A viral TikTok with millions of views claims a big change is coming to the shopping experience at Walmart.
The user showed a video of a shopping cart, with a device labeled “$1” on it, and said, “Starting February 1, Walmart is going to charge you a dollar to take out their carts.”
Is Walmart charging a $1 fee to use shopping carts starting Feb. 1?
- Walmart corporate communications
- Walmart location in Portland, Ore.
- Walmart location in Thunder Bay, Ontario
No, Walmart is not charging a $1 fee to use shopping carts.
WHAT WE FOUND
The device on the cart depicted in the video is part of a deposit system more commonly found in Europe and Canada, where the video was recorded, than in the United States.
In order to unlock a cart from its corral, shoppers must insert a coin into the device. When they return the cart and lock it again, they get their coin back.
The system is designed to prevent people from leaving carts strewn about randomly.
It’s not as commonly used in the United States as it is in Europe, but some stores have started to use it – notably Aldi, which was founded in Germany and now has more than 2,200 locations in the U.S.
Aldi says on its website that the “deposit ultimately saves our customers money because we don’t have to hire extra staff to collect grocery carts.”
Deposits at Aldi are 25 cents, though the viral TikTok showed a cart at Walmart requesting a dollar to unlock. Dollar coins are rare in the U.S., but are common in Canada.
The TikTok user followed up his viral video with another explaining the original was recorded in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, Canada, and that shoppers get their dollar coin back when they return the cart.
Another northern Ontario Walmart location recently posted on Facebook to alert their customers that the system would soon be implemented there.
Walmart told VERIFY “Select Walmart Canada stores offer a deposit system for shopping cart use intended to increase availability and to ensure they are properly returned. The dollar is refunded when the cart is returned. Many discount retailers in Canada offer a similar cart deposit system.”
VERIFY also called a U.S. store in Portland, Oregon, and confirmed there were no plans to implement the deposit system locally.
Even in locations where deposit systems are used, it does not amount to a fee, since shoppers keep their coin after returning the cart.