thought deliberately destroy someone elses property which was provided to help them, for no other reason than, they can, is not in my opinion a fit member of society, These people have no character, they are just mindless individuals and it is my hope Karma catches up with them some day!

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I have cleaned these trolleys up as best I can and I will put them in the boot of the car and returned them to the appropriate stores. I don’t want or expect anything for it, I just want to be a good community person…..a person of some acceptable character!

 

PS: If this is not the appropriate discussion room for this thread can one of the admin staff please move it!

 

Cheers.........Rob

 

 

13 Replies

Re: What is your method of assessing peoples character?

in
Berlin, Germany
Level 10

@Robin4  The shopping cart was introduced in the 1930s as a gimmick to induce shoppers to spend more money. It's incredible how much likelier we are to buy more than we need, when we don't feel the physical weight of our purchases. And the parking lots to which shopping carts convey the groceries have come at a much heavier environmental cost than the carts dumped into waterways, ever since in the mid-20th century retail chains magnetized consumers toward low-density, car-dependent suburbs and exurbs. 

 

So while one might see a humble device that helps a consumer feed their family, another might see an engine of corporate profit and a minor character in a tragic legacy of environmental destruction. I don't know what might possess someone to roll one into a creek - perhaps the sheer boredom of life in a wasteland of parking lots. A big splash is pretty satisfying when you're about 12.

 

In Germany, you have to stick a coin or a plastic chip into a slot to release the shopping cart, which incentivizes the customer to return it to the corral. A simple, low-tech workaround to the supposed character problem.

Re: What is your method of assessing peoples character?

in
London, United Kingdom
Level 10

@Robin4 

 

Here in the UK, most supermarkets also have a system where you need to put £1 into the trolley, which you get back when you return the trolley to its rightful place. Unfortunately, a lot of people fit into your second category and need some sort of financial incentive to 'do the right thing'. At these shops, you never see trolleys strewn about the car park, but you do see them at the stores that don't have the £1 slots in the trolleys.

 

It was only when the government made it mandatory for shops to charge for plastic shopping bags that it became mainstream for people to take reusable bags to the supermarket. It started at 10 pence and is now 30p per bag, but even the 10p was enough. The change in behaviour was radical and swift. 

 

Now, if only there was as simple a solution to get guests to follow house rules. One could argue that a 'real' deposit might do the trick. In reality though, it's obviously more complicated than that...

Re: What is your method of assessing peoples character?

in
Placencia, Belize
Level 10

I don't think I know anyone who will willfully run a shopping cart into a creek instead of taking the time to return it to one of the parking lot slip stations. Those that would do that live in a different planet than I do.

Re: What is your method of assessing peoples character?

in
Mount Barker, Australia
Level 10

@Fred13 

Fred the thing that staggers me is, people think you are a hero for simply doing the right thing! Where on earth are we going, are our morals so bad now we need to be rewarded for just doing what you and I have always accepted as simply......the right thing!

 

Being a Sunday there were quite a few people in the park, lots of them came over to look at me (a 78 year old) climbing around in that swamp of water and reeds. Some took photos which they offered to send to me (the two blurry images) a couple of 10-12 year old boys asked if they could help me, and they were great. Everyone said 'good on you' but, not one of them would have taken their shoes and socks off, climbed in and done the same thing! 

 

I wasn't looking for praise Fred, it just incensed me that someone would actually do that. Each of those trolleys costs in excess of $300 and as you know, business is business.....we all end up paying for the actions of some bloody moron!

 

Cheers.......Rob 

Re: What is your method of assessing peoples character?

in
Placencia, Belize
Level 10

Perhaps what this shows is that the world could use more good examples, and better leadership. I don't think I have ever not been on some environmental or social cause and glad to report I never been short of followers with hearts in the right place.

Re: What is your method of assessing peoples character?

in
Prescott, AZ
Level 10

@Robin4 

Rob, what a great question to ask our guests! "Do you return your shopping cart to the rack when you go shopping"? If yes, accept their booking, if no, "I am not comfortable with this guest"! 😉

Ted & Chris

Re: What is your method of assessing peoples character?

in
Auckland, New Zealand
Level 10

For a moment @Robin4  I thought I was in hot water for 'borrowing' a trolley that yes is  going to be returned upon finishing the use of it, meanwhile they are perfect for trolleying items, groceries, from one abode to another with a little free advertising to boot. I can see it from where I am writing this 😉

 

Have a great day and keep up the great work.

 

I too dislike and don't understand people who throw trollies, or for that matter other items in waterways, nor can I stand seeing people's rubbish bins filled to the brim each week as it's beyond belief any person could generate so much rubbish, nor bother to think about where it ends up.

 

The world is a mess and much work needs to be done within countries educating those who fail to comprehend damage to the environment with their own actions.

Re: What is your method of assessing peoples character?

