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The Secret Life of the Shopping Cart

It carries handbags, groceries and small children. They can wobble, pull to the left and be difficult to handle. They can put a dent in your car, block a parking space and run wild in the wind. They are shopping carts, and as familiar as you may feel you are with these wonders on wheels, there’s probably much you don’t know. Welcome to the secret life of the shopping cart.

Shopping Carts are Expensive

When you see rows of shopping carts at your local store you are likely looking at tens of thousands of dollars. To purchase new, each can cost from about $75 to over $400 each.

A Bunch are Sold Each Year

Like many things, annual shopping cart sales vary depending on the economy. Even in slower economic times, shopping cart sales reach about 1.5 million annually, and can double that in more robust times.

Lots of Shopping Carts Go MIA

It may or may not surprise you to know that almost 2 million shopping carts go missing or stolen each year. This can translate into losses of $8,000 or more annually per grocery store.

About Half of All Carts are Manufactured in One State

Just about half of all shopping carts manufactured in the United States are made by a company called Unarco in Wagoner, Oklahoma. It helps that the company has Walmart as a client.

The Shopping Cart is a Relatively New Invention

Although it seems the shopping cart has been around forever, it was invented in 1940, and reinvented in 1946. Carts continue to progress with carts for kids shaped like animals, cars and trucks.

The Lifespan of a Shopping Cart

A shopping cart, if well-maintained, should last five to seven years in a high volume store and 10 years or more in medium to low volume stores.

What is the ‘Shopping Cart Theory?’

The shopping cart theory says that the decision to return a shopping cart is the ultimate test of character and a person’s capacity to be self-governing.

Now if we could only explain why so many shopping carts have a wobbly wheel!

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