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Wireless Shopping Carts Run Windows CE

Zonk posted more than 9 years ago | from the carts-go-mad,-wreck-local-shopping-center dept.

Wireless Networking 274

An anonymous reader writes "Fujitsu has introduced a self-service retail scanner that could make long checkout lines a relic of the past. The U-Scan Shopper is a ruggedized XScale-based wireless computer with an integral bar code scanner, running Windows CE 4.2, and mounted on a shopping cart. The company even suggests that customers might upload a shopping list to the store's website before leaving home, and then download the list to the shopping cart upon arriving at the store."

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274 comments

Vulnerability in Fujitsu Wireless Shopping Cart (2, Interesting)

IO ERROR (128968) | more than 9 years ago | (#11719505)

From the article:

Self-scanning in aisle -- costumers can scan and bag items while shopping to get a running basket total and eliminate waiting time at checkout

This sounds like a recipe for shoplifting to me.

Self scanning is a crock (1)

Peter Cooper (660482) | more than 9 years ago | (#11719524)

Most of the stores I've been in with these 'self scan' systems are a nightmare. I swear, they check at least quarter of the people who use the scanning system, and if you happen not to be white, male, and dressed in business attire, well your chances of getting checked out just shot up. When you have to get all your groceries checked out even 1 in 10 times, it defeats the convenience of self scanning.

Re:Self scanning is a crock (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11719671)

Hmm; I don't remember signing away any rights when I used the self-checkout system.

If they think I've stolen something they are welcome to accuse me of shoplifting or go away.

I would probably even give them a third option; buy the bags back by refunding my CC.

Re:Self scanning is a crock (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11719762)

well i dunno about the double-checking based on race or appearance.. self-scanning was introduced at h-e-b grocery stores in the san antonio/austin market, and the white folk in business suits are WAY outnumbered in south texas.. so they'd be checking 9 of every 10 that use self-scanners there...

for a store's regular customers, it can be a time saver, especially during busy store hours...

would you rather have those pesky radio tags on everything and they just charge your credit card when you roll the cart out the door?

Re:Self scanning is a crock (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11719848)

if you happen not to be white, male, and dressed in business attire, well your chances of getting checked out just shot up

Do you have any data to support that, or are you just being prejudiced?

Re:Vulnerability in Fujitsu Wireless Shopping Cart (2, Insightful)

Gunsmithy (554829) | more than 9 years ago | (#11719530)

It does, doesn't it? Maybe they'd have a weighing system in that to combat it: i.e. you put a pound of dutch loaf in the cart. That detects a pound, you scan it, and that pound is now accounted for. Dock with a POS terminal that checks your weight after scanning vs. weight when passing through, do a checksum...and if everything meets a standard deviation or two, it goes through. 'course, that's just my guess.

Re:Vulnerability in Fujitsu Wireless Shopping Cart (1)

MBCook (132727) | more than 9 years ago | (#11719586)

That's why you need RFID.

With an RFID chip in each item, you just pass the basket under a scanner, and your total would show up. No hiding items at all (I agree that absue would be too easy with the system in the article). You pay and walk out the door.

The other problem with the system is bagging. When do things get bagged? Do you just dump everything lose in the back of your car, or do you bag as you shop?

Re:Vulnerability in Fujitsu Wireless Shopping Cart (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11719652)

RFID on food would add a gazillion different useful conveniences. The problem is, food has the thinnest profit margins of any industry. The tags will need to be incredibly cheap. 1/20th of a penny could be a make-or-break difference.

Re:Vulnerability in Fujitsu Wireless Shopping Cart (1)

seanismdotcom (746929) | more than 9 years ago | (#11719749)

I really don't think shoplifting is a problem. It comes down to peoples morals. There is nothing stopping you from walking out of a food store with an item besides your concious and possibly an associate which is rare at large grocery store.

Or having those items under your shopping cart that you tell the checker about even though you could've gotten away with 'stealing' it.

Re:Vulnerability in Fujitsu Wireless Shopping Cart (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11719886)

Shoplifting will happen regardless. Albertson's stores in my area have been doing the same thing, but with handheld devices instead of something integrated into the cart. They also have self checkout, and I once scanned all my groceries at the self checkout machine, then just walked by the employee who oversees them and left without paying. When I got home I realized I didn't have a receipt, which led me to realize that I hadn't payed, so I went back to scan them all again and pay.

