City's Still Struggling With Way to Keep Shopping Carts From Wandering Away

Categories: City Hall
abandoned-shopping-cart.jpg
Speaking of Quality of Life ...

At the end of January, the council committee debuted a short film titled The Shopping Cart Menace!, which tallied up the number of abandoned carts in and around Vickery Meadow (spoiler alert: 40 espied during a 20-minute look-see) and demanded the council "pass an ordinance with teeth" that would clean up the problem. Because it's a problem everywhere. Which the council readily acknowledged by putting in place a pilot program intended to ID five target areas where the city would "gather baseline data on the number of abandoned shopping carts and what measures were taken by the stores to retain and/or retrieve carts."

Long story short, per today's catch-up session starting right about now: Since April 2011, those five target areas -- Vickery Meadow, Coit and Spring Valley (where the Richardson Kroger is to blame ... Richardson), Lancaster-Kiest, Polk-Camp Wisdom and, very specifically, the 500 block of Maple Avenue, a few blocks from the El Rio Grande -- were responsible for 486 of the 630 abandoned carts snatched up citywide. The reason: Most of those hot spots are near multifamily dwellings, especially in Vickery Meadow, which leads city staff to believe that "proximity of stores to apartment complexes is a key barometer for areas for abandoned carts." Hence, Fiesta's talking to some Vickery Meadow complexes about building "cart corrals"; if you can't beat 'em, at least keep 'em all in one place where the grocery store's staff can collect the carts at once.

There are a few other potential solutions, among them getting apartment residents those nifty hook-and-gos or offering them rides to the grocery store, so they don't need to borrow a cart. There are myriad ways to keep carts from going rogue -- CartControl+, forcing the stores to pay a fine for each cart retrieved (one Cali city charges $100 per), repo men -- but the city still struggles: to punish those stores who don't do anything to keep carts on the property, or to reward those who do? And how?
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44 comments
pak152
pak152

better yet use one of the old Sacajawea dollar or the current President dollar coins, stores can put up a change machine near the carts to issue the coins for a dollar bill. and yes the bums would gladly work to return the carts to make a buck. just like when they pick up aluminum cans for recycling

BCulbreath
BCulbreath

Very simple solution DART can offer shopping ride on certain day Apartment complex could pay for it.First of month when Checks of all kind come in,take a load,bring a load.Another idea is to put metal post around front of store that will prevent cart from going out into parking area,post are simply put close enough together cart cannot exit.

Omar Jimenez
Omar Jimenez

Isn't there a fine if you take a cart away from the stores property?

AskTheMexican
AskTheMexican

They will become a hot commodity very soon, a few folks will need them to sell Tamales or Atoles around their neighborhoods. Maybe we should ask the City Council to propose a "Special Use Permit" to gather up funds on whatever other "Research" will be needed. Maybe form a committee to count how many bird droppings fall on vehicles.

US175guy
US175guy

I remember when the Albertsons at Forest/Audelia was still open, the company sent that store the crappiest carts from the other stores, because they knew the carts would get swiped.  There were many in the creek beds off Audelia, and several in my old apartment complex.

Josh's broken records
Josh's broken records

Richie needs to borrow one, he has to clear out the Sportatorium...might need two, those wrasslin rings are quite bulky.

donovan acree
donovan acree

Why is this being discussed? We already have laws and courts in place to deal with theft of property. What we don't have is a police force willing to enforce our laws (unless there is a margin in it for them). I think that's a bigger issue.In any case, the entire idea of finding creative ways to solve the problem seems ridiculous to me when the solution is right there and already in place.

Montemalone
Montemalone

Please don't ban the plastic bags, I use them every day to clean out the litterbox.

John_McKee
John_McKee

I used to live at the Marquis on McKinney, a half block down from the Albertsons and our parking garage was always full of carts, they would just call Albertsons and they would come pick them up.

Frankly I think Albertsons really didn't have a problem with the situation, residents bought more groceries that way. It seems to me like a win/win solution could be found that works for the residents and in the store's favor.

