Wegmans caddies may become less common on the streets of Auburn.
The supermarket chain has installed a new security system for its trolleys, Gatekeeper, in its downtown store. The system allows shopping carts to be used only within a perimeter. If customers try to push a cart beyond this perimeter, its wheels will lock. Gatekeeper’s patented SmartWheel uses radio frequency identification to make the technology possible.
A spokesperson for Wegmans told the Citizen that the system was installed at the Auburn store last week and is fully operational. Parts of the perimeter of the system have been painted to mark it for customers.
Auburn is the pilot store for the chain’s use of Gatekeeper, the spokesperson said. There are several reasons Wegmans decided to install the system there, including the costs of replacing the carts and returning them to the store. Before the system was installed, Wegmans hired a company to recover carts that were removed from the property.
People also read…
The spokesperson declined to answer questions from The Citizen asking how many carts the Auburn store has lost and how much they cost to replace them.
The spokesperson also declined to answer a question asking whether the city of Auburn’s new $100 cart retrieval fee for retailers influenced Gatekeeper’s installation. City manager Jeff Dygert asked the city council to add the fee to the city budget last spring. At the time, he called errant carts on city streets an “ongoing problem.”
Fifty years ago, on February 17, the Auburn Wegmans opened its automatic doors.
Speaking to The Citizen on Wednesday, Dygert said he appreciated Wegmans trying to resolve the issue.
“It’s a quality of life issue,” he said. “Having shopping carts all over the city, and not just their own, but it hurts the look of the city.”
Dygert said the city has yet to levy a $100 fee on Wegmans or other retailers because none have attempted to pick up carts collected by the Department of Public Works since the spring.
“On the face of it, it seems some retail establishments don’t care that they’re gone,” he said. “I don’t know what else to think about it.”