What’s with all the stray shopping carts scattered across this city? While riding around the streets of Detroit, I see them everywhere. They’re in weed filled fields or lots; in the yards of vacant homes; on pedestrian free sidewalks; and some are randomly parked in the middle of a street that is lined with manufacturing facilities. The odd thing is there are usually no food markets or other retailers in the area where I see many of the vagrant carts. In fact, there usually isn’t any businesses within blocks, or in some cases miles, that may have the carts available to their shoppers. It’s as if the derelict carts were magically dropped from the sky to their special place in a field or street.
The abandoned metal and plastic 4-wheel carts I see are used in many ways. I’ve seen them piled high with what appears to be trash. Others are filled with old mattresses, wood, metal debris, and various urban treasures. I also see poor people slowly pushing carts filled with scrap metal along lonely streets. I can only assume they are on their way to a nearby scrap yard in hopes of making a few bucks by selling the junk they managed to collect. Generally, it seems they are being used by impoverished people as haulers to move their unusual stuff, as if they were major freight transporters delivering produce or products across the city and beyond.
Street-smart entrepreneurs also use them as mobile stores. I’ve seen the buskers pushing carts full of candy, pop, potato chips, and other miscellaneous items along sparsely populated streets yelling out, “Everything is a dollar.” They remind me of ice cream trucks that work the streets, but without the loud obnoxious music. Sadly, the homeless and unfortunate people of this city use them to store and transport their meager goods. The carts they push along at a crawling pace are usually packed full and overflowing with trash bags and other small make-shift containers, all stuffed with their worldly possessions.