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The Future of Shopping

Soulskill posted more than 2 years ago | from the push-button-receive-pellet dept.

Businesses 163

Hugh Pickens writes "The WSJ reports that a new device, now in use at about half of Ahold USA's Stop & Shop and Giant supermarkets in the Northeast, is making supermarket shoppers — and stores — happier. Looking like a smartphone, perched on the handle of your shopping cart, it scans grocery items as you add them to your cart. And while shoppers like it because it helps avoid an interminable wait at the cashier, retailers like it because the device encourages shoppers to buy more, probably because of targeted coupons and the control felt by consumers while using the device. Retail experts predict that before long most of these mobile shopping gadgets will be supplanted by customers' own smartphones. As more customers load their smartphones with debit, credit and loyalty card information, more stores will adopt streamlined checkout technology."

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163 comments

I always liked this concept (1)

QuoteMstr (55051) | more than 2 years ago | (#36171942)

IBM createda commercial that explored what a grocery store without checkout lines. I'd love to live in a world in which I could optionally make all my purchases that way.

Re:I always liked this concept (4, Insightful)

daem0n1x (748565) | more than 2 years ago | (#36172566)

Stores assume people will buy more, which won't happen, because people have no money and are avoiding spending as much as possible. I did my job, I cut all my expenses really hard, every time I go to a supermarket, I take a shopping list that I follow strictly. I only buy what I really need, and always buy the cheapest products that don't suck.

Funny, because here in my country the big retail tycoons are the most vocal about reducing wages and social benefits. They forget that people without money can't buy the fancy shit they sell.

Re:I always liked this concept (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36173578)

First off, retail sales are UP right now. Second, they already showed when using the ScanIt device that customers spent 10% more on their final bill. So, what you talking bout willis?

I've used them (1)

Wannabe Code Monkey (638617) | more than 2 years ago | (#36171954)

I've used them and I like them. It's nice to just bring your own bags to the store, and just scan and bag all your items while you shop. Then when you get to the check out counter (either the self checkout or regular lane). You don't have to unload all your stuff just to scan and then bag it again.

My only issue is that Stop and Shop is more expensive than other stores in the area.

Re:I've used them (2)

coldfarnorth (799174) | more than 2 years ago | (#36172182)

One of the store chains in my area ran a test with them too. Unfortunately, they were discontinued. I'm not privy to the real reasons, but I suspect that there was a lot of theft. The store had to trust that you had actually scanned all the items in your cart. The other problem from my perspective was that the little kiosks that let you price produce (they gave you a barcoded sticker to scan) kept breaking.

Re:I've used them (1)

corbettw (214229) | more than 2 years ago | (#36173538)

Wouldn't weight sensors in the cart handle the problem of people not scanning items? The sensor detects a change in weight, yet there's no corresponding scanned item, so a servo is activated which locks the wheels until you scan the item in question. Doesn't seem that difficult to do.

Re:I've used them (1)

cpu6502 (1960974) | more than 2 years ago | (#36172188)

Yeah but what is there to prevent shoplifting? Those automated checkouts are fairly easy to "trick" and get 1 or 2 free products.

Example: About two months ago, a scanner subtracted an item after it had already rolled to the end of the belt. I could have bagged it easily w/o anyone noticing. With this "automated cart" I imagine it would be even easier.

Re:I've used them (2)

TeethWhitener (1625259) | more than 2 years ago | (#36172602)

Random audits at checkout. About every 10th time or so that I used the U-Scan at my local Stop & Shop, I was randomly selected to have 5 random items in my cart checked out by a clerk to make sure that I had scanned them. Takes about 30 seconds total, and not having to wait in line at checkout easily saved me at least 20 minutes at the grocery store per visit.

Nothing new (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36171962)

We've had these for years in the UK

20th century device (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36171964)

New? Safeway was doing this way back in 1997 in the UK...

Re:20th century device (1)

makomk (752139) | more than 2 years ago | (#36172278)

Yeah, the Safeway self-scan system apparently even had random audits where every few visits it sent you to a till to have your items scanned again in order to stop theft. (If you were out by too much, it increased the frequency of the audits.) Don't think it had any kind of targeted coupons feature, though, and I'm not sure it was wireless.

Mixed bag (2)

mr1911 (1942298) | more than 2 years ago | (#36171970)

I'm all for spending less time in the store, especially in a checkout line. I do not welcome stores further tracking my buying habits by requiring an app that ties my shopping list to a loyalty card and my debit card.

