Crashing in the Walmart parking lot

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Dear RV Shrink:
We are rather new at RVing. I know many people stay overnight in Walmart parking lots but 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

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, although it may affect your rate. Do not look to Walmart for damages; they are not responsible for them.


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 spaces 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’, Richard Mallery a.k.a. Dr. R.V. Shrink

Can’t get enough of the Shrink? Read his e-books, including the brand-new Book 2 in his two-book series: Dr. R.V. Shrink: Everything you ever wanted to know about the RV Lifestyle but were afraid to ask or check out his other e-books.

##RVT900


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CYoung
CYoung

If you’re truly concerned, try an alternative to big box store dry camping. When “making time” across county we use Harvest Hosts. For a small annual fee you can stay at wonderful places with no additional cost. This may sound as an advertisement for them, but we have enjoyed many stops at wineries, farms, museums, and fruit groves. We are usually the only ones there. We stop early enough to patronize the business,so maybe it is not totally free, but then we’ve had another great experience added to our trip.

TIM
TIM

Carts have a difficult time rolling uphill and the parking lots are seldom level. Determine the highest area of the lot and park there if possible.

Michael
Michael

As an extra added thank you to WalMart, it wouldn’t hurt to take some time and gather up carts and return them to the store or the racks that contain them in the parking lot. You help out your fellow campers and get exercise at the same time as well.

rvgrandma
rvgrandma

we have parked many times at Walmart, Home Depot, Albertson’s and other stores many times. Never have we had a problem with getting hit by a shopping cart. Of course, we park way out in the parking lot where cars rarely park, so the only thing around would be other RVers. Now they could leave a cart nearby which you would have to watch for.

Gene Bjerke
Gene Bjerke

If you are overnighting at Walmart, the best place is usually along the side of the building near the back. Shoppers don’t park there, so no shopping carts. Otherwise, you want to be at the edges of the lot anyway, away from traffic. Also no shopping carts,.

tom,
tom,

I wish that Wal-Mart would adopt the Aldi’s solution to shopping cart clutter. Put a quarter in the slot, use your cart, return it and get your quarter back. There are very few “loose” carts at Aldi’s. In some areas, I’ve seen teen-agers being very willing to return your cart for you. Nice to have some cash.

Wade
Wade

In our now two years of full timing, we’ve stayed in many Walmart parking lots, with nary a problem. You should be parking on the outer edge of the lot anyway, where few if any carts venture. By the way, We ALWAYS call ahead to the store to ask if they allow overnight parking, and where they prefer we park. Casino parking is our favorite ( we’ve even driven a little out of our way to park in one) even though we don’t gamble. The buffet’s are often great places to eat, and the lots are regularly patrolled by security… Read more »

Sue
Sue

We’ve had a lot of over-nighters at Walmart and Sam’s Club parking areas all across the US (and some in Canada) in the last 20 years while in transit from one destination to another and have *never* had a problem with runaway shopping carts. We always park well away from the building where the only nearby carts are ones left by inconsiderate RV owners who parked there before us and were too lazy to put them where they belong. We simply roll those to the nearest cart corral.