Stealing Shopping Carts

It seems to be a California thing. I’ve never seen it happen so frequently anywhere else. I remember after first moving here, I wondered how it was that shopping carts get distributed all over town, so far from the stores. I figured it must have been homeless people… you often see homeless people with carts full of cans, bottles, etc.

Lately, however, I’ve noticed that what appear to be normal, sane people apparently walking to the store, buying more than they can carry, and taking the cart home with them. What .. the .. hell?

No, of course, they do not return them. I suspect that’s where the homeless people get them, not from the store, but from in front of people’s houses and apartments, where they left them. Maybe these people think there’s a cart pickup service? After all, when they leave the carts outside their front door, they disappear.

People are stupid.

23 thoughts on “Stealing Shopping Carts

  1. I see this too. The other day there was a cart in the bushes in front of my apartment complex. A few days later it was gone.

    I try to follow the rule of if I walk to the store I use the basket so I never buy more than I can carry. If I know I need to buy a lot I drive.

  2. There IS a cart pickup service, at least in El Cerrito. Every once in a while you see a truck drive by picking up shopping carts. When I lived there, I’d make a point of moving carts that I saw stranded on the bike path out to the street where they could be picked up.

    I also used to walk my groceries home the 2 1/2 blocks from the grocery store (and took the cart back when I was done). Saved on pollution, was more convenient, etc. The problem is really the people who take the carts home with them and don’t bring them back to the store; maybe there should be a cart deposit or something?

  3. I’ve also seen the cart pickup trucks, but that is not to be considered a “service”. What I mean by that, is that they do not do this in order to provide a service to their customers, they do it out of necessity. It’s cheaper to pay someone to go around collecting your carts that people stole than to buy new carts. You’ll notice that such a “service” is not advertised by the stores in question.

    It’s still stealing as far as I’m concerned.

  4. Many of those that take shopping carts from a store do so because they don’t have a car and everyone must buy groceries. If you don’t have a car, but you need to buy your monthly or even bi-weekly groceries for your family how are you going to get them home? That’s right, with a grocery cart. But what if you live too far away to take the cart all the way back? Then you do what you have to. You leave the cart out of the way, but nearby.

    The original post here emphasizes “normal” and “sane” as if those that cant afford a car, but must buy groceries for their family must be abnormal and insane. How insulting and ignorant can you be? Not everyone is as fortunate as you are you egotistical snob.

    Yes it is considered stealing, but when you have a family and no other way then you do what you have to do. To look down your nose at the have-nots is just plain ignorance.

    I agreed, people are stupid, but not the same ones you’re thinking of.

  5. Uh, Cassandra, I fail to see how your comment justifies the behaviour. Yes, there are plenty of people who can’t afford a car, and need to buy quite a lot of groceries to support their family. There are two solutions to this: shop more frequently; or take the cart back to the store. If you can push a cart, loaded with groceries and babies all the way home, you can take it all the way back, too.

    As for me, I generally shop every 1-2 days, and sometimes by bike or foot. I’ve never felt the need to take a cart home with me, but if I did, I would damned well bring it back to the store.

    It’s exactly the thinking you put forth that made me comment “people are stupid” in the first place. They expect society to pick up after them, and at the same time decry “we are real people too, we are full members of society!” from every mountaintop. Well, you can start by trying to be self-sufficient in any small way you can. I full well understand that there are a large number of people who aren’t currently and never will be completely self-sufficient, for so many reasons. That’s OK. I’m all for sharing the wealth and helping out where I can, but you also have to help yourselves where you can, even if it’s just helping your image.

    By the way: Tens or hundreds of millions of Europeans, South Americans, and Asians manage to buy their groceries just fine without a car, and without taking the cart home. They shop once a day, or once every other day, and buy only what they can carry. It works.

  6. I did a search on ggogle for Shopping carts and el cerrito and came across this message board. I also live in El cerrito and see neighboors pushing shopping carts home and then leaving them on the sidewalk.. This seems like a form of dumping or littering. Is there a city regulation against this?

  7. My apartment complex here in Houston is starting to look like a grocery store parking lot and it is pissing me off!!! It just started happening recently, but every single day there is another shopping cart by the drive-in gate at my complex. There is now a total of NINE sitting there, and no one is doing anything about it. The thing that really pushes me over the edge is that the grocery store they are coming from is only two blocks away!!!!!! Why can’t this person who brings them here, take them back instead of letting them collect? MAN!

