Crashing in the Walmart parking lot

Dear RV Shrink:rvshrink
We are rather new at RVing. I know many people stay overnight in Walmart parking lots but it makes my husband nervous to spend a night in Walmart or any parking area. It’s not crime or security issues with him, it’s runaway shopping carts.

We spent a truckload of money on our new home on wheels and have witnessed two incidents where the wind has blown shopping carts into parked vehicles. He is so afraid that a rolling food rocket is going to slam into our rig he won’t consider parking in a large lot with the motorhome, even to shop.

It would be a huge savings for us to park in these areas when we are making time and need a safe place to drop anchor for the night. Can you shed some light on food cart phobia? Is it widespread or just something my husband is suffering from? —Not crashing at Walmart in Wilmington

Dear Not Crashing:
Your husband has every reason to be concerned. Runaway carts are not uncommon. I think most people have noticed this potential problem. I am sure it is covered by your insurance, although it may affect your rate. Do not look to Walmart for damages; they are not responsible for them.

My suggestion is to help your husband understand that scat happens everywhere on the trail. You can run but you cannot hide. Waiting for an accident to happen is not going to make him a happy camper.

When you park in a large retail parking lot with your rig or any other vehicle, be vigilant. Scout out the most sensible area to park. If you see loose cannons, secure them in the cart corral. Most stores have people rounding up carts continuously, but they can’t be on top of them all.

If you start adding up the savings for all your short overnight stays in legal parking spaces it would most likely pay to repair what damage a cart would cause. I don’t have any hard data but I am guessing the odds of a cart collision are equal to actually winning money in a casino. Remember, free casino lot parking is only free if you do not go inside. But look on the bright side, no shopping carts. —Keep Smilin’, Richard Mallery a.k.a. Dr. R.V. Shrink

Can’t get enough of the Shrink? Read his new e-book: Dr. R.V. Shrink: Everything you ever wanted to know about the RV Lifestyle but were afraid to ask or check out his other e-books.




7 Thoughts to “Crashing in the Walmart parking lot”

  1. Ellen

    We’re in our ninth year of full-time RVing and our RV has never been hit by a shopping cart in a Walmart parking lot, despite many overnight stays at them. Our parked rig WAS hit, however, when “safely” anchored in a site at an RV park (it’s a long story — a little old lady thought the driveway was a street when she was returning to her rig in her toad from the laundry room). We also witnessed a man smash into his own rig with his toad, also when the rig was parked in a site at an RV park (he was at least three sheets to the wind… maybe four). We left there the next day. Not to scare you, but dangers are everywhere, and shopping carts during an overnight stay at Walmart are probably the least of your worries. As others have said, stop worrying, or you won’t go anywhere.

  2. Tommy Molnar

    Park as far away from the front of the store as possible. We do this with our cars as well. Most people are too lazy to park on the outskirts (except for other folks looking to keep their cars from being damaged), and carts rarely blow that far. Other than that, just roll the dice and hope for a winning roll.

  3. Robbie

    We’ve never seen a shopping cart while boondocking.

    1. RV Staff

      Excellent point, Robbie! 😀 😀 —Diane at

  4. Suka’s Mom

    Most Walmart stores that allow overnight parking ask that the RV be parked far away from the store entrance. There are fewer carts out there.

  5. CYoung

    Another great option may be Harvest Hosts. If you know how far you plan on travelling, using their tools you can usually find a beautiful out-of-the-way spot to rest. Just follow the directions to call ahead the day before. All the “Hosts” we’ve stayed with were awesome. Some even asked if we wanted to stay multiple nights. Great way to find unexpected gems to see and experience. If this suggestion helps you to choose HH, our member number is 13082. Disclaimer: we get a free month of membership for the referral, but even if you do not use us as a referral, I still recommend you check them out.

  6. Sue

    We have parked many times overnight at Wal-Mart in transit from Point A to Point B and have never had a problem with runaway carts. Just watch for loose ones and put them in the nearest corral.

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