Shopping carts are disappearing

So, this is a pretty nar issue right now: shopping carts are disappearing from stores!

My local grocery stores had the quarter one for awhile then replaced them with ones which didn’t have any despoist and then just about late October/ early Nov they replaced those ones with new quarter despoit ones. But hey at least now i’m getting paid again when returning stray carts if they have 25c in them!

Mom said apperently people been stealing them.

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A local store chain came up with an ingenius–if expensive–solution.

A wireless perimeter around the parking lot (think invisible dog fence) that trips a brake system if the carts go past. Cart wheels lock up, thief has to either pick up and carry or abandon “their” cart.

It could be a bluff, but it’s not like I’d find out if it were. If it works, it doesn’t matter either way.


Oh, those work, but you can bypass them with a few fairly simple tools.

It doesn’t use an invisible fence, though, it uses a transmitter and if the signal strength drops too low, the wheels lock. It’s a patented technology!

Anyway, you basically need a specialized screwdriver to loosen the internal breaks… there’s a screw that you can adjust to adjust the tightness of the internal breaks, and you just loosen that all the way and you’re good.

The problem is it needs a specialty head to adjust.


Interesting! I figured it was like a dog fence. This is the first time I’ve encountered this technology.

While being easy to bypass is an issue, it’s not one most cart thieves are likely to try. Or at least, that’s my guess. I don’t put anything past thieves, especially not in my city where people have attempted to rob police-only gas stations…


The biggest downside to the technology is that, in certain parts of the store, if the owner is cheap about where they place the transmitters, things like fridges can block the signal and it can unexpectedly lock, say, the frozen food lane.

Someone I know needed a few stitches from their cart locking in exactly those conditions and going arse-over-teakettle as a result. Could make a good story.


Ugh, I’ve known a few stores who would cheap out like that. Those stores are closed now, because shoppers avoided them due their reputations.

Both stores were in the same building. Both also were almost always empty. A new store has since popped up there–a Hispanic/Latino-geared grocer. It’s rarely packed, but it’s never empty–there is always someone in nearly every aisle. (Their pastries are apparently delicious, but being diabetic…)

But yeah, submit that story! It would be a great addition to the NAW category.


Over here, where I am its usual for the carts (called trolleys here) to have the store logo and a phone no so you can report the location of abandoned ones for pickup. Some places will put you in a monthly draw for a gift voucher or similar, if you do.


My grandparents used to own a small mom and pop grocery store. People stealing carts was a big problem even decades ago. Those things are surprisingly expensive.


Years ago, when we lived in an apartment, shopping carts from the nearest grocery store would show up in the apartment parking lot every few weeks. I got very familiar with the number to call to get them picked up!

Sadly, my only incentive was to de-clutter the parking lot and/or pathway. I would have loved to also get put in for a monthly draw or the like.


It works, I speak from experience.


I remember seeing this system of braking trolleys at a Safeway store in Witham, back in about 1995. I was surprised not to have seen it anywhere else since then, but the explanations given here probably explain why it’s not so widespread


I worked at a Walmart for nine years, and when I first started working there, we had lots of shopping baskets. They started growing legs and walking out the door, and after a few years, we no longer had any baskets.