They already know I buy a lot of tinfoil. They still do not know I make hats out of it. Dammit, I just told them.

Re:Mixed bag (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 2 years ago | (#36172444)

becasue if the know your buying habits they will....? what exactly?

Re:Mixed bag (4, Informative)

icebraining (1313345) | more than 2 years ago | (#36172590)

"The real danger is the gradual erosion of individual liberties through the automation, integration, and interconnection of many small, separate record-keeping systems, each of which alone may seem innocuous, even benevolent, and wholly justifiable."

          â" U.S. Privacy Protection Study Commission, 1977

Really like these devices (1)

deacent (32502) | more than 2 years ago | (#36171990)

Been using this in our local Stop & Shop for the last year and it really does make the trip easier. You're allowed to use the express lane no matter how much you're buying if you use the hand-held scanner. The only pain is occassionally they do a random audit which requires a cashier to come over and scan 7 random items in your bags. The cool part is you can bag as you add to your cart and keep track of how much you're spending.

Re:Really like these devices (1)

LunaticTippy (872397) | more than 2 years ago | (#36172090)

I like the idea. How does your store handle produce and bulk items? I typically buy a lot of items that are priced by weight. I suppose there could be networked scales in the produce section.

Re:Really like these devices (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36172184)

The produce section has scales. You key in the code (from a sticker on the item) and the scale prints out a barcode. The scanner reads the barcode. I haven't done bulk items.

Re:Really like these devices (1)

coldfarnorth (799174) | more than 2 years ago | (#36172204)

A local store that was running a test project using these things had kiosks with a scale and a printer. You put the item on it and touched the picture of the item you were buying (or entered the PLU code) and it printed a barcode that you could scan.

Re:Really like these devices (1)

ClintJCL (264898) | more than 2 years ago | (#36173634)

That's very interesting. Not sure how I feel about that. When the cashier slowly figures it out, I can talk to my wife during that time so it's not as much of a total waste. Hmm..... Thanks for the info!

Re:Really like these devices (1)

ClintJCL (264898) | more than 2 years ago | (#36172126)

and how do you do produce where you weigh it? Yeah, i put mine down on a shelf within 5 minutes of picking it up and never used it again. This is why i usually get groceries delivered..

America (1)

Bergs007 (1797486) | more than 2 years ago | (#36171998)

Brittney Watters, who had arrived at the store at 3 a.m. and had two GPS devices and several toys in her cart, appreciated the speed. "It works well," she said. But there can be hiccups: The scanning gun sometimes stopped scanning, slowing the process down.

America: We can't buy shit fast enough!

Re:America (2)

geekoid (135745) | more than 2 years ago | (#36172468)

The faster I buy my shit at the store, the faster I am home with my family enjoying our shit.

Free time. Life is about free time.

Won't work (1)

DogDude (805747) | more than 2 years ago | (#36172014)

The amount that's going to be stolen from any store that uses this is going to be prohibitive. Any store that is going to use a system like this will have to greatly increase price to offset the theft. It's much cheaper to use even well-paid cashiers to check people out.

Re:Won't work (1)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 2 years ago | (#36172124)

Yeah. I've heard of a similar, albeit more primitive, concept called "self-checkout lane" - that never took off, either.

You might as well dream of communism. ~

Re:Won't work (1)

mooingyak (720677) | more than 2 years ago | (#36172348)

Yeah. I've heard of a similar, albeit more primitive, concept called "self-checkout lane" - that never took off, either.

I'm assuming that was sarcastic. If not, the rest of this doesn't make as much sense.

Self checkout lanes still typically have a person at the end monitoring a few lanes, and some scales you have to put everything on after you scan it.

As I understand, these still require a random audit, which isn't too hard to defeat still. For one, it's unlikely to require audits close together, so just keep an eye on things and then jump on the line that just had an audit. Alternately you can bury the thing you want to steal underneath a bunch of other stuff in the cart. Avoid a line that has the rare diligent auditor. Lastly if you get caught just watch the process and as they go to scan a stolen item say something like "Wait, that's not supposed to be in there. I thought I put that back on the shelf."

OTOH, that doesn't make this a show stopper. With higher custom satisfaction (which hopefully translates to a higher repeat sale rate) and reduced total cashier payroll this can still work to a net profit if the additional shrink isn't too severe.

