Social Question

RedDeerGuy1's avatar

Have you seen the self locking shopping carts in your local shopping store?

Asked by RedDeerGuy1 (23805points) August 20th, 2016

I just saw one last week in Sobeys. The sign said that the shopping cart’s wheels would stop moving when going a certain distance from the shopping center parking lot?

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34 Answers

jca's avatar

Never saw those. I guess in certain areas, shopping cart theft is a big problem.

Call_Me_Jay's avatar

Yes. Common here, Also, at Aldi stores you insert a quarter to get a cart and retrieve your quarter when leaving.

It’s a minor annoyance and totally worth it. I am happy to comply for the low prices.

jca's avatar

I have seen the ones you have to put the quarter in to get. I have never seen the ones where the wheels lock when they’re a distance from the store.

RedDeerGuy1's avatar

I agree that it would save money and lower prices. Does anyone think that it is a bad idea?

canidmajor's avatar

Our Target has the locking wheels for the door out into the mall, but not for the big door to the parking lot. Here, it’s to prevent people from taking them into other stores.
No, I don’t know why that’s a problem.

flutherother's avatar

Our local Tesco has them but they don’t seem to work, Shopping trolleys lie scattered about all over the place.

elbanditoroso's avatar

Yes, it’s electromagnetic. If the cart is taken out of the perimeter, whatever that is, it no longer sense the magnetic field and the wheels lock up. It’s not very common in the US, but I have seen it several places – mostly up north,

Zaku's avatar

I heard they were threatening to do that with Safeway carts… back about 1988. I heard some actually do, but I’ve never noticed anything that looks like such a device, and certainly there are still carts being taken and left many blocks from some stores, sometimes, though it doesn’t seem to be particularly common. It seems to me to engender distrust and to create more of a problem than it solves.

johnpowell's avatar

I have seen these since at least 1999. There is a little box that locks a wheel if you get to far from the store.

This appears to be the patent.

elbanditoroso's avatar

this is literature from the manufacturer link

YARNLADY's avatar

Several stores have tried it, but they usually give up after too many of their carts get ruined by people taking them anyway by breaking the wheels. It’s better to pay a recovery service to bring back undamaged carts.

johnpowell's avatar

And if people are wondering why this system is needed I was part of the problem. I hate lines and not from being in a hurry or anything. Lines just trigger some social anxiety stuff.

So I would shop after work at 3AM (buses stopped running at midnight). My house was 15 blocks from the store. Walk to the store, push the cart home and then stash the cart a block away. Now it isn’t my problem.

Now that I am older I know it was a dickish thing to do. Back then I justified it as job-creation.

ragingloli's avatar

We only have the ones where you need to put in a 50c/1€ coin to unlock them.

Seek's avatar

Yes, they were common here for a while, but seem to have gone out of favor. They tended to lock anywhere close to the line (which was often within the parking lot), and be trapped in the lot. That either leads to shredded wheels from the cart-boy dragging them inside, or a hassle for store managers who have way better things to do than running around the parking lot unlocking carts all day.

SecondHandStoke's avatar

I have not seen them much I once did, but I loved the concept.

Battling ghetto behavior with technology.

si3tech's avatar

@RedDeerGuy1 I have not seen that yet. Clever idea?

SecondHandStoke's avatar

^ I’ve already confirmed that it is a clever idea.

Ultimately successful? Maybe.

But definitely brilliant in principle.

Who ultimately pays for shopping cart attrition?

The consumer, in other words me.

Frankly, I am sick and I am tired of shelling out due to the bad deeds of others.

Seek's avatar

Well, if you live in my city, you’ve already shelled out for the newfangled carts, the repair of the newfangled carts several times, and the replacement carts after they got rid of the newfangled carts.


SecondHandStoke's avatar

^ The principle side of this matter is lost on you.

That’s OK.

Seek's avatar

But if the principal is the waste of money, should you not be more upset at the greater waste of money than the lesser waste of money?

Replacing a couple of stolen carts is a lot less expensive than replacing all the carts twice.

SecondHandStoke's avatar

It is not a waste of money.

I will happily pay in order for the business I choose to patronize to protect their investment.

I’m paying one way or another.

Are you really defending those that effectively steal, whether if be stock or equipment?

Seek's avatar

No, I’m defending the logic in not spending money on “cost-saving” measures that are demonstrably not cost-saving.

SecondHandStoke's avatar

^ (Sigh).

Again it is the principle.

I’m also happy to support the individual that had the genius and drive to develop and market the technology.

Seek's avatar

The technology that sounds good in theory but fails in practice?

SecondHandStoke's avatar

Actually, yes.

That is if it is even proven to not prevent carts from leaving the property.

Where I live you see masses of carts on the perimeter of the premises.

Far less costly than to retrieve them from there than far down the road.

What activity have you engaged in? Why does my perspective bother you so much?

Let me put this a different way:

Does the grocery store have an obligation to make their carts easier to steal??

jca's avatar

What about the examples given above of the carts locking accidentally inside the parking lot, having wheels ruined because of having to be dragged back to the store, or wasting managers’ time because they have to come out and unlock (with key or code) the carts?

ibstubro's avatar

It sounds like a great idea – I’ve never heard of it before – but the drawbacks have already been pointed out.

Why would a manager have to unlock the carts? Couldn’t the cart collectors simply carry something that the carts recognize, so they unlock automatically in close proximity?

Locally, our Walmart’s can’t keep the carry baskets in the stores. People steal them, steadily. What I don’t get is that there are theft detectors at the doors. Why not just embed a theft tag in the carry basket? There’s never a good reason to leave the store with one.

Seek's avatar

@ibstubro – except the theft tag relies on the same person that’s already letting the things walk out the door to react the theft tag.

As far as the locked carts, there are too many cart collectors, and it only takes one minimum wage employee to rage quit his job with the key in his pocket to mess things up for the whole system.

ibstubro's avatar

The people standing at the door aren’t really there to stop you from doing anything, @Seek, IMO. Half the time they seem to have wandered off locally. But someone responds to the door alarm in a hurry.

The unlocker could be on the motorized cart mover, then. If it’s within 15 feet of a cart, it unlocks.

Seek's avatar

The carts aren’t that high tech. They’re magnet locked, and it takes a physical key to unlock them.

ragingloli's avatar

the simple coin lock mechanism is still the best option. people will bring the cart back themselves because they want their money back. no need for fancy, expensive, complicated magnet systems or employing some poor sod to collect carts.

Seek's avatar

I, too, like the coin lock system.

johnpowell's avatar

“Battling ghetto behavior with technology.”

I live in Eugene Oregon. It is super-white and you have people with masters degrees applying at Sbarros. The store that had the locks wasn’t in the ghetto. It was in a hippie neighborhood where nobody owned a car.

ibstubro's avatar

There was a coin lock cart system in a tony part of St. Charles County, Missouri (suburb of St Louis), at the Deals store. In less than a year they had hardly any carts, and the system was dead. The few carts left were independent.

I don’t know what behaviour they were battling, but the store – one of my favs – is now gone.

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