Maybe do an "Art Cart" type situation, spend $40 and get a free ride back with your groceries within X miles an an electric cart thing..

sizzler
sizzler

of tangential importance- if you really want to do something about shopping carts, go to the shoppinp cart swamp in white rock creek. about two miles north of white rock the creek becomes nearly impassable with literally dozens upon dozens of shopping carts blocking the way. it was depressing but strangely intriguing

rubbercow
rubbercow

I say that the two things that would greatly improve the quality of life in this city are:

1.  Severe crackdown on anyone littering.  Give a ticket every single time.2.  Summary execution for anyone blasting a stereo either in their car or in their front yard.

Viola - Dallas instantly becomes more pleasant.

Pat Boyack
Pat Boyack

Wow, so many shopping cart experts this morning. 

Thelisma Partridge
Thelisma Partridge

Punishing the store because people steal their carts? Seriously?  Stores will either require an employee to push the cart to your car (and increase their prices to cover the expense) ir they will do away with carts altogether.

If you want to clean up Dallas then do something about those ubiquitous plastic shopping bags.  Those are a more frequent eyesore than stolen carts, harder to clean up and easier to prevent.

Chris Danger
Chris Danger

I see this all the time from the Fiesta on Ross, many of the "immigrants" who live in the area will take the carts off property knowning well and good its against the law as they signs posted around the property, they just dont care. I will give Fiesta credit however as they have company vehicles patrolling the local neighborhoods taking their carts back into possession, most commonly in an orderly fashion.

One way that might make everyone happy is taking the "aldi" approach, which is to say require people to place a quarter in the cart as a "deposit" to use the cart, its kept the carts on their lot w/o much hassle...

Montemalone
Montemalone

Time to follow the lead of other World Class Cities: grocery stores have iron rails at the entrance that allow people to pass but the carts don't fit. They never leave the store. If you can't carry it to your car, you have to bring your car to the door.Obviously, this won't work everywhere, but in the neighborhoods where cart theft is an issue, it should solve the problem nicely.

ChuckE
ChuckE

Obviously, we need to hire an expensive consulting company to study the problem and come up with a long report full of recommendations that the city will ignore. That's the Dallas way!

gabbahey
gabbahey

I know the Fiesta on Ross has a guy that drives around looking for their carts, pretty sure the one on Jefferson does it as well, but I've never seen it.

Random question about carts: Does the electronic cart disabler actually deter people from taking carts? Many Walmart Neighborhood markets have them in place at the edge of their lots, but I still see carts around Hall and 75, on the east side of the freeway.

pak152
pak152

In England the supermarkets have a lock on their carts. To use a cart you put in a 1 pound coin. this unlocks the cart, then when you return the cart to holding area you get your coin back.I've never understood why this method isn't used here? it costs the customer nothing unless they don't put the cart back in the stall.

mYtY
mYtY

Wouldn't it be in the store's best interest to offer free delivery in one of their vans?  They could put a minimum, like say $50 worth to qualify, but in the long run it has to be cheaper then buying new carts all of the time.

Ray
Ray

Since Dallas wants to be oh so urban chic like the other big cities, if they would pick up a phone they would find the answer. Most likely, they will convene a task force or committee to study this.......The easiest thing to do is, require the owner of the store who uses carts to have carts with the automatic wheel lock on each basket. They then have the parking lots embedded with a wire that trips the lock. You go one inch over the line, the cart locks up. It does not move unless you drag it. It's heavy. They won't drag it. The store owners will bitch and moan. So where else are they going to go? Chicago has had this in place for years. Works like a charm.

TimCov
TimCov

1. The Richardson Kroger is the closest non-specialty grocery store to Coit and Spring Valley, so that is not surprising.2. How about arresting anyone seen in possession of a grocery cart when it is off the grounds of the store. They have stolen the store's property. I have been in the position of getting groceries when I did not have a vehicle, I never took the store's cart. Is it a PITA (pain in the a$$)? Yes. But, sometimes you just do what you have to do.

Heywood U Buzzoff
Heywood U Buzzoff

It is apparent that we either need a toll lane for people taking shopping carts away from supermarkets or a standing wave that will tip over anyone removing a cart from city blessed areas.  Failing that we wil need to name all the carts historical sites so that someone will tear them apart.

