A blog about living in Aberdeen, New Jersey.

Friday, April 9, 2010

A&P Cliffwood Shopping Carts Littering Our Community

For the past few weeks I have had an A&P shopping cart in front of my house in Cliffwood Beach. We've phoned the A&P store manager numerous times and he keeps promising to have his guy come collect the cart, but the cart remains out front this afternoon. While this cart has been our uninvited guest, the neighbor kids rammed it into my fence and broke the bottom rail of my front gate. Sooner or later, the kids will take it down to Whale Creek or Raritan Bay and that will be that.

Ever since I moved here over thirty years ago, A&P shopping carts have been finding their way into neighborhood streets, creeks, woodlands, and yards.  I remember when the neighborhood teenagers took an A&P shopping cart out on a frozen Treasure Lake one winter in the early 1980s. When the weather warmed, the cart fell through the ice and stood sentinel in the middle of the lake for a couple of years until it finally sank into the mud. Since then I've made an effort to see that carts aren't left on the ice anymore. I've also seen carts down in the creek and woods near the middle school and in front yards throughout Cliffwood and Cliffwood Beach.

The store apparently knows a guy who knows a guy who comes around once in a while to collect strays in the back of a van or truck, but that's an insufficient response. Some of these wayward carts are neglected and remain an eyesore until they rust and decay in the backwoods, down a culvert, or in some other relatively forgotten part of our suburban landscape. It can't be cheap for the store, which must lose half a dozen or more carts per year, but the problem persists.

This cart litter isn't just a local issue, either: it is nationwide. Search for the word cart in these pieces from Seattle, Pittsburgh, and Milwaukee. There are some wonderful suggestions at Topix in response to a piece called Stop Draggin' My Cart Around, in which someone complained about this very matter and sought help on what to do. I guess I could donate the cart to a non-profit for use on Litter Walks.

Ultimately, grocery store customers don't have the right to roll a shopping cart home with them. That's what personal grocery carts are for. Carts on the Go has a nice selection for purchase. And then there is also the quite innovative Hook and Go Personal Shopping Cart. At the same time, the store doesn't have the right to bleed shopping carts into our community. Aberdeen Township ought to tell the Cliffwood A&P to make a serious effort to restrict its fleet of carts to the store and immediate parking lot and to prosecute those who persist in stealing its carts. Or else the store should be fined.


  1. It is the customer that should be fined and charged with stealing property. I can not condone this kind of behavior. These carts cost $150 each. And before Aldi is used as an example, even their carts are now being stolen.

  2. why dont you walk the cart back to the store and stop complaining.

    1. Erik - There are people who steal carts every time they go shopping. They leave them places, where others take them and wheel them into creeks or the woods. Sorry, but public outrage is appropriate when social norms are repeatedly violated. Calls for change are appropriate. In Al Anon, returning the cart would be called enabling. Just get him another drink and stop complaining.