Re:Won't work (4, Insightful)

0123456 (636235) | more than 2 years ago | (#36172388)

Self checkout lanes still typically have a person at the end monitoring a few lanes, and some scales you have to put everything on after you scan it.

They have to have people there because the machines are so incredibly unreliable. 'Put the item in the bag'.. 'I already put the item in the bag you moron'... 'Put the item in the bag'... takes item out of bag.. 'Return the item to the bag'... puts it back in the bag... 'Please wait for an assistant'.

Most times I could get through the checkout faster if they just had a human doing it for me.

Re:Won't work (2)

An Anonymous Coward (236011) | more than 2 years ago | (#36173400)

Yeah. I've heard of a similar, albeit more primitive, concept called "self-checkout lane" - that never took off, either.

I'm assuming that was sarcastic. If not, the rest of this doesn't make as much sense.

Self checkout lanes still typically have a person at the end monitoring a few lanes, and some scales you have to put everything on after you scan it.

As I understand, these still require a random audit, which isn't too hard to defeat still. For one, it's unlikely to require audits close together, so just keep an eye on things and then jump on the line that just had an audit.

Assuming the audit system is actually random, there's no way you can guarantee that two audits won't come up back-to-back either. Are you really willing to take that chance?

Alternately you can bury the thing you want to steal underneath a bunch of other stuff in the cart.

Now you're assuming they haven't been trained to pull items from random depths in the cart, as much of a pain as that might sometimes be.

Avoid a line that has the rare diligent auditor.

Self-checkout lanes where I live tend to be the cashiers that are more observant and reliable than the average cashier. I'd assume with a system like this, they'd tend to be even more so.

Lastly if you get caught just watch the process and as they go to scan a stolen item say something like "Wait, that's not supposed to be in there. I thought I put that back on the shelf."

Yeah, I'm sure he's heard that one before too. The guys manning these stations aren't likely to be that naive.

OTOH, that doesn't make this a show stopper. With higher custom satisfaction (which hopefully translates to a higher repeat sale rate) and reduced total cashier payroll this can still work to a net profit if the additional shrink isn't too severe.

People actually determined to shoplift are still more likely to just stuff the item in their jacket, where the auditor is unlikely to check anyway.

Re:Won't work (1)

peragrin (659227) | more than 2 years ago | (#36172356)

actually the self checkout lanes are often empty, as most people don't like them.

I know I always go for a cashier over the self checkout lane, I can't tell you how much I have accidently stolen because the scanner didn't work, or only caught one of the two items of the same kind I was buying. Not to mention they are actually slower than a cashier. the scanner is less sensitive, and you have to wade through the menus for payment, taking twice the time a cashier could do the same thing.

Re:Won't work (1)

0123456 (636235) | more than 2 years ago | (#36172498)

Not to mention they are actually slower than a cashier. the scanner is less sensitive, and you have to wade through the menus for payment, taking twice the time a cashier could do the same thing.

Oh yeah, if you're buying fifteen types of fresh food, you're probably fscked. Someone who does checkout all day probably knows the code for the most common items whereas the rest of us are stuck with hunting through menus trying to figure out what we're actually holding in our hands and which of the icons is actually the correct one ('Is this bunch of tomatoes, large, or bunch of tomatoes, kind of medium sized?')
.

Re:Won't work (1)

marnues (906739) | more than 2 years ago | (#36172420)

I use a self-checkout lane at my local albertson's and (sometimes sadly) walmart. My preferred stop (the local co-op) does not have these, but then I like talking to the cashiers there. This all in Billings, MT a bastion of old-timey, small-town, luddite nonsense.

Re:Won't work (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36172640)

It's already been in use for years, dumbass.

All's well until . . . . (2)

reboot246 (623534) | more than 2 years ago | (#36172038)

There's always one freaking item that won't scan no matter what you do, and you're left with keying in a number that's a mile long, or you have to call for help. The self-checkout at Wally World moves slower than the other checkout that have live human beings.

Would these scanners be better and more reliable?

Re:All's well until . . . . (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36172098)

I don't use the self checkout at a grocery store for 1 reason:
I don't get a discount for doing what they already pay someone $7+ an hour to do.

Re:All's well until . . . . (2)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | more than 2 years ago | (#36172552)

I don't get a discount for doing what they already pay someone $7+ an hour to do.

Yes you do. The store saves money, and retailing groceries is a very competitive business, so much of those savings go toward lower prices.

