Don't Waste Your Money: When shopping carts attack - News, Weather, Sports, Toledo, OH

Don't Waste Your Money: When shopping carts attack

(WTOL) - Millions of Americans shop at big box discount stores. For most of them it is a pleasant experience, but a growing number of shoppers have been shocked during a recent store visit. Not shocked as in surprised, but shocked as in static electricity. Some have called it a case of "When Shopping Carts Attack."

Felt Like A Metal Barb

Gerry Palumbo was shopping for a gift a few weeks back at a discount store. Suddenly, she felt something sharp with her finger.

"I thought it was a barb, a sharp piece of metal on the cart," Palumbo said.

But she said the cart handle was perfectly smooth. Then, it happened a second time, and a third time.  

"No matter where I held the cart I was getting shocked," Palumbo said. 

She finally had to hold her cart with her purse strap to avoid a static shock.

We Make A Visit

What's going on, and why are shopping carts becoming "shocking carts" at some stores?

Wearing a ball cap and pullover so not to draw attention, John Matarese rolled a cart through the store, touching shelves, but nothing happened.  He was about to leave, thinking it was a freak incident, but decided to ask his photographer, Greg Singleton, to do the same.

Singleton had a very different and shocking result.

"I got a shock," Singleton said. "Got a shock right there."

Singleton pushed the cart again, touched a second metal display, and was shocked a second time. Then he was shocked a third time.

Palumbo said store employees knew all about it.

"Even the cashier said it happens to her all the time. And the assistant manager said it happens all the time and there's nothing they can do," said Palumbo.

A Google search pulled up dozens of complaints about this at Walmarts across the country, along with other stores.

What Is Causing It?

The Consumerist website, a division of Consumer Reports Magazine, said it believes it has to do with Walmart's relatively new vinyl wood flooring and metal carts building up static.

The shoes a customer wears determines if he or she gets shocked, which would explain why Matarese was not shocked.

According to a Walmart spokeswoman, the company is aware of this happening to some customers in some stores, but said it is rare. The company also said it addressed the issue on a store-by-store basis.

One solution, according to the Consumerist, is adding a grounding wire on the bottom of carts.

Palumbo said until her Walmart grounds the carts, she will visit another Walmart that does not have the problem.

"It's painful to shop. They're not shopping carts, they're shocking carts," Palumbo said.

What Can You Do?
If you have an issue like this at any store, try holding the cart with a coat, gloves or even your purse handle, which is what Palumbo did.  

Then go tell the store manager before you leave and forget. They may not be aware shoppers are having this problem.

If this has happened to you at other stores, feel free to post your experience below.

As always, don't waste your money.

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