I recently wrote an article about shopping carts that seemed to strike a chord with many of you. It was a story about how the Town of Dartmouth imposed a $23,000 fine on Walmart to try and encourage the mega box store to be more responsible for its shopping carts taken from the store parking lot and abandoned on town roads by Walmart shoppers.

Many of you expressed very definite views about the town's actions, some in defense of the fine and others in defense of Walmart. There certainly was no shortage of opinions.

It got me thinking about why so many folks would have so much to say about a shopping cart that doesn't even belong to them – and then it hit me. We all shop, and we all use the shopping carts.

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So I decided to take a deeper dive into the issue of shopping carts to try and find out which stores have good shopping carts and which ones have crummy shopping carts.

My research looked at the physical appeal, what they look like; are they clean or dirty? I examined the wheels to determine whether the shopping carts rolled smoothly through the store. Are they noisy?

Many area stores offer shopping carts to their customers, so I chose to limit my research to the larger stores where they get the most use. I eliminated the Job Lots, Walgreens and such and stayed away from Lowe's and Home Depot. I stuck with places to buy groceries across New Bedford, Fairhaven and Dartmouth.

I found some really nice shopping carts that were clean and moved freely. I also found some real dogs with rust, noise, and wheel issues.

Here is my report:

New Bedford-Area Shopping Carts, Ranked

Shopping carts on the SouthCoast can be hit or miss. Barry Richard visited many stores across the New Bedford-Dartmouth-Fairhaven area and came up with his ranking of the various retailers' shopping carts, from worst to best.

SouthCoast Supermarkets Then & Now

Supermarkets have come and gone along the SouthCoast. Here we take a look at some of the spots where markets once stood, and where people in New Bedford and beyond get their groceries in more modern times.

Soaring SouthCoast Supermarket Prices

According to the U.S. Department of Labor's Consumer Price Index (CPI), nearly everything at the supermarket is up from where it was a year ago.