Click on the photos to enlarge them and look at the filth...
We all know and accept that shopping carts at our local grocery are some the least sanitary items we come into contact with. After all, they're used by countless strangers who may be coughing or sneezing as they shop. With our humanity and its diseases such as hepatitis, tuberculosis and HIV this place is unhealthy to say the least. Indeed grocery shopping carts can host unseen biohazard landmines.
Somehow I suspect that the supermarket employees who actually handle food within the meat, fish and deli departments also must handle those disgusting carts. They are required to wash their hands after using bathroom facilities but how about after pushing those carts?
There is a special place in Venice CA where the problem is beyond epidemic. Aside from all the disease issues Ralphs’ carts are truly visual stomach turners. The Ralphs store located at 910 Lincoln Blvd, Venice, CA 90291 may well be the dirtiest store in the entire Ralphs system. Starting with the check out counters where the cash registers show a murky film of dirt and grime. The counter areas are not up to the standards of other grocery stores including the other Ralphs.
To be fair Venice has a large population of Spanish speaking vagrants who invade everyone’s alley garbage cans looking for recyclables to sell for cash. The offending Ralphs store has a recycling center right next door that obviously contributes to the problem. The vagrants sell their wares to the center and the carts are immediately returned to service at the store. This store has apparently not done much of anything to combat this unhealthy blight.
The vagrants find that despite the theft laws they can take the shopping carts from Ralphs and use them to collect and sort the proceeds from thousands of area garbage cans. The Los Angeles Police Department can’t or won’t enforce the theft law to protect the store’s property. Ralphs has apparently not hired security people to round up the carts and arrest the offending vagrants.
So when the carts find their way back to the store they are covered with filth, slime and perhaps residue from soiled baby diapers or worse. Ralphs does not have their cart cleaning equipment on premises.
The store manager would not go on camera citing company policy but told me they have a crew come in once a month for that purpose. Apparently it’s all too little, too late. The manager was kind enough to inform me that there were sanitary wipes at the entrances. I asked her to show me where they were and she discovered what I already knew, they were completely out of the wipes. She then offered that the vagrants must have taken them for their own hygiene needs.
I will post any response from Ralphs and report on any visible efforts to correct the problem that I notice. Look for more pictures and video to be posted here...
An update 4/5/06: Here is an e-mail response fron Ralphs on my story. I'd say after reading this that their "investigator" needs glasses.
Date: Wed, 05 Apr 2006 10:39:54 -0700From: "Kelly Bradshaw"
RE: Complaint of Ralph's Market @ 910 Lincoln Blvd, Venice, CA 90291
An investigation was conducted at Ralph's Market located at 910 Lincoln Blvd, Venice, CA 90291 on 4/4/06. An accumulation of trash and debris was observed on the south side of the parking lot. Sani-wipes were observed to be available at the entrance door for use after handling the shopping carts. An accumulation of dirt was not observed on the grocery carts, however, it was raining at the time of the inspection. According to the store Manager, the check-out counters are detailed weekly, one each day. The check-out counter available for inspection had no accumulation of dirt on surfaces.
An inspection report and compliance date was issued to the store to remove the accumulation of trash and debris from the south side of the parking lot by 4/11/06.
If you have any further questions, feel free to call. My office hours are 8-9:30 am M-TH.
Kelly M. Bradshaw
WATCH SOME VIDEO!
Venice Shopping Cart Thieves Caught On Tape!
I caught two Venice CA Vagrants in the act of the theft of two grocery carts this afternoon. Okay I caught lots of others by they spoke no English so I was unable to obtain their confessions.
The Blue cart is property of Albertson’s and the chrome cart on the right is from Ralphs.
I’m wondering if these two gentlemen are some of George Bush’s “Guest Workers”?
I told these two vagrants that I was doing a story about recycling. Here’s what they had to say…