The Safeway Shopping Cart Saga Continues

  • 2022-06-21, 05:18 AM (update 2022-06-21, 07:26 PM)
  • Rachel Dahl
The Safeway Shopping Cart Saga Continues Victoria Crystal Several shopping carts that have been abandon near Sherman Street.

Editor's note: Safeway has made the payment to the city for their efforts at gathering carts and the carts are back at the store as of today, Tuesday, June 21. 

If you went shopping at Safeway this weekend and needed more than a couple of items, you were lucky to find a cart. One lady lurked at the tailgate of a couple who were painstakingly loading what appeared to be a month’s worth of groceries into the back of their SUV. She was willing to wait for what appeared to be the only available cart on the premises.

Like many towns across America, the sight of abandoned shopping carts on sidewalks and the inconvenience of them in streets and alleys has become unreasonably common in the City of Fallon. But unlike most cities, the City of Fallon does not have an ordinance addressing the issue. “We had a lot of complaints about grocery carts being left all over the city,” said Mayor Ken Tedford, “and these carts have really become a public nuisance.”

According to Mayor Tedford, the shopping cart issue has been going on for several years. Most recently in November of 2021, Bob Erickson, the chief of staff, along with Sean Rowe the city attorney, and chief of Police Kris Alexander met with local Walmart management about the issue of Walmart shopping carts being abandoned across the city. They were told that there wasn’t much that they could do, but they would send the concern up the chain of command and get back to the city.

But the city never has heard back.

“They also tried several times to meet with someone at Safeway,” said Tedford, “but no one would meet with them. They were rebuffed by the Safeway management.”

It was then the city began picking up cards and taking them to the city yard.

“We decided not to use city staff this time, we used to pick them up and have the explorers or the Boy Scouts return them,” said Tedford. “This time we hired an outside person and paid them $10 per cart to drive around the city and look for and gather carts so our people in public works can concentrate on public works function that serves the residents of the City of Fallon.”

“For another $5 he will take them back to the store, but no one will respond,” said Tedford.

The Fallon Post reached out to local Safeway management in late May for comment but did not receive a response. 

Erickson said that two weeks ago the city finally got a call back from the manager at Safeway, Andrea McHone, who said they were out of carts at the store. “I told her we have 68 of their new carts and they could come get them for $680 or we would deliver them for $1,020. All we are asking is to be reimbursed for our costs,” he said.

But McHone told Erickson she did not have the authority to spend that kind of money. She is given $1,200 each year for a community budget used to make donations to various groups and youth sports. She was unable to do anything to get the carts back but would pass it on to corporate.

Apparently, according to Tedford, Safeway does have a person they pay on contract to come to Fallon to pick up carts, but when he does actually show up, he doesn’t know the community and doesn’t know where to look for the carts so he doesn’t like to come here. Walmart contracts with a company in Concord, California to pick up carts in communities, but they said during the meeting last year that it isn’t cost-effective to come get the carts in Fallon.

In other communities that do have a cart ordinance, costs to manage shopping carts can increase dramatically. Typical ordinances include requirements for each cart to have the name of the store and contact information for the person responsible for carts. Generally, if carts are found outside the property of the store, city employees contact the store to let them know a cart was found. If the cart is picked up within a certain amount of time, there is no fee. If the cart is not picked up in a timely manner, fees begin to be assessed.

In Sparks, Nevada five to 11 carts are charged $7 per cart for retrieval. When more than 11 carts are on-site at the city, the store must pay $15 per cart to retrieve them. If there are more than 25 carts are on site and the store fails to retrieve them, the city will return them, but the fees, $15 per cart, must be paid before the business license is renewed.

In 2002 Clark County, Nevada passed their first shopping cart ordinance and justified requiring the installation of electronic systems to keep carts on the premise, by saying the $30,000 price tag for the systems was minimal compared to the $80,000 stores lose when the carts go missing.  

