I like to do my grocery shopping in a few smaller trips every couple of days rather than a huge trip once a week or so.

It's not enough to really warrant pushing a cart around, but enough that I'd look pretty silly walking with arms full of groceries, so I depend on the plastic hand baskets to carry my goods.

But one of the grocery stores that I frequent in Ocean County has a basket black hole.

Go ahead and head over to the Wal-Mart in Brick and try to find a hand basket.

Go on, I'll wait.

Did you have any luck?

The basket situation there is one of the most confusing things I've ever encountered.

They can't keep them in stock. As soon as they get a new stack of the blue plastic carrying crates, they disappear.

I even asked an associate once, and she told me that they keep getting stolen.

But why?

Honestly, I can't imagine that there's much of a black market for plastic shopping baskets.

I really don't think that they're being raided for parts, either.

So what's the motivation?

And, let's also ask, when the heck is this happening?

Wal-Mart is famous for having employees stationed at the doors, when is someone slipping by with dozens of baskets?

And this has been going on, no joke, for years.

Recently, more often than not I have to do a walk through of the front of the store to try to find an abandoned basket at a checkout. Sometimes I get lucky, sometimes I have to either carry what I can or push around a cart with only half a dozen things in it.

It truly is one of the strangest mysteries in Ocean County (and let's be honest, we have plenty of strange mysteries here).

Do you know who the Great Wal-Mart Basket Thief is? Drop us a line, we'll keep it confidential!


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