Morro Bay considering ordinance addressing shopping cart theft

November 13, 2023


In an attempt to clean up the nuisances stolen and abandoned shopping carts create, the Morro Bay City Council is looking to adopt an ordinance requiring stores to manage their carts, according to the Nov. 14 agenda.

City staff is recommending the council adopt an ordinance that places primary responsibility for retrieving stolen and abandoned carts on business owners. If passed, the ordinance will require store owners to mark each cart with a warning that it is illegal to take carts along with the store’s name, address and phone number.

In addition, store owners will need to secure their carts when the store is closed and to produce an annual abandoned shopping cart prevention plan.

If police officers find an abandoned cart, they will inform store staff about the cart. Store staff will then have 72 hours to collect the cart. Failure to retrieve the cart within three days will lead to a $50 fine.

“The overall objective of this ordinance is to establish a foundation with the retail industry to ensure that the abandoned shopping cart prevention plan is responsive to the needs of the community for a clean and safe environment,” according to the staff report.


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The retail stores need to sue the city for the lack of prosecution of those who steal their carts. It is a failure to arrest and prosecute the thief. Anytime someone is pushing a shopping cart outside the area of the store and they are using it for their own property, that is a violation of the law. If the police would start arresting people for theft of shopping carts, maybe people wouldn’t keep taking them????…. Our elected representatives are clearly unable to do what we need them to do, so it is time to change how we do things, and elect people who will use common sense.

The polices hands are tied when it comes to theft because of voters passing proposition 47 in 2014. Until that’s repealed or changed theft is considered a low level crime with very little consequences if any. It’s california logic I guess enable the thieves and punish the businesses

Does the store owner have to dump the cart and its contents out on the ground, fight the drug addict for the cart and run away miles through the creekbed? This is insane.

Why are you just making things up?

No one said any of that.

Wow, again we are surrounded by stupidity. THE TAIL ONCEAGAIN WAGS THE DOG!! The stores would like nothing better than to not lose their shopping carts, they are expensive!! That is why so many put poles on them so thay can’t be taken out of the stores.

We now want to punish the stores for allowing themselves to be crime victims but let the criminals away scot free because ther are incapable of telling good from bad. I think i will just go over and sit down and play my fiddle.

Seems like blaming the victim of the theft for actions of the thieves. Weird logic to this.

The City of Morbid Bay should charge a RECOVERY fee to the victim of all stolen property.

This is about unconditional and outrageous as it gets.

Because the county knows the thieves won’t pay the fine and the businesses will without having a choice. It comes down to greed rather than holding people accountable

So my tax dollars have to pay to recover/clean up some stores flotsam? No.

Greed of the corporate stores does not care about accountability.

Why oh why do these city big shots keep coming up with such crazy idea? Why not arrest the people (idiots) who steal the shopping carts. Problem solved very quickly. Tada :)

City of Morro Bay here is a thought, arrest and have real consequences for the people actually stealing the carts?

Dear City of Morro Bay,

The stores DO NOT take their carts and leave them all over. To fine them is insane!!!

We all know where the problem lies. Signed a Morro Bay Grocery Shopper

Though I’m leery of how much impact a warning label can have, otherwise, I fully support this plan.

I don’t really care mych, one way or other, about shopping carts and can’t think of any instance where I’ve noted the blight of an abandoned cart, but the fundamental principal that producers/distributors need to bare responsibility for the products they produce would serve society well.

In the 1950s manufacturing interest groups gave birth to the American anti litter movement with ad campaigns and lobbying groups like “Keep America Beautiful”

Remember the precocious little brat, Susan Spotless, who berated adults in the 1960s or the crying Indian (turned out he was actually Italian) with a single tear down his cheek? Those were actually part of an industrial propaganda campaign to convince American consumers that they, not the manufacturers, were 100% responsible for the products they produce as a way to externalize costs of bringing their product to market.

Today, our landfills runneth over because producers have no incentive to reduce needless packaging.

So, if this gets people to look towards the producers of stuff to take some responsibility for what they produce, then I support it

The manufacturer, is responsible for the consumer tossing their product out of their car window? Really?

Manufacturers make what the consumer wants. Nothing more. They do have their own set of laws, rules, and regulations for what pollution they create when making the product. After that, whatever happens to their product, is SOLELY the responsibility of the consumer.

To require stores, by force of law or penalty, to “do something” about shopping carts being stolen…is exactly the same as you being arrested for getting mugged.

The people that steal the carts, currently have no incentive NOT to. Slam them with huge fines, or a couple weeks in jail, and you will suddenly notice very few carts being stolen.

To require stores, by force of law or penalty, to “do something” about shopping carts being stolen…is exactly the same as you being arrested for getting mugged.”

exactly the same, lol

“Slam them with huge fines, or a couple weeks in jail”

State law guilty of a misdemeanor.

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