Walmart pays town over $20,000 in stray shopping cart fines

May 9, 2022

The Town of Dartmouth is now $23,000 richer thanks to the collection of stray shopping carts.

At its May 9 meeting, Select Board Member Shawn McDonald announced that Walmart recently paid the town after it was found to be violating the town’s stray shopping cart bylaw.

“Welcome to Dartmouth,” Vice Chair Stanley Mickelson said.

The violation was flagged when the retailer recently applied for a permit online, McDonald said.

“In order for Walmart to get their permit, Walmart submitted a check to the Town of Dartmouth,” he said.

In 2019, Town Meeting approved a bylaw requiring all shopping carts to be labeled by its owner and establish a $100 fine if the shopping carts are confiscated by the Department of Public Works.

The bylaw came after complaints began piling up and discarded shopping carts — especially along Route 6 — became a public safety concern.

“[It’s] been at least twice in my travels up and down Route 6 that I’ve come across a stray shopping cart coming towards my vehicle,” McDonald said. “No license — no operator either.”

Each day of a continuing violation shall be considered a separate violation, according to the bylaw.

Money from the fines will go into the town’s general fund.

Walmart will not be alone in their payments. According to McDonald, Target is also expected to pay cart fines in the near future.

“They’ll need a permit [soon],” he said.