Shopping Carts in All The Wrong Places: A Trashy, Tragicomic Photo-Essay

Most people are quite aware of the problem of garbage associated with homeless camps — — which so often includes the quintessential symbol of homelessness — the shopping cart.  Shopping carts, shopping carts, and more carts — far from any shopping center, piled high with — well let’s just say, those aren’t groceries in there.

I’m sure many feel they are too aware, and would really like to not have to be so aware of this ubiquitous and unsightly problem.  So there may actually be some intentional blindness about shopping carts out there, some cart-numbness that we all have to cultivate, in order not to be concerned about all the sad carts everywhere. To work against this cart-numbness, here I am with my camera, aiming to bring the carts back from their sad state of marginalization by looking to document their misadventures.

Homelessness and garbage can be depressing subjects.  So let’s not let ourselves only be depressed. I’m by nature a lighthearted and creative person, and I like to lighten things up by taking a whimsical view of things.  So in order to bring a  bit of wry humor to the often neglected tales of the downtrodden carts, I want to start a photographic adventure using this quirky and quintessential symbol of the homeless person  — the shopping cart — and share images of shopping carts in all the wrong places.

I’ll also show images of other sorts of “carts” in odd or unexpected places, when I find some of those which are interesting.  This photographic essay is not so much intended to show the problem of garbage and homeless camps, as to be a somewhat trashy tragicomedy of the “collateral damage” of homelessness — the misadventures of poor old shopping cart!

I will keep adding to this photo essay as I find more misadventurous carts in all the wrong places.

Cart in wetlands in mud Dec 11 2017

Shopping cart in mud of tidal wetlands, near Point Isabel


Cart in wetlands 2

Sad shopping cart stuck in the mud


Cart in Bay Trail Dec 11 2017

Tall and narrow cart, an evocative sculpture on the Bay Trail


Cart in Bay Trail and dog walker

Dog walker approaching  Tall and Narrow Cart


Cart Meeting of the carts Dec 11 2017

The meeting of the carts: Bay Trail, El Cerrito, Dec 11 2017


Carts multicolor cart meeting

Multicolor meeting


Carts and garbage

Truly derelict and trashy carts — next to park sign about tidal wetlands


Cart and garbage

Overloaded cart on Bay Trail December 2017


Carts lonely at the curb corner

Carts and Cones at the Curb


Cart run aground -- with stolen goods

Criminal cart — full of stolen goods, stripped wire


Cart stripped wire

Pile of stripped wire below Criminal Cart


Cart not out of the woods yet

Cart not out of the woods yet — near SeaBreeze Camp



Illiterate Cart


The Wild Ride of the Baby Stroller Cart:

Shopping Cart in Lake Merritt

Upsey Downsey

And other shopping cart misadventures soon to come.



One thought on “Shopping Carts in All The Wrong Places: A Trashy, Tragicomic Photo-Essay”

  1. This is a wonderful article. Does a good job to highlight the ftc group, and the moral/ethical issue of giving those most demanding, but least willing to support themselves. I’m headed n Linda’s district. Do you know if our council people read this? Obviously it’s too dense for Davila, but the others would benefit.


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