February is Return Shopping Carts to the Supermarket month!

Somehow I managed to miss this one, but I'm not sure how it might be connected to my Blogger's Almanac project. Here it is anyway...

From the US Census Bureau:

Profile America — Wednesday, February 21st. We’ve all seen them and wondered how they got there — a supermarket shopping cart, sitting forlornly along a residential street, far from the nearest grocery store. Was it a prank, or someone who walked to the store and bought more than they could carry? Either way, this is Return Shopping Carts to the Supermarket Month — including milk crates and bread trays. The idea is for consumers to avoid the increased food prices that result when store owners have to replace stolen equipment. And supermarkets play a big role in everyday life. There are more than 6,600 supermarkets across the nation, selling $395 billion of groceries each year. You can find these and more facts about America from the U.S. Census Bureau on the Web at <www.census.gov>.

And, since I heard it on CBC this morning, I should mention it applies in Canada, too. The piece that I heard indicated, among other things, that:

1. Those anti-theft devices and electromagnetic "boundaries" in parking lots? Only marginally useful tactics, since you can push a cart backwards even if the wheels are locked. (who knew?)

2. Local stores are offering $3 to cart bounty hunters who return carts to stores (the carts are worth $300 new; you'd think the scavengers would get a better deal.)

3. The industry is considering using Radio Frequency Identification (RFID, for anyone who is into transportation & logistics), which would allow stores to locate their stray shopping carts, track the paths of the carts as they roll through the store, and, alarmingly, TRACK THE PURCHASES OF RETURN CUSTOMERS. "Oh, and it'll be great for customers", they say, "because we can then let loyal and trustworthy customers take the carts off the premises." Yuh-huh.

Fess up: you've got a dozen of these things hanging out back of your garage, don't you? Time to take those rickety, rusty beasts back to the store. Or at least dump them by the curb in front of that flat we lived in downtown. It was as though they couldn't bear to cross the busy street corner and just gave up. Or perhaps it was something of a shopping cart Mecca. Most likely, the pot-smoking neighbours were just horrible, horrible cart stealing types.

Perhaps even more alarmingly, why is it that everything somehow makes a connection to Trailer Park Boys?

More here, here, and here.

Posted bythemikestand at 9:34 AM  

8 stepped up to the mike:

Sassy said... 2:00 PM, February 27, 2007  

Um...guilty. Until we brought the car up here, sometimes we seriously had more groceries than our own little blue grocery cart could hold, so we had to steal one from the store to get our groceries home. we lined them up outside with the others, though...outside our building (CVS, Burlington Coat Factory, National Wholesale Liquidators)...so at least are aren't the only guilty ones in our building. And we only stole from Stop & Shop ONLY!!! LOL

chRistine said... 9:18 PM, February 27, 2007  

amusing. too bad february is nearly over.

themikestand said... 9:20 PM, February 27, 2007  

christine: there's still time. Dust off those carts and get'em back!

Lesley said... 9:22 PM, February 27, 2007  

We are guilty of this since we don't have a vehicle and live within a 15 min walk from the grocery store. But there are several people in the area who are "cart bounty hunters" (and that fee can be negociated) and the carts are never there more than 24 hours. So I just don't feel badly about it. If the grocery store doesn't want me walking home with one of their carts then they should offer to drive me home ;)

Brianna said... 10:22 PM, February 27, 2007  

Shopping carts cost $300?!?!? Even $300 canadian seems extreme.

Megan said... 2:21 AM, February 28, 2007  

Funny. I have never had the urge to steal a cart. Here to use a cart you have to put one euro into a slot on the top that releases a chain that connects it to the other carts. Then when you are done and put the chain back in, the euro pops out.

-LGirl- said... 4:13 PM, February 28, 2007  

I just returned a Cdn Tire cart I was trying to push a stroller and carry my new toaster oven! grabbed a cart that had been abandoned on our local shortcut. BUT It was returned . Our house is at the bottom of a hill in the summer there are 2-3 carts a week left by local joy riders. I am waiting for the great shopping cart incident of 200?
I figure that $3 a cart is a great price seeing how you can bounty hunt the same cart over and over.
PS I drive a Toyota Echo, every time I pass that "Your cart won't work past here" lines I cringe, afraid it will lock my teeny car's wheels too!

SRH said... 9:20 AM, March 01, 2007  

I can honestly say that I have never even wanted to take a shopping cart. Needed, well that's a differnt story entirely, but we won't get into that one...

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