FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. (WNCN) – The City of Fayetteville wants to crack down on abandoned shopping carts across the city as its leaders said it is becoming an eyesore. More and more people and small businesses are complaining about it.
The carts are being stolen from big box retailers and left in random parking lots, bus stops and sides of the road.
Andrew Carthon is a Fayetteville Area System of Transit rider. He said he’s often seen shopping carts in places they shouldn’t be.
“A lot of people use them to bring their groceries to the bus stop. But a lot of people use it for other things as well, especially homeless people,” Carthon said.
Abandoned carts have been a battle Fayetteville city leaders have been fighting for nearly four years, they say. Since May of 2020, the city has spent around $78,000 discarding abandoned carts.
“Well, I’ve had folks from my district, specifically retailers, saying ‘hey people are leaving carts all in front of my store. I’m having to push them around. I don’t know what to do with them’,” Mario Benavente, Fayetteville’s District 3 Councilman, said. “We go pick them up. Because we don’t want them rolling out into the street. We don’t want anyone to be harmed by them.”
Fayetteville city leaders are considering an ordinance and putting more responsibility on retailers. The ordinance could force those businesses to create ways of making it tougher to take carts from the parking lots.
“Some folks (businesses) have ways to lock the wheels before it gets off the property,” the councilman said.
There is already a state law making it a misdemeanor to take shopping carts off business property.
“Police should be more aware, more assertive when they see someone pushing the baskets off the property. Give them their little ticket,” Carthon said.
Those big box retailers are members of the North Carolina Retail Merchants Association.
NCRMA sent CBS17 this statement:
“The NC Retail Merchants Association is committed to working with the City of Fayetteville to find a remedy to address the concerns regarding stolen and abandoned shopping carts.
NCRMA and our retail members are confident cooperation through voluntary efforts can produce even better results for both the City and our members than the proposed ordinance.”
-Elizabeth Robinson, NCRMA Senior Vice President
The Fayetteville City Council has directed staffers to study ordinances in other municipalities and work with retailers to create an abandoned carts ordinance.