  8. Well, all I can say is if they don’t want their shopping carts “Stolen” by those of us who may not have a car, or God forbid maybe not able to drive do to a handicap, and please don’t offer your suggestions like for example have someone else do our shopping because some of us may like to keep our independence, they should have some form of home delivery service and they’d see less shopping carts left stranded around town, man it doesn’t take an idiot to come up with that plan.
    I have been shopping for nearly 25 years via shopping cart on a monthly basis because I am paid monthly from my pension, some of you people don’t even think before you comment that some of us who use Shopping carts to take our groceries home are nothing more than common “Shopping Cart” thieves, heck we paid for our groceries didn’t we?
    Some of you are obviously too worried about a stranded shopping cart in the parking lot scratching or denting your precious cars than maybe even considering offering a person struggling to take their groceries home, and believe me I would have greatly appreciated the offer on many a rainy day because I always believe “What goes around , comes around” and “Unless you’ve lived in another man’s shoes, it’s best to keep your mouth shut if you don’t know his circumstance” even if that someone is a homeless person using a shopping cart for a home, maybe these biased billion dollar food chains can afford to spend a bit on possibly building a homeless shelter if they wish to keep their precious shopping carts from these people.
    It just amazes me how the people who have it better than someone else can self righteously appoint themselves as judge, jury and executioner over something so trivial as a shopping cart, don’t you people have other things more important to do?

  9. Cassandra is making excuses for the lazy and stupid in our society.

    Sorry, I live not EVEN 1/2 block from a bloody Safeway and a few people choose to leave carts around.
    I once saw this older lady, she couldn’t have had anything more than a bottle of aspirin or a can of soup or something in two little bags. Yet the old goat had a cart and carted it 1/4 block away. I kid you not.
    I once saw 2 very abled younger people with 2 teeny bags. Yet they needed a cart.
    These people are lazy, good for nothing trash. I’m tired of phoning the pickup service…….

  10. Dear ticked off shopper,

    As I gave Cassandra, there are two solutions to this problem: 1. TAKE THE CART BACK TO THE STORE; 2. buy only what you can carry (shop more frequently). Anything else is just being lazy, disrespectful, and anti-social. What does you getting paid once a month have to do with how frequently you shop? Does the money go bad, stale, rancid? No. But heck, the food does, so you might even have less waste by shopping more often.



  11. Hello,
    stolen shopping carts.. it is the same problem in Toronto, Canada.
    And I am going to fight the people who steal the carts and leave them where ever they want.
    Please visit my blog ..

  12. Hello,

    I live not even a block to a Safeway (kitty corner to the back of one) There are several apartments behind it as well.

    I used to call shopping cart pickup for the couple of IDIOTS who are too lazy to walk 1/4 block to return their carts, but no more.

    I either call or write the property managers of these units. Safety concerns about having a shopping cart BLOCKING the entrance of a building. Big no no.
    It’s also VERY difficult to move one’s cars in the parking lot as well.
    I let them have it………

    I also leave a note for the offending moron/lazy sack of shit to read. ha ha, I snitched on YOU to the owner of your building, imbecile.

  13. For “ticked off shopper”

    Boo hoo hoo, baby!!! My 80 year old grandmother with a heart condition never STOLE anything, if she had groceries, she took a CAB.

    You want to proclaim how independent you are? Give me a break, honey. You take it, you can RETURN it. It’s a very SIMPLE concept.

  14. Okay, okay, THIS is good, and brings new hope to the seemingly hopeless battle against the idiots who STEAL carts.

    I’ve been reporting to the property manager of a certain group of apartments every time a shopping cart has been left on the premises. We’ve been emailing back and forth actually.

    Anyways, it annoys her to no end, too. She puts up notices NOT to take them, but I noticed something today. I actually witnessed the culprit at one of the blocks.

    There are notices on every building NOT to leave carts but the door at the building of which the culprit left her cart has it’s notice missing. Hmmmm. Did she take it down?

    Well, anyway, I happend to get a description of the lazy idiot who left a cart. Just by coincidence, I kid you not!!! (when I read last week’s email reply from the property manager today she mentioned her frustration and not being able to give notice to the people in question because she didn’t always see who it was!!! Bonus!!!! I did!!!!!!!!)

