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My Frugal Life: Price Hike

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"Hey, Bob, look!" I said as we neared a bus stop in my neighborhood.

"Now why would anyone want to do that?" he grumbled, outraged at the eyesore we'd just driven past, a gang of abandoned shopping carts.

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"Wouldn't it be nice if we returned them? It'd be great exercise, and you could golf later this afternoon instead."

I knew I was pushing my luck, but - surprisingly - he concurred, so we went home, changed, then walked back.

Our first task was to extricate some of the buggies from behind the glass enclosure. Presumably, a "Good Samaritan" had stuffed them back there to make room for the bus and its riders.

We then separated them into groups: four orange Home Depot carts, two blue ones from Pet Supermarket, and four of Winn Dixie's black and red ones - ten in all.

That done, we lined them up; Bob took six - including the warped one, I got four, and we picked a straggler along the way. Our destination? A shopping center a quarter mile away.

Getting there was a trip. Our trolleys didn't seem to want to follow each other single file - like those of the guy who said he could manage 25 at a time. Mine, unlike Bob's, preferred the road to the sidewalk, so I finally let them have their way; one kept wanting to get out ahead, while his brother stopped cold and rolled over; and they all spilled their drinks. But we finally made it to the Plaza and delivered those bad boys to their respective homes.

Bob told me later, "The first half hour, I thought the police were going to come by and arrest us for thievery, and the second half, I hoped someone would greet us with a 'thank you' and a bottle of wine."

But - seemingly - no one noticed. We, on the other hand, congratulated ourselves on a job well done and on a good workout as well.

Why those unmanned carts have appeared in my neighborhood, I'm not sure. Usually they wind up in apartment complexes, near low cost housing and bus stops - places where people don't have cars. But I do know there are lazy customers, no matter where one lives, who don't want to carry their groceries.

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What those lawbreakers (a misdemeanor, in some places) don't seem to realize is that each time they "borrow" a shopping basket, it's the same as stealing about $100.00 worth of groceries or merchandise. Also, because some managers say they've lost up to 100 carts every six months, they've had to install coin operated or clamping systems or pay retrieval services to prowl for abandoned carriages. Storekeepers, then, have no choice but to raise prices for their honest consumers.

By Viaux from Miami, FL

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December 2, 20110 found this helpful

I applaud you and your friend for taking the carts back to their homes! There are people in my building who steal carts from the grocery store across the street and keep them in their apartments :( I frown at them. I know it can be tough to carry all your groceries home and that some don't have vehicles and what not, but at least return the cart! It's seriously 5 minutes from my building and less for people who are in closer buildings.

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December 2, 20110 found this helpful

Luckily for us, in our neighborhood there is actually a truck that comes around & gathers up the "lost" carts & returns them to the stores! So all one has to do is put the cart up front & off it goes!

Note: There are reasonable shopping "carts" for consumers that one can buy. We have found them at thrift shops & offered them to our elderly neighbors.

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December 2, 20110 found this helpful

We live in a subsidized housing complex and have a shopping cart for use in the building. One of the major grocery stores donated it to the building when it was first built. For those of us with disabilities this has been a 'godsend'.

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February 19, 20130 found this helpful

They now have shopping carts that will beep or signal the store if someone tries to remove them from the parking lot. It will be harder for the homeless to have a place to keep their stuff.

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February 19, 20130 found this helpful

I live about half a mile away from a grocery store and I always borrow a cart to take home my groceries. I ask first and leave my name and address with the manager. I park the cart in my back yard, and when I go back to the store, I take it with me and tell the manager it's back. It's a great way to get repeat business.

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