Even if your clunker didn't qualify for any cash, it's a great time to pick up a new fuel efficient vehicle suited to your current needs. Since I've already been through the drill, I thought I'd share my research to help anyone else who's in the market.
FAMILY-SIZED AND ECONOMY:
- Costco shopping carts Costco carts are humongous and totally lacking in style. But that's part of their charm. In fact, it's the only part of their charm. Two-toned in black and grey steel, the design is no-nonsense--boxy and utilitarian. Made to schlep almost a ton of your most important belongings, even the 60 inch plasma TV you can't bear to part with. Ergonomics are mediocre. A highly placed handle bar could contribute to shoulder and neck problems with continued use. The wheel system is primitive, yielding a rather bumpy ride. All in all, not a great choice unless you're a hopeless pack rat or a Gosselin+ sized family (in which case I also recommend finding yourself a publicist).
- Safeway shopping carts A solid cart that holds a lot of stuff. Silver all over with particularly wide grids, the Safeway cart comes in a choice of Red or Blue plastic accents. it's not the most efficient vehicle for transporting smaller items like jewelry, knickknacks and cosmetics which can slip through the holes (I lost my favorite Lancome lipstick to this cart), but it's great for larger objects like your shoes, purses and winter coats. There's a foot bar near the base on the driver's side that makes it particularly fun for popping wheelies -- it's like having a built in gym.
LUXURY AND HYBRIDS
- Trader Joe's shopping carts Neither luxury or utilitarian, a Trader Joe's cart is the rare hybrid that's both practical and sporty. The lines are jaunty and clean, it comes in a hot fire engine red, the wheels are aligned so it corners like a dream. And while the cart is compact and agile, it carries a lot of stuff. I managed to fit an aquarium, 20 lbs of newspaper, several figure skating trophies, my two cats and a margarita blender in there without it seeming cramped. The best of all worlds. This cart makes up for Trader Joe's frugal free food samples.
Thanks to Deb Lucke for the illustration.