So you may have a point. I never accidently stole $50 worth of groceries with a human checker.

Um... so? (4, Informative)

PedanticSpellingTrol (746300) | more than 9 years ago | (#11719516)

All the grocery stores here in Columbia, SC have had systems like this for at least a year and a half... and being south carolina, surely we're well behind the curve.

Re:Um... so? (2, Funny)

slagdogg (549983) | more than 9 years ago | (#11719649)

Really? No such luck in Seattle, WA ... or Redmond, WA for that matter :)

We do have valet parking at one grocery store though ... something tells me SC does *not* have that.

Re:Um... so? (1)

PedanticSpellingTrol (746300) | more than 9 years ago | (#11719713)

hmm... I left town just before the Publix opened up in the old confederate printing press downtown, and the parking situation aroud there can only be described as dire... I wouldn't bee too suprised if they did. But as I said, no firsthand experience, this is just speculation.

Also, I should've RTFA-title... I was thinking about the self-checkout stations near the front of the store, not a scan-as-you-go cart.

The only downside is... (4, Funny)

ravenspear (756059) | more than 9 years ago | (#11719518)

When a buffer overflow occurs a trap door on the underside of the cart is triggered and all your groceries spill out onto the floor.

Re:The only downside is... (4, Funny)

Quantum Fizz (860218) | more than 9 years ago | (#11719534)

Or it would give a new take on those Total cereal commercials.

You'll have to eat 12093749283745 bowls of Raisin Bran to get all the nutrition of one bowl of Total.

Re:The only downside is... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11719675)

Unrelated to the idea of a crashing shopping cart, but I'm reminded of a little stunt many university friends and I pulled at one of our local supermarkets, Coles.

about a year ago I went through the checkouts and when a pack of jellybeans was scanned, the register bluescreened. I sniggered a little, but hey - I'm accepting - sometimes these things crash. It took the register guy a few minutes to get the attention of a supervisor ("It's gone blue again!") to reset the register, call up the previous parts of my shopping, and get things going again.

Supervisor re-scanned the jellybeans, and it bluescreened again. Ha!. Next time around he just entered a generic confectionary code and I went on my way. That was kinda cool, and getting back to dorms we had a laugh about it, and decided to all head down at some random busy time and try the same again.

It was cool! eight of us all went through different registers at about the same time, all bluescreening one after another with packets of Candy Lane Jellybeans.

DDoSing a supermarket, it was cool!

Re:The only downside is... (1)

Delta2.0 (846278) | more than 9 years ago | (#11719791)

Or you just end up paying a few thousand to some swis account with your credit card

Self-checkouts are for retards. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11719863)

The thing I hate about self-checkout systems is that you have to scan the item, then put it down so that it doesn't wiggle, or it'll tell you to remove the extra item(s) because the wiggling item triggered the weight sensor, and it suspects some thievery. They program the weight of every product into the scanner. If you don't put it down, it doesn't let you scan the next item. So never mind that you're honest. Or that the attendant is watching your every move. Or that you're being videotaped. We still want you to act like a retard, and c a r e f u l l y follow every direction like a retard. If you dilly-dally too long, then the thing beeps for the attendant. So what do you really save by doing the self checkout? Not a lot. You can't scan items nearly as fast as the regular checkout... so you end up spending the time you COULD have saved trying to scan your items so FUCKING METICULOUSLY that you don't get FLAGGED TO HAVE THE FUCKING ATTENDANDT come over and see what's going on!

It's so fucking annoying. If they made a system with a regular scanner, a regular conveyor belt, and you could scan items as fast as the checkout clerks, they'd have MORE PEOPLE USING TEH SELF CHECKOUT!

Self-checkout carts will only work when they have RFID sensors in every product, and that's not happening for awhile.

Can I get my items for free... (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11719519)

Can I get my items for free if there's a BSOD? :D

Express Lane - 15 Items Only (4, Funny)

hndrcks (39873) | more than 9 years ago | (#11719521)

Absolutely no Beowulf Clusters.

