FRESNO, Calif. (KSEE/KGPE) – An interesting pet peeve of mine is shopping carts not being returned to their proper locations. This can sometimes cause trouble with parking as well as make an employee’s job longer in order to retrieve the carts all over the parking lot. Then there is the ever-growing problem of stolen carts

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

But who then becomes responsible for those carts when they are removed from the business’ property? Is it the burden of the city or county it resides in? Or does it fall on the business to pick them up?

The answer to that is difficult, as different cities and counties have different ordinances regarding stolen shopping carts that litter their streets. In order to make it 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 Fresno city officials, residents can use the FresGO app or call their 311 call center to request an abandoned shopping cart be removed. They are then picked up and brought to their maintenance yard. If their origin can be identified, they contact the vendor to pick them up. According to their municipal code, said businesses could be charged administrative costs for picking up their carts. If not picked up, they are crushed and recycled.


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


According to the City of Madera’s Public Works Department, they can assist residents with the removal of shopping carts via a phone call at 1-800-252-4613 and by leaving a message or filling out a form.