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Chicopee Addresses Ways to Control Abandoned Shopping Carts


cartCHICOPEE, Mass (WGGB) — One local community is trying to corral abandoned shopping carts once and for all. A unique special city ordinance was passed by the city council earlier this year and is soon to take effect.

Complainants say that the carts are not just blocking parking spots, and city officials agree.

“It’s absolutely impacting quality of life. The problem, it’s the safety,” Ward 6 Councilor Tim McLellan said. “They are left on the sidewalks, they are left on the street. What if a child is riding their bike and they have to go around them?”

The new ordinance will fine stores $100 per cart each time one is found off store property and is moved to DPW. McLellan says carts are found everywhere, leading to constant complaints from constituents.

“I’ve been working on this for at least 2.5 years,” he said. “They leave them on Sheridan (Street.) I mean I’ve seen them on the Deady Bridge. I’ve seen them at the rotaries.”

Wednesday’s meeting was to bring mostly Memorial Drive hotels and stores together to brainstorm further solutions while reviewing the new regulations. Quality Inn management says many homeless families living in hotels transport groceries from stores to their temporary homes in the carts, but then dump the carts anywhere and everywhere. The city says Wal-Mart is the biggest offender. They didn’t show up at Wednesday’s meeting, but Big Y did.

“We don’t want to lose our carts either,” Lost Prevention Field Manager Maureen Fuller said. “It’s never a good thing when our carts are left laying around town. It’s not good for us because they cost money, then our customers don’t have them to use them and it’s certainly not a good thing for the city.”

Big Y locks up carts at night, seeks charges on anyone trying to steal them, and retrieves any lost carts. The city says if other stores don’t do the same, it’s soon going to start costing them.

“We’re not here looking to, you know, pad the bank account, we just want some cooperation from the stores that are the biggest offenders to take responsibility for their property,” McLellan said.

The Quality Inn says they are doing all they can to work and inform residents. The Days Inn was another big place where the same situation is taking place and they were invited to Wednesday’s meeting, but did not attend.

The new ordinance takes effect June sixth.

WGGB encourages readers to share their thoughts and engage in healthy dialogue about the issues. Comments containing personal attacks, profanity, offensive language or advertising will be removed. Please use the report comment function for any posts you feel should be reviewed. Thank you.

  • jen

    years ago a guy would drive around in his pick-up truck and bring carts back to stores at a charge of $2.00 each, and some stores paid him

    • Canne

      I thought there was a company that did this (charging a lot more than $2) lol

    • cal

      There have been many in several cities and towns I know of. Most made $5 per, and the store bought them back directly. This ended when it was exposed he had friends purposely taking carts and ditching them in the same spot for him to pickup.

  • Real

    Listen! I shopped in Canada n you have to pay a quarter to get a cart n when u return the cart you get your quarter back. People return the carts to get the quarter …kids? Seriously if we all work together nobody has to be fined

    • jimfay

      How much do you think it costs to build a system to collect and return quarters? Why should a store owner have to foot the bill because thieves steal carts?

      • bram

        It costs a few pennies more to buy the type that take quarters, almost NO cost to the stores. They can also be retrofitted on existing carts. The cost of retrofitting would be less than one stolen cart. At well over $100 a cart it would be 1000x cheaper to install quarter meters than it would to hunt down, arrest, and prosecute someone for using a shopping cart. I really don’t think calling them thieves is very bright on your part.

        • Peggy

          You referred to the cart as stolen. That makes the person that took it a thief….. Hm Try that defense of just using it on a test drive with a car

          • dumr

            No HE called them thieves, and I was remarking on his estimate.
            Peggy you aren’t very bright are you? Test driving a car is done with permission, ID. license etc. Try jumping in any car on a car lot, and driving away for a test drive without telling anyone.

          • Truth for Peggy

            Oh and just to clarify, res they are thieves. They are taking the property of others, without knowledge or permission, off the property where signs clearly say not to do so, and they do it with no intention of returning the item. Yes Peggy, that is theft and they are thieves.

          • Woodlawnst

            Peggy and brother sticking together. Just like the old days.

      • Bill Davidson

        Hello Jim, my old Woodlawn st friend. Actually I think the carts are about the same price with or without the meters. However .25 cents doesn’t seem like much of a deterrent not to remove the cart to get groceries home.

      • Totally Agree

        yea charge the stores for providing shopping carts because some low life wants to steal it… chicopee cops will enforce this law more than anything else probably. and 4 chicopee cop cars will show up too!

        • hahahahah

          LMAO@ 4 cop cars. They’ll all have their lights going too!

    • currency exchange

      Yes but isn’t a quarter worth like $357 in CN?

      • That Guy 1

        Canadian money is worth more than U.S. money. It’s not Mexico.

  • lpaulbak

    I saw this on the news today. It is absolutely deplorable and as one resident said, it really affects our quality of life! This should be top priority for Chicopee and all surrounding communities. Can you sense my sarcasm?

    • Stinkopee sucks

      Same here. What a bunch of idiots in Stinkopee. Worried about shopping carts? You must be brain damaged to live in that hole anyway, and this just proves they are.

