Friday, July 06, 2007

...Before the Shopping Horse

I've lived places where people conscientiously return shopping carts to the appropriate spot, diligently wheeling them back and tucking them in the stack. That's not how it works here.

Clearly the consensus is that shopping carts are an open-ended courtesy, and the public may do with them as they see fit. Responsibility for recovering them falls squarely on the store-owners. And not just from the far reaches of the parking lot. With a large car-less population, carts tend to stray far into the surrounding neighborhoods* where they are left and eventually picked up by the truck that patrols for them.

Many never make it home at all but are adopted for a new life in a variety of creative uses including but not limited to:
  • Bus stop bench
  • Bicycle sidecar
  • Transport for surprisingly large furniture
What have you seen shopping carts used for?

* With recent security improvements, this practice has slowed but not ceased.


  1. Anonymous9:04 AM

    So N.O. has inadvertently developed a version of the kind of public-use bicycle transit program that always seems to be unraveling in more wealthy, socially-conscious cities.

    Instead of yellow single-speeds, shopping carts. Instead of burnt-out volunteer bike-nerds rounding up the scattered vehicles, grumbling grocery store truck drivers.

  2. I can't recall any particularly clever uses of a stolen cart, but I have spent an afternoon observing the retrieval guy hauling carts(several) from Bayou St. John, right there at Broad.

    What I can't figure is, why they were disposed of at all? If they'd gotten that far from the Winn-Dixie without being busted, it wasn't likely anybody else was gonna pull a Starsky-and-Hutch on em' once they hit the bridge there. All else I can come up with is that cart-dumping must be like cow-tipping for city kids. Poor retrieval guy.

  3. Excuse me, at Orleans Ave.

  4. Let's not forget DIY mobile second line beer salesmen.

  5. Anonymous5:24 AM

    There was a well known character in the Quarter in the early seventies who used a shopping cart as living quarters for his life companion, a duck.

  6. I've seen street vendors use them as mobile selling platforms.