Cartgate 2014: Santee Council Tackles Abandoned Shopping Carts

7-10 carts are collected by the City of Santee each week. Have you noticed more abandoned shopping carts around Santee?

Credit: City of Santee
Credit: City of Santee

The Santee City Council is considering how to keep shopping carts in their proper place, rather than be illegally taken and abandoned, becoming a "public nuisance."

The council heard a report from city staff about abandoned shopping carts at their meeting last week, including options for how to stop the thefts, such as requirements for wheel locks, like those recently installed at Target. Council will likely revisit this issue at a later meeting.

25 businesses in Santee use carts, according to the city, and the number of carts taken and found around town are on the uptick.

The city said that currently residents can call the city to report an abandoned cart and they'll call the store to ask that they retrieve it.

City Manager Keith Till said that 7-10 carts abandoned within city limits are collected by the city each week. 

"We either deliver them to the store or dump them if they're in bad shape," he told the council.

"I feel we're doing to good of a service delivering them," he said. "We should probably have them come get them."

Till said the cart often aren't usable if they make it down to the river.

Santee Chamber of Commerce Director John Olsen spoke up for the small businesses in town, and coined the toungue-in-cheek term "Cartgate 2014." 

"It probably makes sense for large businesses to have locking carts, but the Chamber is concerned about smaller businesses like Dollar Tree or Office Depot who have fewer carts," he said.

Olsen suggested that the city might charge a recovery fee if city finds a cart and returns it.

"To me its a free enterprise thing," said Mayor Randy Voepel. "If your losing carts that are about $250 each- hey, that's your problem. I'm for non-regulation."

Councilmember John Minto breached the topic of homeless taking and using the carts, and made sure that it was policy to connect with them and offer them services to get off the street.

Councilmember Rob McNelis promoted the idea of an ordinance that new carts in town would require cart locks.

"We need something that works for the long haul," said McNelis. "All that works is those cart locks. I saw a guy with two Home Depot carts, one pulling, one towing. Why make it easier to let them make our city look horrible?"

COMMENT: Have you noticed more abandoned shopping carts around Santee? Would you support a wheel lock requirement?

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Terry Klinker January 16, 2014 at 10:20 AM
We have a Sport Clips store in The Shops at La Jolla Village. There is signage at the exits that states something to the effect, "Shopping carts from this center will activate an alarm if they are taken from the property." I actually doubt that they are fitted with a chip that activates an alarm, but it does seem to be an inexpensive deterrent for those people on our campus.
Kim Joralemon January 16, 2014 at 12:05 PM
I shop at food for less and saw about 4 or 5 homeless teens or young adults using shopping carts. those are the people that need assistance or sent to drug rehab. or they will start mugging. I used to live in PB and that's what would happen there. I don't go there at night now unless I have to. scared to shop in my own neighborhood. AND with Santee sheriff depot right down the street.
Steven Bartholow January 16, 2014 at 12:52 PM
The city posted this to their Facebook page- Help Santee stay clutter-free and attractive by reporting abandoned shopping carts using this website: http://www.cartretrieval.net/ This is a service provided at no taxpayer expense by a private company. You can also download their smart...-phone app. Coming soon: We’ll place this link to California Shopping Cart Retrieval Corp. on the city website. Note: The firm will collect shopping carts only from the following companies: Albersons; Bed Bath & Beyond; Big Lots; CVS; Dollar Tree; Food 4 Less; Michael’s ; Rite Aid; Sprouts and Vons.
Cynthia Watson January 16, 2014 at 05:15 PM
Wow..that seriously breaks my heart to hear people being afraid to shop after dark in Santee! I was raised here, moved away and now l am back to this wonderful little town, l will always call home. I am not surprised by how many homeless folks ride in to town on the trolley everyday though..my mom did say, that trolley was going to be trouble
Shannon Quigley-Raymond January 19, 2014 at 11:16 AM
Thanks for the cartretrieval.net website maybe they'll be better than CA Shopping Cart Retrieval Corp. I've called them at least 15 times over the past 6 years for applicable stores and have only had them pick up carts once. BTW- 17 carts recovered during clean-up yesterday, every clean-up we pull out an average of 5 carts.


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