Prague in Depth: Shopping - Shopping Carts

Get to know the Czech retail environment

Under Communism, the number of shopping carts a supermarket had was limited, in order to control the number of patrons a supermarket had at any given time.

If no carts were available, you had to wait until one was free before you were allowed in.

Until relatively recently, this practice lived on at many Prague supermarkets, where the staff -- still carrying the fear of Communist-era shortages -- paid strict attention to the number of shoppers they allowed in their store.

There was a time when you could get yourself yelled at for attempting to shop without a cart.

Now, however, the fear of shortages has virtually gone, leaving you free to shop with just a hand basket, or just your hands.

Keep in mind, though, that if you do want a cart, they're usually locked up and only a five-crown or 10-crown coin will release them.

(You may, of course, offer 10 crowns to a patron who is leaving the store, in exchange for their cart, especially if you don't have the coin.)

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