Jason
Jason

Yes. But that law was only put in place for homeless people. The only enforcement being done is in downtown Dallas with said homeless people.

TimCov
TimCov

Technically, yes. But, you have to get the cops to enforce it.

Montemalone
Montemalone

So, adios food trocas and hola food carts?

NewsDog
NewsDog

Years ago the Tom Thimb on Gaston (across from the Washington Street projects) had the iron fence at the end of the sidewalk in front of the store. It slowed down cart theft but didn't stop it. I worked for Tom Thinb for 13 years and I know this was dealt with on a store by store basis.

One of the most creative thing I've ever seen a stolen cart used for was as a grill.

Montemalone
Montemalone

I don't think the disabling mechanism runs through the shrubbery, so the cart gets pushed through the shrubbery, wheels keep working.

Ray
Ray

then the system is faulty.It could be a electronic maintenance issue.  Believe me, I tried to drag one over the line in Chicago as a test when they first installed it, and one would have to be on a drug high to put up that much of a struggle to drag it further than 3 feet. Oh wait....LOL

752xx
752xx

Aldi does this; only costs a quarter

pak152
pak152

there is no such thing as "free delivery", the cost of delivery would be hidden in the price of the goods, thus groceries would cost more. the cost of delivery is the van+insurance+drivers+fuel+maintenance. it all adds up

John2247
John2247

Denver did it 12+ years ago when I was there.  I don't know if all the stores did it or just ones with problems.

Brad
Brad

I can tell you first hand that El Rancho has a problem at Spring Valley and Coit and they refuse to do anything about the situation.  As their next door neighbor, we address the issue on a regular basis and they'll make a few "token" sweeps.  Many of my co-workers have had carts smash into their car because the people who shop there have no common courtesy and just leave them anywhere.  

Buckeye
Buckeye

The Richardson Kroger is at Belt Line - a mile away.

pak152
pak152

A quarter imho is not enough of an incentive, but one never knows. do the Aldi carts go a-wandering? or do they stay at home?

Carol J Robles
Carol J Robles

In the long run it would still be cheaper than buying new carts.  We already pay more because they HAVE TO BUY MORE CARTS.  Jeeez!

TimCov
TimCov

I'm familiar with the area. It is still the closest non-specialty grocery store to that area. There was an Albertson's there at the intersection. But, when CVS bought all of the Albertson's in the Dallas area, they chose to close it.

Skinky
Skinky

On the north side of Belt Line, no less.  I think TimCov has an excellent point.  Rather than pissing away money on yet another study, just arrest anyone in possession of a cart south of Belt Line.  Those carts almost certainly cost over $50 so the act is a Class B misdemeanor.

Since Coit defines the Dallas/Richardson border in that area, both PDs would need to enforce the law, but I don't think Richardson PD would have a problem with that.

pak152
pak152

seems to me that this then is the more elegant simple solution

752xx
752xx

I've never seen a cluttered parking lot at any of the Aldis I shop at...

pak152
pak152

sorry Carol, but the volumes that the stores buy at results in a low per unit price for the shopping carts.. http://premiercarts.com/index....

if you look at the cost to have "free delivery" are you going to provide it at those stores that have the highest loss of carts? no you'll provide it at all your stores. Now how many drivers will you hire? 1 per store?, 3, 5? how much will you pay them? $10, $15 an hour? don't forget to add 30 to 40% to that wage to cover the benefits the company will provide. How big a van will you buy and how many per store? and the van will have to be refrigerated, too. what about frozen foods? how about vehicle insurance? will you do background checks on each applicant to see what their driving record is like? what about coverage for sickness and vacation?how many carts are lost each year due to theft? probably not enough to justify the introduction of "free delivery"

Judas Priest
Judas Priest

Tim:  Most of the carts probably come from the Fiesta and El Rancho supermarkets at Coit and Spring Valley, which are general grocery stores (despite the focus on Hispanic clientele).  I'd wager that most of the carts come from those two stores with the Kroger being down the list given that it's a mile away and across Belt Line. 

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