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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How about an air-horn that goes off if the cart leaves the property? (or an electric shock?).

This entire state is so backwards when it comes to just about any policy

Corporate retailers don’t want to have any part in solving crime. They would prefer to pass these types of costs on to their customer and avoid negative press. Senior leadership at Target and Walgreens won’t even work with the Sacramento Sherrif to target the most troublesome retail theft rings, creating medication deserts in the poorest neighborhoods. We all pay for this poor corporate decision making, both consumers and shareholders. Time for some activist investors to put the hurt on these companies

What does “working with” mean? Even if arrested, they will be cited an released. When ridiculous legislation is passed it is up to the voters to elect different people. I wouldn’t put my employees at risk either. Just exactly what is a medication desert? Why are the people living in that desert voting for the people that empower this with stupid laws.?

European retailers charge a refundable deposit for carts. When consumers are finished shopping, they return the cart (a difficult task for many stateside consumers, but that’s another subject). Once the cart is returned, the consumer receives a full refund for their initial deposit. It’s a win-win for the retailer, the consumer, and the general public. The initial investment burden for a locking, automated system is low— and it likely reduces cost over time for both retailer and consumer (by keeping carts on-site, rather than disappearing).


Charge a refundable deposit equal to or greater than the cost of a daily head change and you’ll have vagrants fighting tooth and nail to return those nomadic shopping carts.

I remember being in Canada, maybe 15 years ago, at a grocery store. There was a quarter deposit machine on the rack of shopping carts, like the airport carts. You pop the quarter in and then take cart for your purchases. Then you returned the cart and got your quarter back.

There were a few benefits. Lot didn’t have carts all over the place. Store didn’t have to pay for employees to herd carts back. A couple homeless guys would offer to return the cart for you.

In this digital age, I am sure there can something like this. Does not address carts taken for transporting all your belongings, but you probably wont have carts discarded in the street

Aldi markets have these

It’s California. We have to pay people $20 hourly to work at McDonalds. Do you think people will return carts for a small deposit?

Hey City council, why don’t you and the police department do your job, the one you were elected to do along with those that are paid to serve and protect

Using that logic if someone steals anything from the City of Morro Bay the City Council Members should pay a fine and or go to jail. Oh wait, I like that the more I think of it.

The county and cities should be fined for not providing proper care for the drug addicts and mentally ill living on the streets and for all the homeless encampments they ignore and only cleanup for big events.

Shopping cart theft?… are you kidding me?… how about Lottering and illegal camping within the city limits as well as littering and relieving yourself in public?…. so the voters of Morro Bay speak up and no one listens but Albertsons speaks and instant relief?…. unbelievable Morro Bay…. I really thought Carla would fix this problem… I guess I was wrong…

Eventually the stores will get rid of shopping carts completely if the city makes the fines unaffordable for the businesses. Then the city can listen to their customers complain about not being able to shop because the city decided to punish businesses for other people’s theft.

Someone can steal anything from the stores with no consequences as long as it’s under a certain dollar amount. But the minute a shopping cart is stolen the businesses are punished. Good Ole california logic if it makes sense do the opposite.

if the city makes the fines unaffordable for the businesses. “

not to exceed fifty dollars ($50) for each occurrence in excess of three during a specified six-month period” California Business and Professions Code

Everything is upside-down. Especially here in SLO County.