November 14, 2018

Seeing shopping carts on the sidewalks and roads every day is not a new thing. The carts are deserted after being taken for joyrides or being used to transport groceries home. They are a hindrance to walkers and drivers. A solution to this problem has to arrive soon as it is getting out of hand.

In Hamilton, contractors were hired to hunt down the carts and bring them back to stores. According to a 2011 article in the Hamilton Spectator, a Food Basics grocery store had close to 200 carts a year go missing. The stolen carts are either abandoned in the streets, collected for scrap or are vandalized.

Some stores attached a GPS system to track them down, while others installed either a coin system or wheel-locking mechanisms in attempt to reduce the thefts, but it didn’t change for the better.

In July, two Toronto men were arrested twice in one night after they were found with two shopping carts of meat being stolen from an Oshawa grocery store.

Store owners have invested hundreds of dollars to buy carts, but we, as customers, don’t appreciate it. Instead, those who take the carts make the rest of us pay, since store owners recoup the cost by charging more for their products.

It is a criminal offence to take the carts without the owner’s consent. People should be mature enough to put a cart back if they must use it to take groceries home. Just like a parent who instructs a child to put their toys back where they belong, so should a person put the cart back.

People have asked councillors to fine people who take carts $5,000, but Coun. Bill Armstrong is concerned whether it might affect the poor as they would have to pay this amount if they were found with one.
Kitchener Coun. John Gazzola has introduced a motion asking city staff to find a solution to the problem. They are expected to report back to council in early 2017. But, should we need to wait until someone gives us an instruction manual to follow?

The answer is simple — return carts to the place they belong — it’s not that difficult.

The views herein represent the position of the newspaper, not necessarily the author

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