Just got back from a week in France where I was struck by an interesting take on the humble shopping basket, one which I haven’t seen on these shores. It was at the Carrefour supermarket.
The sides of the basket are sculpted in such a way that there’s really only one way to carry it, and the handle running along its length reinforces this aspect. The basket curves comfortably around your leg, and your hand and wrist are oriented naturally (think wheelbarrow rather than bicycle). Compare this with the utilitarian wire basket seen throughout the UK with harsh corners and typically two handles that must be gathered together before the thing can be lifted, and having to keep your elbow bent in order to manoeuvre gracefully.
There was another aspect to Carrefour’s basket: a companion trolley.
The basket is physically constrained in that it can only be positioned in one orientation on the trolley. It sits high for easy access, but you can place a second basket below for extra capacity.
The three-wheeled design crucially allows immediate and slick changes in direction – and it can all be done easily with one hand. As someone who regularly wrestles with over-full awkward baskets in a local overcrowded supermarket I was really taken with the usability and downright freshness of Carrefour’s set-up.