Mom Petitions Costco After Local Store Refuses to Add Adaptive Shopping Carts
Cynthia DeStefano from Long Island, New York, loves to take her 11-year-old daughter Gia with her when she shops. In some stores, like her local Target and wholesale company BJ’s, DeStefano has an easier time shopping with Gia, who has a disability that affects her mobility, because both stores provide adaptive shopping carts. However, DeStefano isn’t able to shop at her local Costco with Gia because adaptive carts are not provided.
“She has to be inside something, or I have to be holding her, but then I can’t physically pick something up and let go of her,” DeStefano told The Mighty. “It makes it really hard, and she enjoys being out in public. She’s an extremely friendly little girl.”
DeStefano reached out to her local Costco more than a year ago about providing shoppers with Caroline’s Cart. In January, DeStefano’s local Costco said would not be purchasing any Caroline’s Carts, though they were familiar with the product. The Mighty reached out to Costco’s corporate office, which declined to comment.
After Costco’s response, DeStefano began a petition on Change.org, asking the wholesale company to provide carts in its warehouses. The petition has almost met its goal of 150,000 signatures with signatures rising rapidly.
One signer, Victor DiLeonardo, said that if stores can have “race cars for little tykes, [stores] can have Caroline’s Carts also.”
According to Drew Long, the founder of Caroline’s Cart, some Costcos do provide the adaptive cart, and she doesn’t know why DeStefano’s local Costco said no. Long also signed the petition.
“All stores should provide an accessible shopping cart for their customers that have disabilities,” Long said. “Most stores provide many options of shopping carts for toddlers and even motorized scooters — so why not provide one for the special needs families?”
People with disabilities are valuable customers. Based on research from Return on Disability, people with disabilities and their families control over $8 trillion in disposable income. According to Marketwatch, Costco’s net income, or profit, in 2017 was $2.68 billion.
One Caroline’s Cart costs approximately $1,000, though the price varies based on location for shipment and the quantity ordered. Assuming each cart costs $1,000, putting at least one cart in each of Costco’s 741 warehouses would cost the company .028 percent of its 2017 profits. This would be a one-time expense, minus replacement carts or parts as needed.
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Photos courtesy of Cynthia DeStefano