Two Small, Clever Innovations

While running errands yesterday, I discovered two small inventions which pleased me. They’re probably not new to you, but I don’t get out much.

Too Drunk to Handle the Basket?

First, I was at the Market on Yates (“and on Millstream”–brand extension problem, there), a grocery store. They have these shopping receptacles which work as a large basket or a small, rolling cart. They have two folding handles, and casters on the bottom:

Shopping Cart and Basket

They seem like the perfect solution for an urban grocery store with narrow aisles. They’re also a good fit for Victoria’s aging population, who buy small amounts but may not be able to handle a full basket. Apparently you can also find them at liquor stores, where you can deploy the cart features if you’re too drunk to handle the basket.

Hockey Cards for Hair Cutters

I also stopped in at a hair salon on Fort Street to schedule a haircut. It was my first time there, and it seemed like an ordinary enough place. I booked an appointment, and the receptionist handed me this little stack of cards. They’re essentially hockey cards for the stylists (collect them all!):

Stylist Cards from Rapunzel

These seem to serve a bunch of purposes:

  • They’re attractively designed, presumably reflecting the aesthetics of the salon.
  • They’re a practical reminder of my forthcoming appointment.
  • They’re a little conversation piece for me to take away and show potential customers.
  • They make the stylists feel a little like a celebrity, which probably helps with morale and employee retainment.

They cost very little to produce, but they’re a striking differentiator in a business where it’s often difficult to distinguish one salon from another. Being “the place with the hockey cards”, is a great hook to hang a brand off of.


  1. When I spotted those baskets at IGA, I too was impressed. Even a new dad can navigate a pram plus one of these nimble little beauties through the aisles, which hold just enough for two reusable shopping bags.

    Heh, but the only reason I commented was to give you a digital high-five for steadfastly referring to the cards as “hockey” cards. They’re made in Canada after all, and no one here collects baseball cards.

  2. most London Drugs now have those baskets, too. I find them handy as heck — I can carry more stuff with two hands than one (which I can do by putting my stuff into multiple bags at checkout), but it’s nice to have a hand free while shopping (rather than using two hands to hold the bloody heavy basket.)

    Or maybe I’m just a wimp. 😉

  3. Davin: Yep, that’s Rapunzel. I didn’t mention them because I couldn’t find a website for them.

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