The New Urban Cart

On a recent trip to the Twin Cities I was talking to my mom about plans to replace the existing "regular" Target with a new Super Target on University Avenue in St. Paul. A plan to move the building back from the street 100 yards is being rejected by the community board because many in the neighborhood access the store via the bus. If the new Target moves a block south, shoppers would have to carry their goods quite a distance to reach the bus stop. What about using carts?

I learned that Target now uses a radar system to keep their carts near the store. Carts are tracked by sensors buried beneath the asphalt and stopped by a device that locks the wheels if a cart strays beyond the parking lot. Quite tricky. The only other cart-theft deterrent I've seen is a chain that unlocks a cart with a 25 cent deposit.

So, let's suppose a cart thwarts the radar and is whisked away from its retail home. How are carts souped-up after they leave the parking lot? One man in Jacksonville, Florida won a cart makeover from a radio station. The spiffed up cart has a can crusher, an AM/FM stereo-cassette player, a color LCD tv, a GPS satellite tracking device, a remote controlled alarm, effect lighting, driving lights, a refrigerator/heater, pull-out seating and a fold away tent.


Without a car, I rarely push a shopping cart because it's tempting to load it up with more than I can carry on foot. When a plastic basket is full, I've reached my maximum load. But sometimes we rent a car and when we do, we treat ourselves to the cart experience: pushing and then riding the cart, leisurely looking at items without having to hold a 20 pound basket, loading up without having to strategically plan so that the bread is on top, etc. However the cart we get always seems to have a lame front wheel. Now if innovative cart designers could just fix that problem...

mark, Apr 19 2006 9:39AM

doesn't it seem kind of offensive to pimp a homeless person's shopping cart? instead of filling it with gadgets, wouldn't food and job training be more useful?