I spent nine months as a cart pusher before getting promoted. It’s not complicated, but it can be difficult at times. For this article, I will explain what’s involved, and how to prepare for your new job.
The most difficult part about your new job as a cart pusher will be working in bad weather. You will be working in extreme temperatures, as well as snow and rain. Make sure to wear weather-appropriate attire at all times, and bring extra clothing if you expect the weather to change throughout the day. Remember to bring gloves, and hooded jackets in the winter. In the summer, wear shorts, and drink plenty of water (sometimes the store will even provide Gatorade).
Rainy days were the worst for me. Some of my coworkers however, claimed to love the rain. Every individual is different, but I would recommend coming prepared until you know exactly how you feel about each situation. When it rains, wear a rain jacket and rain pants. Wear water-resistant footwear, but try not to wear anything too heavy; you will be walking all day long, and heavy boots can become a burden.
Try not to let bad weather conditions get you down. One of the best parts about working outside is that you get to be outside. You might have some rainy days, but you get sunny days, too. You might actually like working in the snow, and who wouldn’t want to work outside during spring and fall?
The Cart Pushing Machine
Maybe you’ve seen the machine that helps cart pushers do their jobs. That machine is called a cart mule. It allows the cart pushing associates to drive buggies, instead of push, and makes it possible for an associate to take care of an entire parking lot by himself if necessary. It works by connecting carts to the front of the machine, and then holding the run of carts together by holding back on them as the employee drives from the front. The machine is controlled by a handheld remote that has two speed buttons (turtle = slow, rabbit = fast), a horn, and off/on buttons. To stop the machine, simply release the turtle or rabbit button.
Driving the mule (if your store has one), will be your biggest responsibility. Drive through the cart bins ONLY if your store allows you to. Don’t go over the maximum amount of buggies you’re allowed to load onto the mule (usually 20-25), and don’t run into cars or pedestrians (very important).
You might be a cart pusher, but you’re just as responsible for customers as any of the other employees. You will be required to keep the entrances clean, carts available for use, and will occasionally be asked to help customers with carryouts. With any job relating to customer service, not all customers are nice. Handle rude customers the way you would handle your own family members (be nice, regardless of your personal feelings). Remember that customers expect good service, and it’s your job to make their day better. The good customers will always outnumber the bad, even though the bad will probably be more memorable.
The store I worked for allowed cart pushing associates to wear jeans. Because they’re more durable than khakis, you should take advantage of this dress code exception. You will be working with shopping carts, bins, and other objects that could potentially damage softer clothing.
If your store doesn’t have a cart mule, you will be pushing by hand. If this is the case, do NOT push more than you’re allowed to push. You will be tempted to do so in order to save time, but it’s not worth hurting yourself or getting fired.
Sometimes, your store will provide you with items needed to perform your job more comfortably. Clothing such as gloves, raincoats and rain pants are possible item your store might provide. As mentioned earlier, Gatorade, as well as coffee and bottled water might also be provided. You will have to ask your managers for information about what your specific store will provide.
Good luck with your new job. Be safe, and have fun.