Sometimes, it’s the only way to ride: Shopping carts riddle city streets

Published 12:00 am Friday, May 7, 2004

DEMOPOLIS — What is silver and can carry groceries or other things from supermarkets or retail stores? If that’s not enough to jog the mind, what objects are thrown in the ditch and left on the sidewalks next to people’s houses?

If shopping carts come to mind, then that’s the correct answer.

There are nearly 30 shopping carts from various businesses in Demopolis including Food World, Piggly Wiggly and Dollar General scattered all around town.

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There are two carts parked by the fence beside the entrance to New Era and Memorial Stadium, four carts parked around the Snack and Deli by the Demopolis Middle School, four more carts parked along the intersection of East Whitfield and South Front Street, and the list goes on and on.

There are also some carts that have been pushed into ditches and smashed by vehicles that are just lying by the side of the road. There are also some carts that are so old that they have started to rust and are now becoming homes to plants and other local wildlife.

According to the manager of Piggly Wiggly James Reed said this has always been a problem, but one that is two sided. Reed also said the reason it is two sided is because most of the customers who don’t have transportation just push the carts home and all he asks is that they return the carts. He said the other side of it is that if the people are shopping from my store he really can’t get that upset about it.

“We have some customers that do and some that don’t, but this is one of the major reasons why we don’t have brand new shopping carts is because we lose about 50-60 a year,” Reed said.

He said usually he sends someone out to collect the carts from his store because the carts can run from as much as $50-$150 each. Her also said he has had some of his carts found as far away as the Demopolis Police Department, which is about two to three miles away.

“People often wonder why groceries cost so much, well this is one of the causes that can have an effect on the price,” Reed said.

Demopolis Mayor Austin Caldwell was asked if there had been any complaints from local citizens, but he said no. He also said he had seen some while riding around.

“You would think the businesses would send someone out everyday and collect them,” Caldwell said.

Demopolis Public Safety director Jeff Manuel said it is against the law to take shopping carts off of the businesses property. He also said none of the local businesses have contacted him about trying to crackdown on this situation.

“Usually the customers don’t have transportation, so they just go and pick up the carts later,” Manuel said.