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Perimeter Security System for Shopping Carts

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000116056D
Original Publication Date: 1995-Jul-01
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2005-Mar-30
Document File: 2 page(s) / 61K

Publishing Venue

IBM

Related People

Mott, DI: AUTHOR

Abstract

Disclosed is a security system to prevent the theft of shopping carts or similar objects from stores and distribution centers. The system consists of a battery powered device hidden on the cart that sounds an alarm when it crosses the parking lot boundaries. The system also requires wire around the perimeter of the store and an in-store base unit that communicates with the cart devices. The cart device alerts the base unit or store controller computer via wireless communications when it crosses the parking lot boundary.

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This is the abbreviated version, containing approximately 52% of the total text.

Perimeter Security System for Shopping Carts

      Disclosed is a security system to prevent the theft of shopping
carts or similar objects from stores and distribution centers.  The
system consists of a battery powered device hidden on the cart that
sounds an alarm when it crosses the parking lot boundaries.  The
system also requires wire around the perimeter of the store and an
in-store base unit that communicates with the cart devices.  The cart
device alerts the base unit or store controller computer via wireless
communications when it crosses the parking lot boundary.

      Grocery stores have a problem with the theft of grocery carts.
Carts cost from $80-$100 each, and in California alone over $16
million worth of carts are stolen from stores each year.  The carts
mostly disappear by two means:  either they are stolen by thieves who
remove the nameplates and resell them, or they are used by people
living in nearby neighborhoods to take their groceries home who do
not return the carts to the store.

      Safeway, in California, is trying to prevent cart losses by
making customer pay a twenty-five cent deposit to get a cart, which
they get back when they return the cart to a corral.  This has
somewhat reduced the theft of carts but at the cost of making
customers upset.  The deposit/corral method also costs $31 per cart
plus a few thousand dollars for the corral and signs.  This method of
theft deterrent could potentially cause the store to lose customers.

      Other methods to prevent cart theft have failed:  one was
barriers at the grocery...