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drawing of a shopping cart

Runaway Carts

Security breach aids grocery getters

by Anita LeBlanc

From the February, 2018 issue

Scattered at apartment complexes and bus stops, or orphaned in rivers, ditches and other outlying areas, or in use by the homeless as mobile storage vessels, abandoned shopping carts are time-consuming and expensive to retrieve and repair. A Kroger employee at Traver Village shopping center cites students ferrying groceries to their apartments as the main reason carts "wander" off the parking lot.

Carts at the Traver Village store carry notices that their wheels will lock if they're removed from the center's parking lot. Rachel Hurst, Kroger consumer affairs manager, emails that the system was installed about ten years ago. "The cost for a cart is around $200 for a new cart," she writes. "We had to hire a company to help us retrieve the carts and were paying about a $1000 a week to have it done."

Yet when trying out the system in December, we found a cart moved easily across the street. An employee blamed lot repairs last summer. Asked about the evident security breach, Hurst responds, "We are aware of the system failing and have reached out to get this fixed as soon as possible."

Meanwhile, stray carts abound near apartments and bus stops around the Maple Rd. Kroger. Might other local Krogers also be in line for self-locking carts? Hurst replies that Kroger continues to work with a company to retrieve wayward carts there: so far, it costs less to do that than install (and maintain) a lot-wide security system.    (end of article)

[Originally published in February, 2018.]


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