Re:All's well until . . . . (1)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 2 years ago | (#36172152)

The advantage here is that you're scanning right at the shelf. So if the item has unreadable barcode, you just put it back on the shelf and take another one.

Re:All's well until . . . . (1)

makomk (752139) | more than 2 years ago | (#36172310)

Unless that particular thing refuses to scan no matter which of them you pick off the shelf. I think that does happen sometimes already - the barcode on one item is badly positioned, or badly sized, or has been printed in a bad choice of colour and it consistently won't scan.

Re:All's well until . . . . (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 2 years ago | (#36172482)

OK, you win. Lets not adopt technology because occasional it won't have maximum efficiency.

Re:All's well until . . . . (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36172600)

OK, you win. Lets not adopt technology because occasional it won't have maximum efficiency.

No, lets not leave customers to fend for themselves so we can create even more unemployment by cutting the staff who's job it is to deal with inevitable glitches.

Re:All's well until . . . . (1)

crossmr (957846) | more than 2 years ago | (#36172720)

The problem is is that if it's not as convenient as what we have now..why use it?
The cashier can override and just punch in the price if they need to.

Re:All's well until . . . . (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36173098)

Like holding up a line while the cashier calls the stock boy to go get the price of the item. Instead you flag them down in the isle or just enter the price by hand if the code isn't in the database. One person does this and I would expect the database gets updated with the price and gets someone in the back office to correct it. Problem fixed for all that follow.

Re:All's well until . . . . (1)

corbettw (214229) | more than 2 years ago | (#36173564)

Then either pick a competing product, or scan the bar code on the front of the shelf. Doesn't seem that difficult either way.

Re:All's well until . . . . (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36172986)

My major issue with self checkouts is they treat you like an idiot and thereby slow down the process.

You have an automated voice telling you what to do, putting on a long-winded discussion about depositing cash or scanning items. Somehow we all manage to shop on the Internet for goods and services without a recorded voice holding our hand, telling us what buttons we should press. Why should self-checkout be any different?

Re:All's well until . . . . (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36173142)

In the UK - Sainsburys and Morrisons, The self-Checkouts totally suck. One wrong move and the untrusting bastard machine locks up and you have to wait for the supervisor, Also the checkout size is a quarter of the space and you have fuck-all room to manoeuvre, Try and put two small items in bag at once - machine locks up, attendant needed (it weighs every last gram and it gets it wrong regularly). I rarely use the self-service checkout because it's been made a complete pain in the arse and is slower than normal checkout. Come on UK supermarkets, sort it out, the self-service checkouts are complete shit.

Re:All's well until . . . . (1)

jfengel (409917) | more than 2 years ago | (#36173848)

They may not be better or more reliable, but they're cheaper. That means that you're not standing in line behind everybody else with their one item that doesn't scan. That could be a huge time savings. Checking out should be an "embarrassingly parallel" problem.

as long as is works better then self-checkouts (1)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | more than 2 years ago | (#36172044)

as long as is works better then self-checkouts also what happens if the list gets messed up while you are shopping?
Is there a do over?
a way to do a full reset?
How easy will it be to cheat the system?

Sounds a bit complicated... (1)

CannonballHead (842625) | more than 2 years ago | (#36172066)

they simply select "Remove" from the menu option, scan the item again, and it is removed from the cart. The total is updated.

Simply? It's a lot easier to just put it back on the shelf...

I like cool gadgets... but when it takes longer ans is more finicky than the "old" way, I dunno. I guess it depends on the customer. I'd probably try it just for fun, but it seems like this is kinda destined for the same problem as self-checkout stands; replaces employees but break down a lot and you end up having to wait a while, since there's only one employee "manning" all four stations...

They had this for years at ICA Maxi in Sweden (1)

hpj (26910) | more than 2 years ago | (#36172094)

Don't live there anymore but I know I saw this at least 2 or 3 years ago when I was visiting then.

It always struck me as really clever and very convenient from the shopping perspective.

We have these here (1)

Kindgott (165758) | more than 2 years ago | (#36172108)

I've never used 'em. I don't use the self checkout unless I'm only getting a couple items, either, and god help you if you want to get beer. Honestly, the checkout lines are never a problem at our Stop and Shop so there's no real added convenience to using it for me.

Been around for ages in the UK (4, Informative)

aembleton (324527) | more than 2 years ago | (#36172136)

I first used these in the UK in Safeway back in the late 90s. Now that they've been takenover by Morrisons I don't think they have them anymore.

