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Costco and Walmart Shoppers Are Noticing This Big Problem in Parking Lots

It recently cost Walmart $23,000.

Each trip to the grocery store these days is defined by what items are facing shortages and which are more expensive than ever. But for some shoppers, issues begin before even walking through the front doors. Quite a few have complained about a big problem in the parking lot of stores like Costco and Walmart recently.

One chore associated with using a grocery cart is to put it in the designated return area in the parking lot. However, more and more shoppers have noticed that this is not happening as often as it should Costco members took to Reddit to voice their frustrations, while one town is holding Walmart responsible for overrun and straggling carts that have made it beyond the store grounds.

 These Are Costco's Most Popular Items Right Now

One Costco member recently posted on Reddit about the fact that more and more carts are not being returned lately. They said it got them thinking about a solution that would incentivize members to return the carts—like a deposit system. Others in the comments say that solution or not, it is lazy not to return it once you're done shopping.

Just a few days before, another Costco member posted a picture of loose carts in an empty parking lot. It, too, drew in comments from others mentioning the same things as before. This post, though, says the members who left the carts out are acting "like Walmart shoppers" by doing so.

Many of the almost 300 comments allege that shoppers of both stores engage in this behavior. "But they do and it's frustrating. 'How comes there's no carts?!' Cause people don't return them!!" one Reddit member commented.

Although another noted that "Americans in general have this issue",  Walmart was just penalized for it.

The Town of Dartmouth, Mass. voted in 2019 to adopt a law that charges the owners of stray shopping carts around town $100 for each one picked up by city officials. According to, Walmart recently paid $23,000 in fees for its carts that were taken from the parking lot by customers and ultimately ended up abandoned, local news radio station 1420WBSM says.

Town residents started complaining about the number of carts piling up along city streets before the law was passed, with some saying they would end up rolling toward vehicles on the road. The money collected from Walmart will go into the town's fund, and Target is expected to be forced to pay up soon, as well.

In the end, putting the cart back in its designated spot in the parking lot saves some trouble—and money. Speaking of costs, The Price of This Costco Deli Item Has Gotten Out of Hand, Members Say.

Amanda McDonald
Amanda has a master's degree in journalism from Northwestern University and a bachelor's degree in digital journalism from Loyola University Chicago. Read more about Amanda