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Wegmans tries pilot program to prevent shopping cart loss

Beth Adams/WXXI News

Wegmans is using a pilot program to try and keep shopping carts on their property.

The system is called Gatekeeper, and so far only a Wegmans in Auburn is using what the company calls a ‘cart retention system.’ to try and prevent shopping carts from leaving the store’s property.

A Wegmans spokesperson, Laura Camera said that if a cart is taken outside a specified perimeter, the wheels will lock.

The program was first reported in the Auburn Citizen last week.

Camera said Wegmans will continue to evaluate the pilot program to see if it’s something that should be rolled out to other stores. She said there are several reasons why they decided to use it at the Wegmans in Auburn, including the cost of replacing carts as well as the cost of locating and returning missing carts to the store.

Wegmans said that cart theft is an industry problem and affects all retail stores. The company noted that according to the Food Marketing Institute, annual costs due to cart theft is around $800 million.

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A spokesperson for Tops Markets, Kathy Sautter, said that Tops has used a cart-locking system at two dozen of its stores for a number of years.

She said it does not prevent cart thefts entirely, but said that stolen carts are a big expense and it’s also frustrating for shoppers.

Randy Gorbman is WXXI's director of news and public affairs. Randy manages the day-to-day operations of WXXI News on radio, television, and online.