Dangit! Grocery cart wheel wobble!
What's unusual about that?
We see people pushing carts all the time.
The ones I choose often have a wobbly front wheel.
That ever happen to you?
But Jim Wilson, with an Ohio company called CARTS OF AMERICA, was fixing wobbly wheels on Ollie's carts.
I stopped and asked him an obvious question.."what makes a wheel skitter and bounce?"
He said it often starts when a store is collecting carts from the parking lot.
We've all seen the mechanical helper - with a motor - that Wal-Mart, Sam's Club, COSTCO, etc., use where a long string of inter-connected carts are being pushed while a single employee at the front leads the pack to the store.
I said I thought that was a very efficient way to corral a lot of carts at a time.
Jim sighed and said that very often, front wheels get turned sideways.
It then is being dragged - not rolling - across the lot, creating a flat spot on the wheel. Result: thump, bounce, thump, wiggle, thump,... well, you get the idea.
I looked into a cart filled with flat-spotted wheels he was replacing. Many had huge clots of material around the hub that could cause a wheel to stop turning.
I made a mental note to look down at the front two wheels of a cart before I choose it for my shopping.
I also asked how shopping carts can lock the wheels when you leave the parking lot? Tim said they have special wheels that lock when they pass over a boundary "invisible fence," a perimeter antenna. Signs on carts advise that this will happen.
Apparently they do work.
In my neighborhood, I used to see abandoned carts pushed into ditches. Some people I saw used them to haul things around their yards, just as if they had bought it at a store!
Uh, that was stealing.
(Click on the photos and links for more details.)