Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Zero-G Shopping Cart

Actually pneumatically levitated; 'Zero-G' was just bait
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The problems with shopping carts are:

* Wheels that go wobbly
* Difficulty in guiding/steering
* Lower frame that cripples fellow shoppers
* They get stolen

I thought about hovercraft-style levitation, but that'd require an engine and fan. Instead, I propose air-hockey-style air-jets in the floor that lifts the cart. Sensors detect the position/presence of the cart and activate only the jets under the cart.

You get perfectly smooth, effortless travel and it can't easily be stolen from the lot.

FloridaManatee, May 14 2003

Air Casters http://www.aircaste...oducts-at-work.html
For those large shopping trips [Worldgineer, Oct 05 2004, last modified Oct 21 2004]

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       Self-rising flour...
thumbwax, May 15 2003
  

       Ah... I was hoping for an actual zero-g cart. 'Cos you know, in those orbiting supermarkets, groceries will just float right out.
waugsqueke, May 15 2003
  

       I envisage a few Marilyn-Monroe-standing-on-a- grating moments in this supermarket.
hippo, May 15 2003
  

       If the cart and floor were polarised magnets, it could float around on the magnetic field?
saker, May 15 2003
  

       Given all the gook that gets spilled on the supermarket floor, putting air-jets in the floor would work for all of about maybe one day. I also foresee a problem with jets being deliberately rigged to go off when certainly people (particularly ones wearing short skirts) pass by. Sorry, fishbone.   

       (Though I do generally like the idea of air cushion shopping carts: would make for even more fun scooting down the aisles at high speed.)
DrCurry, May 15 2003
  

       "Cleaner to aisle 7 - spillage in the custard aisle - aaagh - gluh..."


I like the idea of shopping trolley dance as a competitive sport. For example, here's a move which anyone can try: When wheeling your trolley down an aisle, give the back of the trolley a sharp movement to the left or right. The trolley will spin through 360 deg and you can then catch it. Children (sitting in the trolley seat) love this. Note that this only works with UK trolleys, rather than US trolleys which have fixed (non-steering) rear wheels.
hippo, May 15 2003
  

       hippo, have you been watching me? I do that 360º thing.
friendlyfire, May 15 2003
  

       hippo: I dunno, it works for me. US supermarkets also generally tend to have really long wide down which you can race at top speed without bowling little OAPs over.
DrCurry, May 15 2003
  

       [drcurry] if the air jets are strong enough, then spillage on the floor wouldn't be a problem. in fac,t they might help break up the sheen of gunk and lead to easier cleanup.   

       i like this. screwed up wheels on shopping carts are a huge source of minor irritation in my life.
urbanmatador, May 15 2003
  

       //If the cart and floor were polarised magnets, it could float around on the magnetic field?//   

       Imagine every can in the supermarket stuck like barnacles to the floor.   

       //Though I do generally like the idea of air cushion shopping carts: would make for even more fun scooting down the aisles at high speed.)//   

       Combine this with the 360 degree spin and you could put on a performance of Swan Lake.
FloridaManatee, May 15 2003
  

       Lady in Red...She’s shopping with me...
Shz, May 16 2003
  

       [DrCurry] New York haas shopping trolleys with steerable rear wheels?

It is of course axiomatic that shopping trolleys should have a litttle platform on the back which you can jump onto once you've got up a bit of speed.
hippo, May 16 2003
  

       sweet. i wonder if you could throw custard in the air and watch it fly around so peacefully like that bag of oreos and those croissants...... Yum... (+)
croissantz, Jul 17 2004
  
      
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