Waitrose still have them though. You just swipe your credit card and it tells you which handset to pick up, and then you do your shopping. Article from 1997: http://www.thegrocer.co.uk/articles.aspx?page=articles&ID=33232 [thegrocer.co.uk]

Is this really a new thing in the US?

Re:Been around for ages in the UK (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36172742)

They where made here. Symbol made systems like that a decade ago. It did not sell well. I never used it myself.
Motorola bought Symbol so I guess they are rehashing it.

Sweden, too (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36173288)

Same for Sweden. I don't exactly know how long they've been around here, but it's at least some years (read: since I've moved there).

This isn't about customer experience (2)

ClintJCL (264898) | more than 2 years ago | (#36172140)

Like self check-out, this is about increasing profits by replacing human employees with machines.

First section in the store is produce. "How do you weigh this?" "I don't know." Left the device on a shelf... Back to Peapod delivery for me.

Re:This isn't about customer experience (1)

cos(0) (455098) | more than 2 years ago | (#36172214)

replacing human employees with machines.

You make this sound like it's a bad thing.

Re:This isn't about customer experience (1)

ClintJCL (264898) | more than 2 years ago | (#36172308)

I just doubt the extra profits would be passed on to me.

Also, I'm not willing to do self-checkout anywhere where it is offered. In fact - it's such bullshit in person that i always order mine online. I can't be trifled with running through all their annoying hoops. I thought self-checkout was bad enough, but this is even worse.

Re:This isn't about customer experience (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 2 years ago | (#36172622)

Of course they will, as other stores use them.

Yes, we Get it. Self check out is too fucking complex for you to do. I'm sure there will always be a service for the mentally handicapped, so you do not need to keep posting how check out is too difficult for you to do without someone holding your hand.

Re:This isn't about customer experience (1)

ClintJCL (264898) | more than 2 years ago | (#36172662)

Ah yes, another geek who insults someone who has a different opinion as them. That's why your crowd is renowned for its popularity.

Re:This isn't about customer experience (1)

Buelldozer (713671) | more than 2 years ago | (#36173184)

He's replying to an aristocrat who can't be bothered to obtain their own FOOD.

If the friendly guy bringing your groceries doesn't show up for long enough you'll die.

That's the epitome of a lazy first worlder. When even the things necessary for life are too irritating for you to manage yourself so you outsource them.

Re:This isn't about customer experience (1)

ClintJCL (264898) | more than 2 years ago | (#36173250)

Let's see - grocery shopping as a 2 person job still takes me and my wife 2-3 hours. Delivery is $10 and for every $100 spent you get $0.10/G off your next gas purchase, so if we get $500 groceries in one order, we can fill both our cars up for $3.50/G instead of $4G. Is your money really that important to you?

Nevermind that this is essentially a personal attack from you because someone doesn't do things your way. Classy.

Re:This isn't about customer experience (1)

damiangerous (218679) | more than 2 years ago | (#36172684)

So you choose to get the lowest quality produce at incredibly high prices because the concept of a scale didn't occur to you?

Re:This isn't about customer experience (1)

ClintJCL (264898) | more than 2 years ago | (#36172712)

The quality of my produce is quite good, and I've comp'ed the prices before. Lemme know when you are capable of answering my original question - how do these things work with produce? There's not even a bar code. It often takes the cashier a full minute to figure out how to ring up things like bok choi.

Re:This isn't about customer experience (1)

misexistentialist (1537887) | more than 2 years ago | (#36173210)

You weigh the item and the scale prints out the bar code after you input what you bought. Scanning produce is a weakness of the cashier system, not of self-scanning, since you know what you are buying.

Re:This isn't about customer experience (1)

ClintJCL (264898) | more than 2 years ago | (#36173274)

Thank you for actually answering the question after 5 other people just engaged in personal attacks. Glad to see civility is not completely dead on the internet.

When I tried it out this way, the device offered none of the helpful info that you just offered. I don't remember seeing printers attached to the scales at my local Giant - but maybe I just assumed the scales were as they always were and didn't look hard enough.

Still though - while quantitatively superior, I may qualitatively prefer to flirt with my wife for the 1 minute the cashier takes to do something I could do in 20 seconds. I dunno. I like being served. I worked in a grocery store in high school so I kinda hate doing that stuff myself nowadays :)

Re:This isn't about customer experience (1)

damiangerous (218679) | more than 2 years ago | (#36173836)

I did answer your question. You use a scale. They are placed obviously around the produce section with large signs indicating they are for use with the self scanner.

