General Question

babygalll's avatar

Why do the shopping carts lock at the yellow line?

Asked by babygalll (2721 points ) May 1st, 2008

How do those shopping carts know you crossed the yellow line? How does it work?

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22 Answers

amandaafoote's avatar

What yellow line?

peedub's avatar

Electronically. The carts have a wheel that locks, triggered when they cross the thin wire near the “line” delineating the parking lot’s boundary.

richmarshall's avatar

It is like the dog collar my dog wears with a line around my property to keep the dog in. An electronic signal is sent to keep people from stealing the shopping carts.

zaid's avatar

so you don’t steal them.

delirium's avatar

I have never heard of this nor seen it. This is…. totally baffling.

PupnTaco's avatar

Same reason that thing does that stuff when you that thing to it.

skfinkel's avatar

This just happened to me for the first time the other day. I had parked my car on the street, not in their parking lot, and the wheels of the cart just jammed up on me as I was leaving the store. So weird.

peedub's avatar

Yeah, they stop very abruptly. It’s almost like walking into a locked turnstyle.

mcbealer's avatar

is this a west coast phenomenon?

peedub's avatar

I wouldn’t doubt it.

PupnTaco's avatar

I’m west coast and I have no idea what this is about.

El_Cadejo's avatar

WTF i have never heard of such a thing. I thought shopping carts were supposed to be like cheap pieces of metal not fancy tech.

mcbealer's avatar

too funny uber

peedub's avatar

My guess is that they might be expensive. I’m too lazy to look it up.

jonno's avatar

Wikipedia > Shopping cart > Theft prevention > Electronic

“Theft deterrent systems are becoming popular in many shopping centers. An electronic system works by locking one of the wheels, usually one on the front, when the cart is rolled out of a designated area. Each shopping cart is fitted with an electronic locking wheel, or ‘boot’. A transmitter with a thin wire is placed around the perimeter of the parking lot. The boot locks when the cart leaves the designated area. Often a line is painted in front of the broadcast range to warn customers that their cart will stop when rolled past the line. The locked wheel is usually unlocked with a portable electronic device carried by store staff called a “CartKey” that sends a signal to the boot, unlocking the wheel.”

ccatron's avatar

I have seen this at one grocery store here in Memphis. I think they recently turned it off though because they re-paved the lot and the line wasn’t re-painted and the signs are gone. I’m sure enough people complained about it since this was the only store in Memphis that had it.

wildflower's avatar

They use similar approach over here. Not exactly sure where the limit goes, but I know there is one and the wheels have these big clunky things on them – which doesn’t improve the already somewhat challenged steering of the carts…

breedmitch's avatar

We have them on the east coast.

amandaafoote's avatar

@breedmitch, i live in NJ and i’ve never heard of this? haha

breedmitch's avatar

@Amanda: Maybe it’s NYC then. Here in Brooklyn the Lowe’s has them. But come to think of it, it’s rare to have a parking lot with shopping carts out front of any store in NYC.

buster's avatar

the safeway by my old house in portland oregon had them except you could take one about two blocks away before they worked. i seen the same lady every 3 or 4 days push a cart the two blocks in front of my house. then it locked up and she got her groceries out of the cart and carried them the rest of the way home. sometimes there would be 4 or 5 carts just sitting on the sidewalk. when the beer cans piled up i would grab one of her carts and take them back to safeway to the bottle deposit refund machine.

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