The Plenty River has reluctantly accepted its 25,000th abandoned trolley, and seemingly allowed the milestone shopping chariot to rest on its silty river bed. Like the talismanic used bandaid floating on the bottom of a public pool, a trolley resting in a suburban river or creek has become an accepted norm in the suburbs of Melbourne.
While some critics questioned the accuracy of such a high number, when you do the math it kind of works out. The New World supermarket first opened in Greensborough in 1973, revolutionising the shopping experience for local residents, and providing local youth with their first regular supply of trolleys. Since then, many more supermarkets have opened within walking distance of our favourite river, accelerating the number of trolleys being fished out of its pristine waters each week. So, in the 45 years since New World opened its doors, that’s an average of around 10 dumped trolleys a week. High, but not beyond the realm of possibility.
Despite many people thinking that trolleys are only useful for collecting groceries in the supermarket and then ferrying them to your car, the humble trolley is actually a very diverse vehicle. It can be used to transport goods from one place to another, perform amusing stunts with your friends, and we even have a recorded instance of a man offering uber lifts in one around the Greensborough area.
Not on that list, but also an incredibly popular use in our local area, is the dumping on an empty trolley into a nearby body of water. The reasons behind such a use remain unclear, but estimates indicate that the behaviour peaks on and around weekends.
Sadly, CCTV footage indicates that the vagrants who dumped the 25,000th trolley into the river over the weekend didn’t mark the occasion by constructing a crepe paper banner for it to crash through before it fell to its watery grave. Instead, they all just stood around laughing and slapping each other on the back.
One such vagrant, who denied involvement in the aforementioned milestone trolley abandonment but claimed responsibility for over 100 of his own dumpings, told The Watsonia Bugle, “Society has become quite numbing these days, what with social media, increased screen time, and less face-to-face human contact, so when I release a trolley into the murky waters of the mighty Plenty it’s one of the few times I truly feel alive. I’m hooked on the rush. I’ve tried to stop in the past, but I just keep coming back for more.”