Ed Brown: Make retailers pay for cart returns

08/25/2014 4:23 PM

08/25/2014 4:24 PM

Re “Dumped shopping carts still a problem” (Page B1, Aug. 21): Jeff Jardine’s piece about shopping cart theft in Modesto was, as usual, well written, but wrong-headed on one point: the victims of shopping cart theft are not the retailers. Decades ago that idea may have been sound, but the property repeatedly causing the nuisance belongs to the retailers who perpetuate this nuisance by ineffectual preventive actions.

If my car were stolen, then found and retrieved by a towing service, I would be responsible for the towing, impound and any other fees associated with its return. Shopping-cart theft should follow the same logic. The only victims are the people of Modesto and California if 1 cent of the general fund goes to retrieval, prevention or prosecution of shopping-cart theft.

A retail store has deeper pockets than homeless or mentally ill persons; retail patrons who value the carts should not mind helping pay for their maintenance.

I can think of 10 ways to prevent theft of carts without buying new carts, and most of these create jobs. Shopping carts belong to the retailers; Modesto should return the responsibility for their property completely to the retailers.

Ed Brown, Oakdale

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