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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

July 15, 2009 at 4:00 PM

Shopping carts: solutions to prevent theft

Bellevue ordinance unfairly punishes the victims

I can’t think of a more blatant punish-the-victim law than the Bellevue ordinance — endorsed by The Seattle Times [“Bellevue is right to corral carts,” Opinion, editorial, July 9] — that fines businesses for shopping carts that are stolen and abandoned on the streets. What’s next, fining fast-food restaurants when customers throw paper cups by the wayside?

I shouldn’t have mentioned it — some bureaucrat reading this will think it’s a good idea. Or will The Seattle Times be required to retrieve every newspaper that’s found blowing down the road?

Ridiculous? Of course — as ridiculous as the Bellevue shopping-cart ordinance.

— Stephen Triesch, Shoreline

A mechanical solution to cart theft

I appreciated The Seattle Times’ editorial concerning shopping carts and how to control their pilfering and return to the proper store.

It reminded me of our experience in Brussels, Belgium, several years ago when we visited a supermarket, and seeking a shopping cart, found a line of readily available carts, secured in a dispenser much like the ones that dispense luggage dollies at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. We had to insert one euro coin to release our cart, and when we were finished with it, returned it to a similar receptacle where our coin was fully refunded as soon as we secured the cart back at the end of the queue.

Pretty simple mechanical solution to a vexing problem.

— Ben Yount, Federal Way

Borrow a shopping-cart system from our northern neighbors

The shopping cart scenario that Bellevue and other cities deal with on a daily basis has a very simple answer: Go to Canada and borrow another great idea from our progressive pals to the north.

Safeway and several other Canadian grocers have the perfect plan already in place: Attach the shopping carts together at the handle, then make the customer put a quarter into the second-to-last cart to release the last one.

When the customer returns and reattaches the cart, the quarter is returned. Shopping carts that are not returned are ripe for street people to return and garner 25 cents apiece — much more lucrative practice than scouring down a bagful of sticky aluminum cans.

Surely it would not take a huge effort for our grocers to put their collective heads together and pattern our shopping-cart system to work like the Canadian plan.

This solution is as close as your backyard, grocers!

— Marilynn McGlashan, Seattle

Comments | More in Business, Eastside

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