On Feb. 9, a woman took to Facebook to share a heartbreaking sight she'd regularly witnessed in her Simei neighbourhood.
The woman, Teo Siew Lan, wrote on the "My Home in Simei" Facebook group that her heart went out to one "white-haired elderly man", who was often seen pushing abandoned trolleys from all over Simei back to the NTUC FairPrice supermarket every day.
She added: "Rain or shine he’s out there looking for trolleys which have been pushed to homes in Simei, filled with goodies for many families. This morning [Feb. 9] he was caught in a slight drizzle."
Urged families to return trolleys after purchase
In her post, Teo urged fellow residents to "have a heart", and do their part in returning their trolleys to FairPrice after making their purchases.
She explained how these trolleys were not easy to handle on a daily basis:
"They are heavy, and sometimes the wheels don’t go in the right direction. The roads and pathways in Simei are not always level or dry. Pushing these too often will eventually take its toll on the uncle’s legs and knees."
Suggested ideas to make employee's life easier
Teo, who is a retiree, pointed out that she hoped the "terms and conditions" for those who were employed as an elderly or retiree could be improved.
Even though it is likely a part of the elderly man's job, Teo noted that solutions could still be put in place by employers to help.
- Employing able-bodied men for such a role
- Rotating staff to carry out the role, so that older employees could instead "sit in air-conditioned premises to check that customers" perform TraceTogether check-in safely
- Have customers pay extra for using the trolleys to push goods home, with a refund available upon them returning the trolley
- Installing a tracking device on the trolleys for easier tracking of abandoned trolleys, and imposing a fine on those who do not return them
- Having customers who wish to push the trolleys home also pay for the use of the tracking device, with a refund for the deposit upon its return
In response, commenters online shared their support for Teo's sentiments, and provided additional suggestions that could be implemented to address the problem.
This included pushing for others to use their own trolley bag, or have supermarkets impose a "perimeter lock" limiting the distance a trolley can be utilised.
One commenter also added that he recognised the man in the photo, and shared that the employee has been returning the trolleys for years now.
Teo ended the post with a plea for her fellow residents to return their trolleys, or consider trying out alternatives such as hiring a taxi to bring their goods back to their doorstep.
"No offence meant fellow-residents, but I sincerely hope we will not reach a stage of public shaming in order to have customers push their trolleys back to Eastpoint!"
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Top images via Teo Siew Lan Facebook