Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Reserve a Spot with a Shopping Cart

This one's taken...
  (+5, -2)
(+5, -2)
  [vote for,

I've noticed that people will leave their shopping cart/trolley in the middle of parking spots quite often. They do this for no apparent reason, and will stay there for quite some time, until someone moves it. I've seen one at a local supermarket turned on its side, and it stayed there for days.

Why not put this tendency to your advantage?

Install a radio transceiver onto it, and wheel locks for all four wheels. Then, when you are about to go to the store, hit the remote button and the cart will be activated. The wheel locks unlock, and it will seek out an open spot close to the entrance of the store, handicapped spots excluded. Also, if it detects a car leaving or about to leave a spot (engine running, moving slowly out, someone loading groceries) it will wait for it to leave. Then it settles into the open spot and locks its wheels, deterring anyone from moving it.

Anyone looking for a spot will pass it by, as they are usually too lazy (or find it less time effective) to get out of their car and move it (I know I am that way).

And thus you have your spot ready when you get there.

DesertFox, Feb 21 2006


       This one really isn't ready for prime time, you know.   

       • Stores aren't going to put up with locked carts: they'll rip the locks off or trash the carts (except maybe at your local supermarket - where do you shop, the Bronx?).
• Shopping cart technology may be advancing, but we don't have ones capable of locating parking spaces yet.
• Nor do we have carts capable of navigating a parking lot with moving cars.
• Oh, yeah, they don't have motors, either.

       Why not base your technology on something conventional, like illegal imigrants?
DrCurry, Feb 21 2006

       • You move them to some discreet spot when you leave, and only send it to search when you are about to go to the store.
• Grid based algorithm. Very simple. Have it go down each lane looking for an open spot.
• Have it sneek around. Have it freeze or run away if a car approaches it.
• I'm an idiot. I assumed people would assume that small electric motors have been installed along with the wheel locks. Make it plug itself into an outside outlet when low on charge.

       //where do you shop// At the supermarket along the highway that runs through Dallas.
DesertFox, Feb 21 2006

       You can tie up traffic for hours by placing a shopping cart in the middle lane of a three-lane highway. Maybe with enough of them you could have a whole highway to yourself!
phundug, Feb 21 2006

       Flocking Shopping Carts! Woohoo!
csea, Feb 21 2006

       Visions of a parking lot outside Dallas, the morning after Thanksgiving, filled with a shopping cart in each parking spot.....   

       This get's my [+] for "silly". Entirely undoable unless it ended up like a valley service.
sophocles, Feb 22 2006

       Valley service. Hmmmmm...   

       "Where do want this?"
"Oh, it goes between those two mountains."
DesertFox, Feb 22 2006


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