  • justsayin17

    Perhaps if the city partnered the problem with an incentive then this issue would soon disappear, or (gasp) be an opportunity to build the local community! For instance, if every person who returns a grocery cart to the store received 10 dollars in store credit or coupons , that could potentially save the corporation from having to pay the $100 fine associated with each cart, thus generating currency within the community. Even better… What if on their way the people returning these carts picked up the litter on the streets, and dropped it off at the dumpster? Or used it as a way to transport clothing to the salvation army drop boxes? Instead of calling people “thieves” recognize their need for the carts. Perhaps they need the cart for laundry…so maybe if they return a cart they get a gold coin to the laundry mat….get creative people…If it is really affecting the “quality of life” then the problem needs to be viewed from more than just a selective set of lenses..

    • Peggy

      How about after it’s needed it gets returned! Ohhh too tired to because the person just walked to the store filled it, removed it off property and then didn’t need it anymore. Perfect sense. Discard what you don’t need after you used it because it doesn’t belong to you.

    • me

      Are you this dull? I need $4,000 for a new car and since I “have a need for it” I guess I can just go rob a bank. Picking up trash? BAHAHAHHAHAHA You arelly are loose upstairs.

  • Nicole L.

    $100 per cart?!? And the stores will just pass that cost onto the consumers….

  • Corky Squier

    You notice how they are going after the victims and not after the people stealing the carts.

    • That Guy 1

      Have you ever tried chasing a cockroach around an abandoned building?

      • Corky Squier

        So it still boils down that there is theft going on and the people that are being stolen from are the people being fined. We will be paying for these fines, so we will be paying even more.

        • That Guy 1

          Ultimately, the stores that supply the carts have to take responsibility for them; meaning that they should have to put anti-theft measures in place. Similar to you or I having a car and paying to have an alarm installed.

          Let’s face it, if the carts caused a traffic accident that resulted in injury or death, who do you think is going to get sued? You’d sue the store that supplied the cart, and you’d win all day long.

          • Corky Squier

            When I brought this up to my Councilman, I was told it was primarily for Memorial Drive area. I asked him if they were going to charge the stores in Chicopee for the carts that come from Springfield (i.e the plaza) and was told that he would have to ask the law department if they could do that. This was not thought out to well.

  • Peggy

    Carts cost more than 100. a. piece. Removing one from the stores property is theft. Start charging a person that is caught off property with one. Years ago You had to pay a quarter to use one, it did not work. Why fine the store.

  • Gary

    The police should be arresting anyone who is seen removing one from a stores parking lot. It is not the stores fault if they are removed then left anywhere. If someone is on state or federal welfare and is caught removing them, they should lose their benefits!

  • Wanda Alter

    Why fine the stores? Start charging the people walking away with them. Different community but I’ve seen a house in Holyoke with 3 shopping carts inside their fenced yard. How hard is it to fine those people? Why should store employees have to wander town (sometimes in bad areas) looking for shopping carts?

  • childsmm

    Aldi Supermarket charges a quarter for a cart. When you put the cart back you get the quarter back. Have you noticed how many carts they have hanging in their parking lots??? That’s right NONE! Yes there are bigger problems in Chicopee! But at what problem do you start addressing things. A lot of small things or problems lends itself to larger problems. Some times you have to start with the low hanging fruit first, to clean off the tree.

    • Patches

      The ones who take them are walking to their residence, wether it be a home or the hotel, If it costs a quarter they’ll pay it , All the quarter does is gets people to put the carts back so they don’t need to have an employee chase them in the lot, They would need someone posted at the entrance and exit of the lot to watch that no one walks out with a cart. But that costs money too , maybe more than the cart is worth . I know save a lot doesn’t lose their carts there are bars the carts can’t fit through , going out into the parking lot . It’s not fun leaving your groceries there while you go get your car . Maybe that’s one reason why they can keep their prices down .

  • cindy

    Theres one on Little River Rd in Westfield. Been on the tree belt for weeks. You would think the store would pick it up

  • B.J. Newton

    I have an idea for the City Council member working on this for 2.5 years, get off your asz and go sit in the parking lot for 2-3 hours and watch how many people walk off these carts not giving two cents that they are stealing this property and when they get to where they need to be, just leave it, to become someone’s responsibility and headache. The solution is to fine those business’s that really can’t control it. Here lets try this, if a Police Officer on patrol see’s a person pushing a shopping cart outside the immediate area of the store they can A. Arrest on the spot for theft, B. Cite them and issue a criminal summons. Why are you putting the burden on the store, who will raise prices to cover the loss of paying the city for the BS of a few. Ridiculous, these are the people we elect to run our city, state, and government, no wonder Vets are dying…..

  • TBonePickens

    Insider tip. If you return shopping carts to Big Y and tell them where you got them from, they’ll probably give you free gold coins. Not a bad deal.

  • respectyourelders

    People who live in housing and have no cars steal them as well. Housing continually removes them and puts them on the tree belt as well as calls the stores to tell them to pick up their carts. Sometimes that takes weeks. At one point so many had accumulated in the stairwells that they caused a problem when EMT’s tried to get into the building as they had to move the carts out of their way before getting to the person needing assistance. They are all over the building and several people keep them in their apartments to use when doing their laundry etc.

    There are cameras all over the place so it shouldn’t be too difficult to see who is stealing them. They are the ones that should be fined. I am sure if that were the case they would never try to steal another cart.

  • Cart police

    People who take them should get fined as well cause the stores can’t watch all the carts leaving the store

  • dewewd

    I think it’s just the shopping carts natural urge to get out of Stinkopee, like anything else mobile.