Tuesday, November 16, 2004

That's OK — You Can Keep it

So this is interesting: If you're homeless in Berkeley and you misplace your shopping cart, have no fear. The city will place the cart and its contents in a storage container and keep it safe for you until you're ready to retrieve it. Even better, the container is refrigerated — in case you leave a jar of mayonnaise or some salami in there.

The program is an effort to abide by a state law that requires cities to store lost goods, but Berkeley goes further than most places (San Francisco also stores homeless people's stuff but sans refrigeration).

It costs Berkeley about $3,000 a year to refrigerate the storage container. But wait — there's an added benefit: Officials say it could be used as a morgue in the event of a major disaster.

But some people are upset that the carts aren't being returned to the supermarkets they came from — since they're technically stolen property. And in fact, even when markets are contacted about the carts, they make little effort to retrieve them. Um, yeah...because that would be freakin' disgusting. I feel like after a homeless person has pushed around a grocery cart for a few days — or it's been in close proximity to decaying corpses — it should never again be used to stow my Cheerios.