Re:Express Lane - 15 Items Only (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11719545)

fuck off. not funny. go kill yourself.

Re:Express Lane - 15 Items Only (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11719840)

fuck off. not a good troll. go kill yourself.

Re:Express Lane - 15 Items Only (0, Redundant)

game kid (805301) | more than 9 years ago | (#11719561)

Imagine a Beowulf Cluster of those carts--oh wait, they're Windows CE. At least PocketPC or XP embedded, if it must be Windows, but please, we've had teh CE for quite a while, there's got to be something above that for portables and contraptions like these by now...right?

Re:Express Lane - 15 Items Only (1)

Koiu Lpoi (632570) | more than 9 years ago | (#11719773)

Yeah, they tried that in Soviet Russia, lines were terrible. Or some amuzing juxtaposition of the aformentioned situation ;).

Stupid (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11719531)

beowolf clusters
does it run linux
microsoft sucks
i should go kill myself,
do the world a favour.

What happens when people dont scan? (1)

PROTEIN_MAN (803666) | more than 9 years ago | (#11719533)

What stops people not scanning theri groceries? I worked in retail for 6 years, this system is begging to be abused! Customers are scum, they do everything wrong and steal when they can!

Good idea but (3, Interesting)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 9 years ago | (#11719539)

When are they actually going to come up with something that will save you money at the grocery store. Maybe something like fridges that are closed, so they don't have to cool the entire store. Even the beer stores in Ontario have gone this way, cooling the entire store. Result. Warmer, more expensive beer.

Re:Good idea but (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11719631)

Actually open freezers are surprisingly efficient. Hot air rises. The cold freezer air mostly stays put.

Re:Good idea but (4, Insightful)

jm92956n (758515) | more than 9 years ago | (#11719644)

When are they actually going to come up with something that will save you money at the grocery store.

It's not about saving you money, it's about saving them money.

I work part-time at a grocery store (and 9 credits short of a masters', too), and I know how unreliable cashiers are. They call out sick. A lot. Or they simply don't show up. And then there's the whole thing about having to provide benefits--these are all expenses, and the food industry (outside of 5 star restaurants) is notoriously low margin. They have to save money where they can.

To further compound the situation, the grocery industry is facing increased competition from WalMart, everyone's "favorite" discount store. I'm in an area that's, for now at least, immune to behometh, but other areas aren't.

Perhaps you remember the prolonged grocery store workers' strike that occurred last year in California? It was because they simply can't afford to have that many workers on the books. The UPC revolutionized the industry and enormously increased the efficiency of the average cashier. Here's a technology that'll produce even more savings (for the store, of course). Even if a few less-than desirable people use it as an opportunity to walk out of the store with unpaid food, they'll still probably make out in the end.

Oh, and the reason for the open coolers? The stores have to be air-conditioned anyway (heat does evil things to food), so it doesn't make much sense to put doors on any of the cases except the frozen products, especially when lazy people object to having to put forth the effort required to continuously open doors.

So now cities can Gripe about... (5, Funny)

CygnusXII (324675) | more than 9 years ago | (#11719548)

So now Cities that have fines for shopping cart being off the premises, can fine a business for Toxic Materials being improperly stored, retained or looked after. On the other hand, the homeless can really look forward to retasking the devices and get internet access.

No surprise. (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11719549)

The shopping carts are always crashing into cars in shopping mall parking lots.

Re:No surprise. (1)

mjh49746 (807327) | more than 9 years ago | (#11719923)

That's when you get a cheap old beatermobile and ram into some shopping carts to get great justice. I suppose you could try it with an uber-expensive SUV, but dents, scratches, and cracked plastic grilles cost a lot more to repair than entire beatermobiles these days. Why pay more? Besides, they're also great for killing orange barrels throughout the nine month road construction season. It's a great Michigan pastime! ;-)

My dream cart: (1)

Gunsmithy (554829) | more than 9 years ago | (#11719551)

Ideally, this system would also be mixed with a motor drive for the wheels so that I can be propulsed directly towards the cheetos and mountain dew.

Re:My dream cart: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11719759)

"Ideally, this system would also be mixed with a motor drive for the wheels so that I can be propulsed directly towards the cheetos and mountain dew."

