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City of San Luis Obispo adopts plan to stop unauthorized movement of shopping carts

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Posted at 6:31 PM, May 18, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-18 22:53:06-04

The City of San Luis Obispo has just adopted a new ordinance that aims to keep shopping carts from being strewn across the city. The new ordinance would make the management of shopping carts the responsibility of the businesses.

This new plan will require three main things from the businesses — cart identification, community outreach, and loss prevention measures. Each business will need to submit its plan to the city. They have 60 days to do so.

The cart identification section requires all shopping carts to be branded with the business's name. Community outreach entails the placement of signage at parking areas warning that the removal of carts from the premises could result in a fine.

Finally, loss prevention measures mean securing carts during off hours, the impoundment of carts found off premises, and a retrieval plan if a cart is taken off the premises.

"Once carts are identified throughout the city, the business will be notified and they will have three days to retrieve the cart, or they may be given a $50 citation," explained Greg Cruce, Facilities Maintenance Supervisor for the City of San Luis Obispo.

Some businesses, like Grocery Outlet in San Luis Obispo, have been ready for this and were prepping even before the ordinance was passed due to a loss of their own personal cart supply.

"We lost a lot of carts. We were losing on average probably 60-70 carts a year," explained Kevin Walker, co-owner of Grocery Outlet.

In the first two years of owning their business, Walker says they spent $10,000 replacing lost carts. But they've had huge success reducing the number of lost or stolen carts with a system that auto locks the wheels if they get too far from the parking lot. When they go to retrieve them and unlock that wheel, all they have to do is push a button.

A similar system will now be mandatory for all San Luis Obispo city businesses, or they will have to have security to make sure no carts are taken.

The city is also offering the first 12 businesses who submit their plan a $5,000 grant.