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Shopping Cart Escalator

Yoshio, a staff writer for the Japanese division of RocketNews24, visited a Target store in the United States. There, he found a technological marvel: an escalator built for hauling shopping carts up and down floors. It was right next to the step escalator. Just push your shopping cart in and it will ride up to the top.


(Video Link)

Yoshio was tremendously impressed as he has never seen anything like this in his home country.

And, honestly, neither have I. I've lived in the United States all of my life and I've never heard of one of these things, let alone seen one. Have I just not been going to the right stores?

The only big box retailers that I've been to have been built on a single level. Perhaps these shopping cart escalators are more common in densely-populated areas where it's necessary to build vertically rather than horizontally.


In the suburbs of Los Angeles (Pasadena. Sherman Oaks and Panorama City), I have visited two 2-story Targets and a 2-story WalMart, all put into the shells of former traditional department stores and they all have Cart Escalators (which always run slightly slower than the Human Escalators so you can position your cart and watch it take off, then go up and meet it at the top). They are cool. Those stores all also have regular elevators bigger than some of the Freight Elevators I've seen elsewhere, also to accommodate shoppers with carts.
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They built a huge multi-level Target with that right near where I grew up in NorCal. It's been there since I moved away or just after, I think... 7 years or so now? Didn't realise it was that rare a thing! But it's a fantastic idea. I wonder if it's that store he visited.
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There is a thing just like this in the Target across from Northgate Mall in North Seattle. I've been to it a bunch of times. Never knew this was sufficiently impressive as to be remarked upon by someone from Japan!
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They have one of these at a Target in Chicago. Saw it for the first time last year, and was similarly impressed. The Target there is two-stories, and has a parking garage in the basement, so there are actually two different sets of cart-lifts!
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I remember being suitably impressed when I discovered this at a local Target (Springfield, PA) about 8 years ago. The carts are slightly modified to allow them to catch on the special conveyor belt and stay level, but it's a really clever design.
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I'm in Canada, and, as Ray Perkins said, Canadian Tires have had them for years. They're also at Wal-Mart and Target. I didn't realize it wasn't a more common feature. It makes so much sense.
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In Costa Rica, the escalators are ramps with grooves for shopping cart wheels (& the wheels have grooves to match). You push the cart onto the ramp & it locks in place until you reach the top.
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All the Targets in the Washington, DC area have these and a few other stores as well - Whole foods, Ikea, probably others as well. Very common in urban areas I think.
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The downtown Minneapolis Target has this as well. We also have a two-level Menards (home improvement store chain) in the suburbs, with a moving ramp to take shoppers and carts up to the 2nd level. The wheels have a round plate that locks into the grooves of the moving ramp.

Although I've seen multi-level stores with ramps for carts in several cities in China as well, although usually they just have bumps on the moving ramp so the carts don't get so out of control.
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I've never seen a separate escalator, but many European escalators are designed to take carts. They have a zig-zag comb on the base which locks onto the edges of the steps so the cart cannot fall.
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