    I gave her the description. One of those portly, lazy types. Gave a full description, by the way.
    This fat female twit had just a few teeny tiny little bags, and she’s like not even 1/2 block from a store. You can just imagine this type “Oh, you can’t victimize me because I’m FAT and I have RIGHTS………wahhhhhhh!!!! boo hoo, my life is just so TRAGIC!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

    I put a note on the apartment that I saw you, dark-haired woman and I’ve reported you.

    And I’ll do it EVERY time it happens, if it continues. These whiny, worthless types tend to be very stubborn. It’s not like they have jobs or do anything with their pathetic lives.

  15. I’ve seen abandoned carts showing up more and more in my El Cerrito neighborhood too…what gives??

    Interesting that every post here that supports this practice makes NO mention of wheeling the carts back the next week. Hey, I have no issues with someone without a car who has to provide for their family. But this doesn’t give you the right to leave carts out on the sidewalk, toppled over in the bushes, etc. As a kid I used to see elderly women with collapsable shopping/laundry carts going to/from the market all the time. It was all about being self-sufficient, not whining about their lot in life, and doing what was “right”.

    You want to shop? Shop. You want to use a cart? Use a cart. But if you wheel it 2, 10, 20 blocks away from where it’s SUPPOSED to stay, BRING IT BACK when you go to shop next time.


  16. How can any “Sane” person post a comment saying that they do not drive and need to take the cart home and then say “It’s too far away to bring it back”

    It is Ilegal to remove carts from beyond the store boundary. Most stores do not object/prevent the removal of carts on the understanding that some customers need to get a lot of shopping home. They do however expect same customers to return the carts so that others may do their shopping in comfort.

    What would you do, if on arriving at the store, there were no carts?

    There you go then, if you take them away from the store – Bring them back!

    They cost quite a lot and if it was your store you would not pay to replace them either.

  17. well..
    today me and my bestfriend bought too many grocerys..( we are not bumms) are car is getting fixed. Anywayso we were at iga and there were too many grocerys so we thought ok we’ll lets steal the grocery cart. The town that we live in is really small. so were walking down the road and a 10 year old toldus we we had a nice cart on 4 wheel AHHAH then aan old man rimed at us and we told him were taking we back. THEN two old ladies stoped uson the road and asked us if it was from iga and what were we doing!!! …Did we take it back, no we didnt, do we feel guilty, no we dont. U gotta do what ya gotta do!!

  18. Hi Shannon,

    Sounds like this is precisely a situation where you didn’t “gotta do” anything. Take the god damn cart back to the store, lazy asshole.

    Kindest regards,


  19. This a problem up north here in Toronto, Canada and the surrounding area.

    Shopping carts always litter the apartment complexs, and it’s always the same type of people

    – old people
    -cranky, fat, trashy, chain smoking women
    – immigrants (not to sound racist but I see countless indian folks doing this.)

    Whats worst is that once they are left at our apartment complexs the local kids go and chain them up to fences, poles and bike racks, and than nobody bothers with them!

  20. If you can’t afford a car….but “steals” shopping carts. Why can’t you just a shoppign cart, it’s around $100. I promise you, these people will take care of these carts as if it was their own automobile. When they steal carts from supermarkets, they think someone will pick up for them. But the truth of the matter is that these companies pay expensive so 50% of their carts get back to their store. Man, oh man I used to get pist when i worked in a grocery store, and used to see these people taking these carts to their homes. I used to chase them otherwise at the end of the day i had to walk around the whole freaking plaza and nearby houses searching for these carts. I know there’s a law about stealing carts, i’m just not aware of it….but if anybody knows, please reply, so everyone of us could advise Store managers that are unaware of these incidents.

  21. Found this while searching Shopping carts and El Cerrito. Between the carts from CVS, Safeway and 99 Ranch there seems to be a cart on every corner these days. So lame. And per some of these posts, “you do what you have to do” – uh, ok. You ABSOLUTELY need to *STEAL* a shopping cart, bring it back next time. Otherwise you’re a petty thief – plain and simple. Jeez, between this, the idoits tagging everywhere and the total imbeciles dumping/abandoning trash and furniture under BART the place seems to really be sliding lately. Let’s clean it up folks!

What do you think?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s