Level 2

I recently had a guest, a mom and her two children, who stayed with me for a three week period.  When they left two of my dining room chairs, (with seats of vinyl/leather) had been sliced into by a sharp knife in three different places.  An attempt had been made using kids' glue to somehow seal them together.  Fortunately  my own mom could fix anything.   She was a seamstress, made our clothes, darned our socks, turned shirt collars backwards to forwards to ensure another couple of years of wash, iron and wear.  When  anyone needed the seats of their dining room chairs replenished, mom would find some sturdy fabric to make them brand new again.  Rather than give them a bad review I was able to do the same for my own chairs.  I'm not sure how I will react if they ever want to book another reservation with me.  Truthfully this is one of the reasons why I don't like to take cats, or kids as they do manage to claw things up now and again.  I also truthfully wish all guests would let me know before they leave if there has been some kind of accident or damage done.  At the same time, I inherited my 'fixing up' from my mom so I usually find a way to extend the lifelines of an older object now and again.  I think we need to take care of each other.  The more we can do the better everyone feels.  I've hosted a lot of medical professionals.  They spend their money to get an an 'education of care'.  It takes a long time to get that education. They then go to work and take care of all of us when we are sick and aging.  That's a pretty good way to make the most of a lifetime.  

Re: What is your method of assessing peoples character?

in
Berlin, Germany
Level 10

@Yolande53   If a guest is in the habit of stabbing the furniture, that's something I'd definitely want to be informed about in their review. There's nothing wrong with posting an honest review and summoning your skills to fix the damage.

Re: What is your method of assessing peoples character?

in
London, United Kingdom
Level 10

@Andrew0 exactly.

 

@Yolande53 If you think it was the kids, doesn't it trouble you that they were playing with sharp knives? I'm not sure that is normal, but then again, I don't host under 18s, so perhaps I'm being naive...

 

Oh and I have three cats, one of which was a feral stray, and they have never damaged furniture like that.

Re: What is your method of assessing peoples character?

Level 2

@Andrew0 @Huma0 

Of course it's shocking to learn after a guest is gone with her kids that a 9 year old boy is playing with knives on my furniture. Having raised three sons by myself I can say that kids can and will get into everything without close supervision.  If kids aren't already growing up in a happy safe environment with mom and dad they aren't going to walk into anyone else's home with what's safe and what isn't.  Having said that We are in a business that invites strangers into our homes.  We  have no idea who they are, what kind of people they are, we are not a hotel, we don't have doormen and security staff and we are taking a chance everytime we are giving someone a key into our homes.  Most of the time we are lucky; sometimes we are not.  We don't instinctively get to know people before they come into our homes.  I don't think the questions that guests receive request information about whether or not their kids have visited airbnbs with parents before now and how did it go.  The questions are about cleanliness, communication obeying house rules etc.   I am the host of a 3 bedroom home.  My guests are usually couples in need of longer term stays, visits to relatives, rotational stays if they come to work in my city.  It's rare that I have kids, perhaps only 3 times before;  Before the cat situation, in the 9 years I have had my place, that is the only time that I allowed a pet, and that is because the guest was elderly and her stay was originally 4 months during a winter period.   I am going back to my no pet rule.  The kids went home to the far east.  And will of course not be having the same guest back.  I don't know if this helps anyone else.  Since her sister was my only contact I was not able to identify the guest herself.  Otherwise I would have identified her.  Besides the kids' mishap, she was a very clean guest and I'm disappointed that she didn't let me know of the damage.  My reasoning for this post is to be transparent with other hosts. I will continue to read up on what other hosts have had to deal with because information is power.  I have already learned that other hosts ask far more questions that what I do.  And I will do son in the future 

Re: What is your method of assessing peoples character?

in
London, United Kingdom
Level 10

@Yolande53 

 

Hotels might have security staff who can act when things get really out of hand, but they know less about their guests than we do prior to the stay. People get up to all sorts of things in hotels, especially in the rooms. Have you ever read Hotel Babylon? The difference is that most hotels take the guests' credit card details on check in, to cover 'additional expenses', which acts as a great deterrent I imagine in most cases. While we can specify on our listings that guests will pay for damages or be fined for smoking, we don't have those payment details and it's not up to us whether the guest will be charged or not.

 

The best we can do is to ask lots of questions beforehand and leave an honest review after, but you are right, guests are not automatically asked questions like whether their kids have stayed at an airbnb before and how it went (again why honest reviews are important). You have to ask the questions that are important yourself. It may scare some guests away, but I think I would prefer to not have guests who don't understand that a host wants to know a bit about who is staying in their homes.

 

A few months ago, I had an enquiry from a young man who wanted my exact address (I didn't give it to him, but answered his questions about journey times), but was astonished when I told him to verify his ID and change his weird username (not a proper name, but lots of numbers) before booking with me. He kept insisting that he didn't need to do it. I kept insisting that he did. I lost that booking, but I didn't mind at all! 

Re: What is your method of assessing peoples character?

Online Community Manager in
London, United Kingdom
Online Community Manager

@Robin4 I used to look at shoes, my mother does the same. The style and design of a shoe can say a lot about the character of a person, though I've been proven wrong often enough so I take these judgements with a grain of salt now!


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