Re:This isn't about customer experience (1)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | more than 2 years ago | (#36172962)

That is related to part of the reason I rarely use self checkout even when I am only buying one or two items. When the two major grocery store chains near me introduced self checkout, they kept making an announcement over the instore PA something like this, "Now for your convenience, we have self checkout." Well, I knew full well that they did not institute self checkout for the shoppers' convenience, they introduced self checkout to save money on cashiers. I would not mind that, but I did mind them repeatedly lying to me every time I went into the store.

"New" device?! (1)

megla (859600) | more than 2 years ago | (#36172224)

Safeway trialled this in the UK 15 years ago in the mid 90s at several of their largest supermarkets including the one I shopped at. The device itself was a bit more crude (basically a barcode scanner with a memory and 16x2 LCD screen) but the concept was identical. It was also a massive failure, because people would do everything they could to steal things up to and including stealing the scanners. Then, because of the increased shrinkage, the chances of being forced to 'randomly' go back through the normal checkout anyway in order to double check your scanning shot right up, and because of that ("What's the point if I'm just going to have to go through the checkout anyway?") people stopped using them and they were gone in under a year.

It sounds like a nice idea but relies on honesty. You'd be surprised how many petty thieves there are when people think they can get away with it.

works great on packaged food... (1)

jfruhlinger (470035) | more than 2 years ago | (#36172250)

...not so well on veggies or other things that don't have barcodes.

Re:works great on packaged food... (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 2 years ago | (#36173858)

...not so well on veggies or other things that don't have barcodes.

Not to worry. Monsanto is already working on this.

Been there. Done that. (1)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 2 years ago | (#36172260)

It's been done already. This has already been tried with larger "gun" style laser scanners. Apparently it didn't catch on.

Not sure this will fare any better.

This sort of thing seems to go over a lot like 3-D movies.

what about bulk items? (1)

serbanp (139486) | more than 2 years ago | (#36172286)

Do they have a built-in scale?

Anyway, shoplifting is going to be a big issue. Maybe a scale will help fixing this problem; the ones used in the bagging section of the self-check-out area are incredibly sensitive and the system continuously matches the estimated weight of the scanned object with the bag's weight increase. If you don't have that built in the shopping cart, the system has no way to know what exactly is in the cart.

You just blew BUSH the Elder's mind! (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36172288)

He was freaked out enough by the trained person doing it, now EVERYBODY can? Where will he get a personal shopper that skilled???

I won't do this (1)

kimvette (919543) | more than 2 years ago | (#36172330)

I won't use this for two reasons:

1. It costs Americans jobs.

2. They're not going to pay me to do their work, nor are they going to discount if I use this, or self-checkout, so I've only used self checkout a handful of times.

As time goes on vendors cut services while maintaining high prices. I'll be damned if I'm going to be an enabler encouraging this trend.

Re:I won't do this (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 2 years ago | (#36172644)

OMG, it's costs jobs. Yeah, so do cars, and buses, and whatever YOU do for a living.

Less costs to the company always reduces prices over all.

Hey, you want to waste your time waiting in line, fine., But don't make shit up to excuse your Luddite behavior.

Re:I won't do this (1)

misexistentialist (1537887) | more than 2 years ago | (#36173078)

The incentive for you to use the scanners is a more accurate checkout, not having to waste months of your life being corralled like an animal, and "instant coupons" that might save you money. It's pretty ridiculous having millions of people waving stuff in front of scanners all day for their occupation, but if you really want to save jobs cross out the bar-codes so that the prices have to be entered manually.

Useful for when stores open by themselves... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36172474)

We've had this system for a year or two now in New Zealand. It seems quite popular.

One of the large supermarkets in Hamilton, New Zealand, automatically opened on Good Friday this year with no staff onsite. Half the people who decided to do some shopping in the unmanned store paid using the automated facilities.

http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/crime/4922840/Pak-n-Scram-tests-morality

Re:Useful for when stores open by themselves... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36172664)

I know somebody is going to say this wouldn't work in the US but it did, by accident. [news10.net]

Smartphone Battery Life (1)

Zan Lynx (87672) | more than 2 years ago | (#36172496)

Yeah, I can just see using my smartphone to scan items as I shop.

So, the phone is running the scan application, keeping the screen and camera live so that it is easy to use. And using CPU to try to locate barcodes in the camera image.

