"I've noticed at our local Walmart that as I push some of the carts, I get a static discharge through my hands. It's really uncomfortable. Have other's noticed this same problem?"
Often you will see some versions of shopping carts with a discharge strap or small chain hanging down rubbing the ground. This also seems to be a greater problem with the newer plastic carts than the older metal carts... There has been alot of info about this problem with a specific retailer which you can find by searching: Wal-martshopping cart static electricity shock.
I once worked for a contract ICT test house developing test programs and fixtures. Our test head (HP3065) and debug bench was in a "static controled" room with a disapative carpet. One day durring the winter, I walked accros that rug, reached down into the empty patch bay of the test head and drew a 1" arc to one of the test card connections; it hurt like heck and I jumped back. I immediatley grabed the diagnostics fixture, and found that we had a dead analog card. It took two day of down time for HP to find the problem and get us a replacement card. So much for the anti static carpet. We got a lot more serious about wrist staps after we learned that we could not rely on the carpet any more.
Yeah 3drob... We get that too sometimes. I've been told by one EE that he's never zapped a board... 'Yet' is what I replied.
We have below 1% humidity in the dryrooms and an over active air exchange in one of those creates a bit of a breeze too. We do a good job of maintaining boot straps, wrist straps, ESD Lab coats as SOP in those... and we still get the occasional fire, so far though those always seem to be non-static events. Friction; go figure.
I read William K's reply and his point really suggests that as consumers we should only buy CE marked products which actually MUST go through this testing to be allowed to apply the logo. That way the shonky operators cease to sell products and we all benefit. The purpose of the CE mark was to lift product quality to a minimum standard deemed necessary for the application. In the EU it's enforced and placing a CE mark without complying results in fines and worse a need to remove the mark. Designing for ESD places some real challenges on the designer adding great skills and improving employment prospects (at least where it's mandatory :-) ).
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