In some obscure parts of the world...walking is actually fun and considered healthy.

These are going to be stolen, and hacked. (4, Interesting)

Lostie (772712) | more than 9 years ago | (#11719554)

Yup, if I saw one at my local supermarket, I'd gladly give up a £1 coin (many UK supermarkets make you put a £1 coin into them as a "deposit") to steal one. For £1, it's a bargain for sure!

Re:These are going to be stolen, and hacked. (1)

ad0gg (594412) | more than 9 years ago | (#11719969)

Shopping cart is worth more. They are worth a couple hundred bucks a piece and people do steal them.

Bad idea (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11719557)

I work at a grocery store and the bags are at the front of the cashier tables (infact I just got home from work). The bags at our store are usually guarded by cashiers, but many bags are still in boxes up at the front open so cashiers and 'bag boys' can conviently refill their racks easily. Many customers already try to steal bags from the front and bag their groceries as they shop and then attempt to leave the store. Its unbelievable how gullable they think we are: "Im sorry Sir, you did not pay for those items, we will have to ask you to either pay for them, or return them". Automated scanner running Windows CE. I can already see technology gurus whipping up a hack to get free food.

Won't someone think of the children. (1, Insightful)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 9 years ago | (#11719559)

I for one welcome the day when every job is replaced by a computer, and we all become people who just program and look after the computers. Seriously, if you implement this, automate McD's with machines, and automate the gas pumps, they'll be no more jobs for high school kids. And with ever increasing tuition costs, nobody will be able to afford college.

Re:Won't someone think of the children. (1)

lfrandom (858433) | more than 9 years ago | (#11719580)

Ehhh, there are plenty of things for high school kids to do besides working at grocery stores and McD's, take hard manual labor for example.

Re:Won't someone think of the children. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11719603)

take hard manual labor for example

And prositution, so be thankful!

Re:Won't someone think of the children. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11719694)

Indeed. In the US, we're fast approaching a time when the only job for normal folk is bagging groceries and serving food to people who can actually afford such luxuries as a meal. If we eliminate those jobs, what is 70+% of the population going to do to survive?

OT but true.... according to the government (1)

johnpaul191 (240105) | more than 9 years ago | (#11719765)

the state of New Jersey has said more than once that the main reason they will not allow self serve gas pumps is that it will cost people their jobs.
it's also a strong reason many people in the government do not support a flat tax. it will put a TON of people out of work (IRS staff and related support, as well as CPAs etc...).

honestly it's stupid to keep people doing worthless jobs just to keep them employed. you would think somebody can come up with something useful for them to do.

*crash* (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11719567)

windows in the supermarket?
"I'm sorry sir, you have illegaly copied those DRM peas..."

A personal perspective.. (2, Interesting)

NoMercy (105420) | more than 9 years ago | (#11719571)

A local store tiraled self-scaning, and decided to withdraw the service eventually...

people fail to scan things, so you get goods leaving the store unpaid for and coupled to that you don't have people stuck in queues, which although a bane to customers, it's while your stuck in queues that your right next to the magazines, sweets and other goods which they put there to tempt you, so they loose sales of last minute items too.

On the plus side you don't need to employ as many staff on the tills, but there normally minimum wage or just above it, so not a huge saving there concidering the new expense on the gadgets, mantance etc.

In conclusion, were unlikely to see it anywhere big-scale, though walk-though checkouts using RFID might appear, though in the UK we now have almost all the major stores offering online shopping, couple that with the local shops for fruit, vedge and the other things people like to feel before they buy and the supermarket could be comming to an end...

Ok, so flame me but... (1)

WinterSolstice (223271) | more than 9 years ago | (#11719573)

I think this is pretty cool. I would like to see it in action (on a large scale). I know there are some installations of it, but I think it is as good an idea as the ATM.

My only questions:
1) Does it run bluetooth/802.11x or IR to sync with my Pocket PC
2) Does it cost so damn much that the price of food will go way up (again)?

-WS

Re:Ok, so flame me but... (1)

realityfighter (811522) | more than 9 years ago | (#11719869)

They have these at the Albertson's in my home town, and the prices there are quite reasonable. I doubt these systems put much cash strain on a store beyond what you usually need to run one, what with tracking customer purchases and tying it all into inventory and such. I bet it's a steal compared to all those checkers they used to employ. (Seriously, I've been there at times when there was only one checker, and she was overseeing the self-check.)

