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The first shopping cart

February 16th, 2006

[Shopping cart]

In 1936 Sylvan Goldman, owner of a self service store chain in Oklahoma City, had long realized that his grocery sales were limited by the size of his shopping baskets. His stores, like others of that era, had a supply of wicker or wire market baskets, for their shoppers convenience, but these baskets became heavy as they were loaded with food items, particularly for the woman buyer, who usually did most of the shopping.

One evening Goldman’s attention was drawn to two ordinary folding chairs. With a sudden burst of insight he envisioned a solution for the arm-weary shopper. If the seat of a folding chair were raised several inches and another similar seat were added below, a basket could be placed on each of them. Wheels attached to each leg would make the chair mobile, and the back of the chair could be adapted as a handle to push the cart. The basic drudgery of grocery buying would be eliminated, and the volume of grocery sales would be greatly increased. The shopping cart idea was born.

Later Sylvan Goldman built and patented his invention, and eventually became a multimillionaire. To learn more on Sylvan Goldman and the first shopping cart, you can visit the RealCart University site.

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