“Many citizens are unhappy,” said Tedford. “The carts are an eyesore, they block the sidewalks and the gutters so the street sweeper can’t get the job done. It’s very frustrating to try to keep as clean a city as we do and then someone allows carts everywhere and as a business, they won’t go pick them up and won’t meet with us. They aren’t willing to talk to us about how to solve the problem.”

Tedford said the city is working on the ordinance, but they have allowed it to sit hoping the two stores will help solve the problem themselves. “Many other cities adopt an ordinance, and we may have to as well.” An ordinance could require some kind of retention system to monitor the carts and would create a fee structure for retrieval. “We hate to pass ordinances that restrict business or add conditions,” said Tedford.

For the past two weeks, as more and more carts disappear from the Safeway store, the shopping cart issue has become more pressing. “This is a major inconvenience for their customers,” said Erickson, “it boggles the mind.”

Last week The Fallon Post finally received a response to our request for comment from the local Safeway management. “We are getting our carts back from the City of Fallon,” wrote McHone. “I've been diligently working with the City and my corporate office to resolve the issue. I am hoping to retrieve our carts this week and have them cleaned. I'm so happy for our customers. They have really been grilling us, understandably so.”

Unfortunately, as of Monday, noon, the carts were still not back. Erickson said on Thursday last week he was copied on an email between Safeway employees and their own accounting department that the paperwork from the local store requesting payment had not been completed properly and the payment had not been made.

 

 

 

