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