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Food & Drink

What Happened to the Shopping Baskets at the Uptown Cub?

Someone flashed the Racket Reader Action Desk signal, and we answered.

Alan Stump via Google

As the Racket team hastily developed our business acumen last summer, we became familiar with the term “value proposition statement”—i.e. what you, the reader, gets out of subscribing to the website. How about this one: Racket will deliver reported-out answers to your online befuddlement, no matter how hyper-local or trivial, in under 24 hours. (Please don’t abuse this offer!)

Such a signal flare came into view last night, when someone tagged us in the following thread originated by Minneapolis resident David Cook:

Wielding the mighty powers of journalism, I placed a call to the Uptown Cub this morning. The answer?

Basket thievery!

“Yup [they’re gone], I just ordered 100 of ’em,” a store manager tells us. “Our supplier has just been so behind. I ordered 100 through them and 100 through Amazon, so hopefully they come soon.”

The baskets, which cost $22 per piece, were all stolen, the manager reports. He’s unsure why someone would steal them, what practical use the baskets would have around a thief’s home, and, most pressingly, when the replacements will arrive.

Until then, grocery aisle chaos reigns.

“We just got brand-new carts, and those got stolen too,” the manager adds. “I just ordered some, and they’re $40,000 for the new ones.”

A cursory Google search reveals a wave of shopping basket thefts after Connecticut implemented a plastic bag fee in 2020; same deal in Oregon. Minneapolis began enforcing its five-cent bag fee again last October, though it’s unclear whether that spurred shopping basket thefts. In 2011, retiree volunteers in West St. Paul formed a “cart cop” task force to retrieve abandoned shopping carts around the city, the PiPress reports. Perhaps we should deploy those old-timers—who may or may not be getting too old for this shit—onto the streets of Uptown.

Hassled managers and shoppers aside, it seems like Cub Foods can comfortably absorb the basket and cart losses. Sales are up 15% through the pandemic, the Strib recently reported, and executives plan to add to the local grocery empire’s 79 stores.

Craving more Uptown discourse? Revisit our 24 hours in Uptown feature from last summer.