Rachel Dahl

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Charles T
Charles T 2022-06-29, 03:16 PM
It's crazy that the shopping carts are stolen from the grocery stores and nobody does anything. Police wont do anything. Then the city impounds them. The stolen property is returned at an extremely high cost. Ok. If someone broke into your house and stole your property, later they catch the thieves. What are the police going to do. Charge me for getting my property back. Really ridiculous. What a world we live in.
Carrie R.
Carrie R. 2022-06-28, 07:20 PM
Wouldn't this be considered VANDALISM? Guess Law Enforcement's hands are tied when it comes to trying to enforce laws against the Homeless people? What can you do to them? Fine them? Arrest them? The jails could become a shelter for them with a place to sleep, bathroom, and free meals.
carl_hagen
Carl Hagen 2022-06-25, 09:59 AM
Wow. 23 comments already. I think that's a record. It's interesting what gets people's attention. I appreciate the ability to comment on stories in The Post. But the ability to comment anonymously devalues the platform, in my humble opinion.
Anonymous
Anonymous 2022-06-27, 08:18 PM
Why would you think it’s interesting that this got people’s attention? You must not do the grocery shopping for your family. I’ll paint a clearer picture for you: groceries can be heavy when you don’t have the wheely basket thing to roll them around in the store and out to your car.
richard_babbitt
Richard 2022-06-23, 07:43 AM
How about setting up a camera were the majority of the carts being left and prosecuting the people that are taking them and leaving them
Hunter B.
Hunter B. 2022-06-22, 05:24 PM
Wow, Safeway is the victim of criminals stealing their carts and they are vilified by the city, law enforcers, and some citizens in comments here. If I were Safeway, I would pull out of doing business in this do-nothing-government and do-nothing-law-enforcement town.
LO
LO 2022-06-21, 07:30 PM
NRS 205.860 is the law governing taking a cart without permission. There are other things the store must do, such as post signs, and be willing to prosecute. Law enforcement can do nothing if the business does not want to pursue charges.
Kj Tackett
Kj Tackett 2022-06-21, 01:06 PM
Safeway gives out 1200$ in donates to the community but none of those reciever of $$, offer to do a cart roundup? Safeway keep your $$ and use it to get your carts back!
Stanley B
Stanley B 2022-06-21, 12:55 PM
This article is really telling about the state of this area and the reality of living here, especially the fact that nobody will even honor contracts for big companies like Walmart or Safeway- if it means coming out here. I am glad that I never bought a home here, and I am really considering moving somewhere better where the stores have carts.
Fallon citizen
Fallon citizen 2022-06-21, 12:45 PM
So let me get this the city is keeping private property and extortion to return private property back, Las time I check that is a crime and Tedford admin to criminal activity here in this article maybe is time for the Police to open a criminal investigation on the city and on Tedford.
Creampuff
Creampuff 2022-06-21, 11:34 AM
USA should have a token system like Germany. No carts in parking lots in Germany:)
Deni
Deni 2022-06-22, 08:26 AM
I tried to talk about that on this situation, they do it back East all over. It works amazingly. I was told to stop trying to change Fallon it’ll never work here. It’s amazing how well it works everywhere else.
Paul Hutchings
Paul Hutchings 2022-06-21, 11:14 AM
This shouldnt be a city of fallon issue. The store neglects to pay a cart person who could easily stop someone from taking the cart off site and bring the cart back inside after groceries are loaded. I do not want my taxes increased because someone feels this should be a city expense. What an ignorant thing to say. Dont renew the business license if they cant manage thier property. Pass the ordinance!!
S.S.
S.S. 2022-06-29, 03:22 PM
Safeway employees cant approach anyone for stealing anything. Even groceries. We couldnt approach people if they werent wearing a mask. If someone is stealing food like the other day. A lady walked out with a basket full of groceries. Safeway employees cant do a thing. Not right. But thats the world today
Mickey mouse
Mickey mouse 2022-06-21, 10:59 AM
They worry about shopping carts to keep the city clean but they can't repave the side roads in the back there's a couple roads that are shy of being a gravel road.
NR Hussein
NR Hussein 2022-06-21, 10:58 AM
Could the volunteers working for the city or police department be assigned to this task on a weekly basis?
There really isn't any excuse for taking carts off store property when we have an inexpensive bus service in Fallon. I've used it for months in the past with no issues. Time to create an ordinance and start citing.
Zero personal accountability
Zero personal accountability 2022-06-21, 10:35 AM
How lazy can you be to take a cart from the store and not return it when you go back?
A concerned citizen
A concerned citizen 2022-06-21, 10:21 AM
It is the homeless taking a majority of these carts. The city needs to come down harder on the homeless. I agree that it's not the fault of some of them that they are homeless but there are some, namely addicts that are homeless because of the decisions and actions. Some are offered jobs and refuse them because they want to be homeless and don't want to work also. The city needs to crack down on these people. This is getting ridiculously rampant. Some of these people think that the community owes them something, well we don't!.
My rant is over.
Carrie R.
Carrie R. 2022-06-30, 12:01 PM
Like I said on the above comment. So, do you arrest or fine the homeless? If you put them in jail, then they will have a place to sleep, free meals, bathroom facilities, etc. Then what?
James
James 2022-06-21, 09:39 AM
When will the police department start charging the people for theft of the shopping carts when they see them pushing them down the street. You know they see this and just look the other way.
DJ Dalla
DJ Dalla 2022-06-21, 09:22 AM
It is the City of Fallons responsibility to serve its community, its citizens and its businesses. Do your job and return the carts back to Safeway so the people of Fallon have carts to shop with.
Michelle
Michelle 2022-06-21, 09:03 AM
The people stealing the carts should be the ones getting the tickets. It’s not the stores fault for the people that are stealing there carts. They need to come up with way, that carts will lock up the tires when getting so far from the parking lot!! Kind of like the invisible dog fence!! Except for carts!!
S.S.
S.S. 2022-06-29, 03:25 PM
Its been tried in other areas and people just break the locks off
Sandy houser
Sandy houser 2022-06-21, 08:50 AM
We are a small community with only 2 grocery stores. It is criminal for the mayor and the city to not work with these grocery stores.
holly_mcpherson
Thank you, City of Fallon! 2022-06-21, 08:48 AM
Thank you, City of Fallon, for caring for our city and keeping it clean. The cost to gather carts is part of a grocery store’s expenses, not yours. It sounds like you did your due diligence to contact the stores and they gave you the run around or just didn’t reply. If they aren’t going to put their own policies in place to gather carts themselves, then it may be time for the ordinance. I appreciate you not jumping straight to that but giving them a chance to respond with their own procedures. Hopefully they’ll find a long-term solution.

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