Thursday, September 22, 2011

Crashing at Walmart

Dear Dr. R.V. Shrink:
I know many people stay overnight in Walmart parking lots. We are rather new at this RVing and it makes my husband nervous to spend a night in Walmart or any parking area. It's not crime or security issues with him, it's runaway shopping carts. We spent a truckload of money on our new home on wheels and have witnessed two incidents where the wind has blown shopping carts into parked vehicles. He is so afraid that a rolling food rocket is going to slam into our rig he won't consider parking in a large lot with the motorhome, even to shop. It would be a huge savings for us to park in these areas when we are making time and need a safe place to drop anchor for the night. Can you shed some light on food cart phobia. Is it widespread or just something my husband is suffering from?
--Not crashing at Walmart in Wilmington

Dear Not Crashing:
Your husband has every reason to be concerned. Runaway carts are not uncommon. I think most people have noticed this potential problem. I am sure it is covered by your insurance. Do not look to Walmart for damages. They are not responsible. My suggestion is to help your husband understand that scat happens everywhere on the trail. You can run but you cannot hide. Waiting for an accident to happen is not going to make him a happy camper. When you park in a large retail parking lot with your rig or any other vehicle, be vigilant. Scout out the most sensible area to park. If you see loose cannons, secure them in the cart corral. Most stores have people rounding up carts continuously, but they can't be on top of them all. If you start adding up the savings for all your short overnight stays in legal parking space it would most likely pay to repair what damage a cart would cause. I don't have any hard data but I am guessing the odds of a cart collision are equal to actually winning money in a casino. Remember, free casino lot parking is only free if you do not go inside. But look on the bright side, no shopping carts.
--Keep Smilin', Dr. R.V. Shrink

##RVT816; ##RVT900


Unknown said...

Most parking lots are not completely level. Scout the Lot for a spot that slopes away from your RV

Anonymous said...

Comme to Quebec, where people put their carts in the specified places... be it at Waaly, the grocery or anywhere else

Moe said...

Stayed at lots of Walmarts; never heard of this problem. Sometimes there is a stray cart or two near us and we just push them into one of the cart bays in the parking lot. It's a bit of quid pro quo for the privilege of parking there. We also shop there when we need something...same deal, you scratch my back... We always go to customer service and ask permission and ask where they want us to park, even if other RVs are in the lot. Lastly, we only stay overnight when we are "passagemaking", otherwise we seek out an RV park, with no chairs or tables deployed. WalMart is a good place to stop.

Anonymous said...

If you want to park overnight at a Walmart or a casino, or at the many other places that often allow it, the biggest issue isn't shopping carts. It's knowing which locations allow RVs to park overnight and which don't. It's no fun getting kicked out of a parking lot at 3 AM or waking up to a $50 ticket on your windshield. We use info to know where we can & can't park overnight. The $25 yearly fee saves us hundreds each year.

Anonymous said...

Gravity is your friend. For drainage, these lots all have at least a slight slope somewhere. Park on high ground, or try to find somewhere that there are other barrier between you and the main activity of shoppers. Even other RVs can block an incoming rocket. Just choose a spot using the lay of the land and you'll probably be fine. If it looks to risky, then move on.

Linda said...

We use Wal-Mart several times each year. Always go in the store and ask the a manager (not just the forst employee you see).. 1. May I park in your lot? and 2. WHERE may I park?
Generally they will ask you to park in a specific area and we have found that to be to near lawn and garden areas. The plus side is that there are very few carts rolling around. We often try and pull into the specified area out near the curb. This often keeps the parking light and noise in the bedroom area to a minimum. And while you are gathering up those few stray carts..take a trash bag along and get some exercise picking up tras in the parking lot.

Anonymous said...

If there's any prevailing winds, or you expect windy weather, try to park both uphill and upwind. This reduces the odds a cart can get to you. Helping WalMart round up carts also is in your favor! You can even mention this to Customer Service when you ask to stay overnight. Plus, it doesn't hurt your chances of getting an OK!

Dick said...

Shopping cart damage can realistically be a problem. We elected to overnight at a WalMart on a windy evening. The parking lot was slightly sloped, and the inevitable happened - a loose cart found its way into the side of our nearly new tow vehicle and we still have that scratch and dent to this day. Deductibles on the insurance mean the cost comes out of your pocket.

This kind of damage can happen anywhere. We regret the damage but it does not deter our staying in WalMart for overnight convenience.