HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) – You might not think shopping carts are that expensive, but they can add a lot to a retailer’s bottom line.
“The really nice carts you see in malls or grocery stores … can go for $700 to $800 a cart,” said Tina Yamaki, president of Retail Merchants Of Hawaii.
Taking over one place is a crime – but incidents are on the rise.
“People don’t realize they’re stealing it.” he said.
“It’s not just people who have trouble staying or who steal our shopping carts. In Puna, they go to pick up groceries and push the cart to the bus stop, or they will take it home to their apartment building.”
Enforcement is unreasonable so retailers are taking steps to prevent theft, such as working with the city.
In fact, city workers have collected 4,823 stolen shopping carts so far this year, most of them in downtown Honolulu and many from Walmart and Sam’s.
Carts in good condition are returned.
“It’s a lot of money, and some may pass it on to the customer, because you have to put a cart,” said Yamaki.
And that’s something consumers don’t want.
“You end up paying more for what is already a high price in Hawaii,” said consumer Jason Kauhane.
Carts are so expensive that some stores have tried to protect themselves, including installing technology that prevents you from rolling them out ― wheels that lock when they cross the border or poles that prevent you from leaving the store.
“They say they’re a little cautious, they’re watching and they have a lot of people coming out,” Yamaki said, adding that some workers had to double as cart wranglers.
Teneshia Howard says so many carts have been stolen from her workplace that only five are left.
“We have to keep running the carts to make sure we keep our carts. But now that we have entered the lockdown, it is better now,” he said.
“They come here to buy 40 pounds of cat litter and they’re like, oh, we need a cart. And then they feel bad for us. And then we have to stop what we’re doing to get these things out to them in the car.”
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