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Thanks to Food Lion, shopping for ideas

shopping cartIt’s always interesting when a package addressed to a reporter shows up in the newsroom’s mail drop-off. The boxes are usually sent from public relations departments and include all manner of tchotchkes and curios somehow related to a news announcement but designed to pique our interest.

Past treasures have included flower-printed muumuus, sponge hair curlers and unidentifiable edible treats.

On Wednesday, I received a shopping cart.

Not a full-blown, play-bumper-carts-with-your-colleagues-size shopping cart, but one that would be just right for, say, an American Girl doll. (I put a box of tissues next to it in the picture to give you a frame of reference for its size.)

Graciously sent by the folks at Food Lion, a North Carolina-based grocer with supermarkets in 10 states, the mini yet fully functional cart symbolizes the changes being unveiled at the company’s 178 mid-Atlantic stores, which includes a broader selection of fresh produce, lower prices on 6,000 items, more store-brand products and — you guessed it — new shopping carts.

Was sending the cart a bit tacky? Yes. Gimmicky? Absolutely, but it got me to read the accompanying press release and now you’re thinking about Food Lion.

The poor rattling thing must have been tired from its long, bumpy ride —no bubble wrap! — but it’s been the center of attention all day. It’s carried messages from cubicle to cubicle. It’s been picked, prodded and marveled at. It almost took a tumble down the stairs.

But beyond the novelty factor, what could this noisy, steel contraption possibly be worth?

THAT’S WHERE YOU COME IN!

I am officially putting out a Request for Proposals. In the comment section, post your ideas for other possible uses for the cart.

(The creative juices are already flowing in The Daily Record newsroom. Editor Barbara Grzincic suggested turning it into a movable planter box that could be rolled to the perfect sunny spot spot throughout the day. Reporter Melody Simmons suggested using the cart as a fruit bowl on the counter — tres industrial chic!)