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Stores May Face Penalties If Shopping Carts Wander

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For some, taking a shopping cart out of a parking lot and using it to haul their purchases home is a regular practice. But this habit has multiple consequences, with companies having to hire retrievers to comb the neighborhoods in search of wayward carts, carts becoming regular hallway fixtures in some apartment buildings, and stores having to absorb the cost of the lost carts--which in turn often means having to raise prices, since most metal carts cost about $100-$135 each.

This is why city leaders are looking into creating an ordinance "that would require grocery stores to keep track of their carts or face fines," reports the Daily Breeze. Los Angeles is looking closely at the city of Glendale, who put such a shopping cart law on their books two years ago--one that stipulates "any store that has more than five abandoned carts found in a week has to install a system to keep carts at the store." According to the LA Times, that means "the measure would require stores that habitually lose carts to use 'containment' systems that would keep people from removing the baskets from the premises." Retailers, however, are apprehensive about the cost of setting up that kind of system.

LA has tried for some time to find a way to get a handle on the abandoned shopping carts that turn up on the streets and on residential properties; back in May Councilman Tony Cardenas began work on a proposal and he is now joined by fellow Councilman Greig Smith in getting the ordinance created. They're asking the city attorney to draw up the law within the next 30 days. Meanwhile, let's all pretend every month is Return Shopping Carts month...not just February!

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Photo by akeg via Flickr