More like a love-hate story, actually. On one side are the shoppers and thieves who apparently love shopping carts. On the other side are people like Mr. Dick Turley of Wellton, Arizona:
“This is a probably useless appeal for the shoppers of Yuma to use a little consideration of others when discarding shopping carts after unloading their purchases,” he recently groused in a letter to the Yuma Sun newspaper. “In far too many instances they are simply left where they were standing, in the parking spot next to the shopper’s vehicle… In most cases these lazy slobs — and that’s exactly what they are — ignore a cart storage bin 50 feet or less away from them.”
Why, in his day, they didn’t have shopping carts at all! They had to stuff their groceries into a burlap sack and carry it home, uphill for five miles!
But Sun Belt retirees aren’t the only ones in a tizzy about shopping carts lately. Alerted to a scourge of abandoned shopping carts in its fair city, the Stamford (Connecticut) Advocate launched an investigation. “Grocery and department store carts seem to gather at bus stops… in the grass… in front of an apartment complex… hanging off a curb… pushed into hedges,” the newspaper reported. Store owners told the paper they regularly hunt down the abandoned carts and retrieve them. “They’re taken mostly by people who don’t have transportation,” said one. Others fear the carts, which cost upward of $100 apiece, could be sold for scrap metal if they’re not recovered.
Stores’ self-interest in recovering their carts apparently isn’t enough for one Louisiana community, though. Last month, the Terrebonne Parish Council in southern Louisiana passed a law that would have held grocery stores responsible for abandoned shopping carts. If the Public Works Department corralled the carts before the store did, the store would have to pay a fine to get them back, or have them confiscated. Residents wondered if the Council had anything better to do, and the Parish President vetoed the law last week. But the measure actually mimics a California state law that’s been on the books since 2010. That’s helped turn shopping cart recovery into a growing business of its own – just ask the California Shopping Cart Retrieval Corporation.
Pity there’s not a Colorado Shopping Cart Retrieval Corporation then. Because King Soopers shoppers in Denver are so in love with the store’s new miniature shopping carts, they’re rolling them all the way home and keeping them. “We kept replacing them and they keep stealing them,” a store spokesperson told Denver’s Westword newspaper.
The store is considering equipping the carts with technology that would lock their wheels a certain distance from the store. Or they may just stop replacing the fancy new carts altogether. “At some point,” the spokesperson says, “you have to stop, because it’s just not viable anymore.”
Really, everyone. If you love shopping carts that much, just buy your own. Stores, shoppers, legislators and Mr. Dick Turley will thank you.