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What to do if you find an abandoned cart?

FRESNO, Calif. (KSEE/KGPE) — One of my interesting pet peeves is that baskets aren’t being returned to their proper location. This can sometimes cause parking problems and lengthen the work of an employee in order to retrieve carts all over the parking lot. Then there’s the ever-growing problem of stolen carts.

According to the Food Marketing Institute in Washington, DC, stolen shopping carts can cost businesses up to $800 million a year worldwide. For years, companies have attempted several different countermeasures to try to mitigate the problem. In some stores, trolleys are no longer allowed to leave the store.

But who then becomes responsible for these carts when they are removed from company property? Is it the burden of the city or county in which he resides? Or is it the company’s responsibility to collect them?

The answer to this question is difficult, as different cities and counties have different ordinances regarding stolen shopping carts littering their streets. To make things a little easier, we reached out to a few of the local municipalities to see what procedures they have in place to deal with the issue.


According to City of Fresno officials, residents can use the FresGO app or call their 311 call center to request that an abandoned cart be removed. They are then picked up and brought to their maintenance yard. If their origin can be identified, they contact the seller to retrieve them. Depending on their municipal code, said businesses could be charged an administrative fee to retrieve their carts. If they are not collected, they are crushed and recycled.


The Clovis Police Department’s Neighborhood Services Division has a shopping cart reduction program. Officials say anyone can report an abandoned cart within the city limits using their free “Go Clovis” app. Carts are picked up once a week and kept at a facility. City officials say stores are aware of the program and pick them up regularly.


According to the City of Madera Public Works Department, they can help residents remove shopping carts by calling 1-800-252-4613 and leaving a message or filling out a form.