Then, after about 45 minutes of grocery shopping after a full day at work my phone shuts down.

Right. That's going to work really well.

Cool beans (1)

rsilvergun (571051) | more than 2 years ago | (#36172520)

so all that increased productivity will be passed on to the working class, right?

Seriously though, anyone know what we're going to do with all these people we don't need any more. I'll trot out my favorite example, the sleeping bag factory that cranks out 2 MILLION bags/year with a total staff of 500 people (including marketing, sales staff, ceo, cfo, IT support, EVERYONE). So far the only viable option I've heard is a) socialism and b) die in a gutter. There's just not enough work for all these people. The saying goes, the world needs ditch diggers too, but you know what... it doesn't.

Re:Cool beans (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36172708)

So far the only viable option I've heard is a) socialism and b) die in a gutter. There's just not enough work for all these people. The saying goes, the world needs ditch diggers too, but you know what... it doesn't.

A world that doesn't need ditch diggers will probably still need gutter cleaners, per your preceding observation.

Re:Cool beans (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36172864)

Make less people.

Happy user for over a year (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36172530)

People shouting that it's not going to work.. think again.
At the AH XL store the lines are usually quite long and slow.
For me it's a great time and nuisance saver.
No more waiting, and you have your groceries all packed up by the time you check-out/pay.
(sometime all 30 registers are busy)
Never had problems with it so far.

not so fast (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36172682)

.........."As more customers load their smartphones with debit, credit and loyalty card information,...."

Over you dead business model method and procedures patent.

Unless you have been living under a rock this year with PSN and other hacks, why would you ever consider this.

Also, is more of business scamming my nickle instead of getting it done their self.
Like the FemtoCell, use my internet *for free* instead of fixing you crappy cell coverage.......nope.

Use a smartphone? (1)

sehlat (180760) | more than 2 years ago | (#36172756)

To quote from the posting: As more customers load their smartphones with debit, credit and loyalty card information, more stores will adopt streamlined checkout technology.

Does anybody else wonder how all that wonderful identity thief fodder will be protected, either from phone theft or loss, or police sucking all the data out of the phone just for the hell of it?

Haven't these been around since forever? (n/t) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36172786)

n/t

Bad Economy (1)

Stregano (1285764) | more than 2 years ago | (#36172858)

I support the jobs of people there and would rather wait to ensure they have a job, then to use some type of system so that they are not needed

The Jetsons problem is coming to you (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36173110)

The Jetsons had most people doing nothing jobs like turning on the computer and chatting with it all day or playing office politics while the machines did all the work. They had to CREATE jobs just for the sake of jobs.

The more technology eliminates jobs and as populations RISE this will lead to greater unemployment and continual career shifting as more jobs die off. Populations continue to rise and the amount of CRAP people don't need will have to increase in order to keep people employed running the machines that make the stuff we consume. We must keep the continual growth rate... everything is based upon it.

How to prevent theft (1)

JackCroww (733340) | more than 2 years ago | (#36172940)

A lot of comments talk about prohibiting theft. Why not have the carts tagged via RFID and have floor scales at the checkout line and subtract that particular cart's weight subtracted from what the total weight of the loaded cart and compare it to the weight of the scanned items? If the delta is off by x percent (and that x percent can be varied based on the average weight per item), it triggers a human audit of the cart.

Wasting time in small chunks (1)

iliketrash (624051) | more than 2 years ago | (#36173180)

"And while shoppers like it because it helps avoid an interminable wait at the cashier...."

Shoppers will spend more time scanning their items than they would waiting at the cashier. It will only seem like they are saving time because the psychological perception of small amounts of time is different than that of one large chunk of time. In the meantime, the store saves money by getting the shopper to do their work for free.

I actually avoid stores that routinely make you wait at the cashier (Fry's in my town in Arizona) versus those that don't (Safeway).

Not sure what's so new here... (2)

.nuno (153038) | more than 2 years ago | (#36173218)

While I was living in Brussels, Belgium (circa 99) I was already using a similar device at the local AD Delhaize supermarket... Granted, it was probably bulkier back in those days, but the same principle applied.

Grocery shopping as FPS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36173842)

Unfortunately the scanners used in the Giant grocery stores keep making electronic beeps, boops, and chimes at apparently random times to alert you to special offers. I would rather not sound like a four year old with a portable game console when I'm shopping for food.

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