Dynamic pricing (4, Interesting)

SpaceLifeForm (228190) | more than 9 years ago | (#11719582)

The company even suggests that customers might upload a shopping list to the store's website before leaving home, and then download the list to the shopping cart upon arriving at the store."

Right. Let them know you're coming. They're sure to have a 'special' just for you, their 'select' customer.

Re:Dynamic pricing (1)

Mike Rubits (818811) | more than 9 years ago | (#11719961)

You mean they might offer you savings? Hey, if they want to give me rebates or sales, then I won't complain.

Re:Dynamic pricing (2, Funny)

metoo34 (461414) | more than 9 years ago | (#11719997)

Hmm... As long as they know you're coming, let them get your groceries and have them ready when you get there. Waiting by the curb. I think this [peapod.com] is already being done with robotic "pickers" in more of a warehouse/factory type setting with bins and conveyor belts but they also deliver. Pricey. Maybe a regular 'Kroger' type store could pay the laid off baggers to wear roller blades and do the 'picking'? I'd pay extra if I never had to set foot in the store.

So now I can't even go shopping... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11719587)

without being forced to use a substandard OS produced by an ethically substandard company?

Fsck that!

Re:So now I can't even go shopping... (1)

Koiu Lpoi (632570) | more than 9 years ago | (#11719792)

I did. You really should upgrade to Reiser, the lack of journaling is just killing you.

BSOD (0, Redundant)

MoFoQ (584566) | more than 9 years ago | (#11719620)

"Hmm....let's see...I need some lettuce in aisle 1, can soup in aisle 6, and toilet paper in aisle.....oop...BSOD"

as long as it's not as bad as the BMW 7-series WinCE BSOD horror stories....I guess we can live with it.

Right. And also (1)

Valiss (463641) | more than 9 years ago | (#11719625)

Wasn't self-checkout [geekswithblogs.net], like some chains have, supposed to be super fast and easy? They've been far from that the 3 or 4 times I've tried it.

Next step. (1)

tommyth (848039) | more than 9 years ago | (#11719627)

Let's take it a bit further, how about some type of system where we tell it what we like, and it buys the food for us? Or maybe intigrating it with those scooter carts so we don't have to be given the hard task of walking around the store.

In all seriousness though, many people get confused by the U-Scan checkouts they have now... I can't wait to see my grandmother try to use this proposed system.

Why Not Linux? (2, Interesting)

LighthouseJ (453757) | more than 9 years ago | (#11719634)

Why can't Linux get in on this? It seems like to me that Linux is much smaller and more flexible and secure than Windows to use in embedded devices like this. Why can't they use a free software base to produce something better? That way there's a smaller cost to market these devices to the supermarket chain you are pushing for.

The only downside is that Microsoft already has a framework for this kind of thing because it's in their own financial best interest. For a group to do this in Linux, the only interest would be in furthering Linux's acceptability in everydays lives.

Wal-Mart + Self Checkout (1)

lfrandom (858433) | more than 9 years ago | (#11719639)

So, is it just the Wal-Mart's in Iowa that all already have self-checkout. The way people are talking about them, it seems they are rare.

Re:Wal-Mart + Self Checkout (1)

rock_climbing_guy (630276) | more than 9 years ago | (#11719754)

They have them in their Kunia, HI, and Mililani, HI stores as well. I'm not sure about their Honolulu, HI store, though - I think that it doesn't have them.

Re:Wal-Mart + Self Checkout (1)

pcmanjon (735165) | more than 9 years ago | (#11719826)

I hate the self checkout things. Our family usually gets a entire basket full of grocerys, this takes forever because every 10th item sets off some alarm and then a cashier comes over quickly and asks what we need to scan.

The way they run over it's like we commited some crime or something, and they always ask us what we're trying to scan in an incriminating voice.

Until they can get that shit to stop mis-scanning items as a theft attempt (damn, you just put the barcode accross it from a can of beans and an alarm goes off) then I don't think it's a good idea.

Re:Wal-Mart + Self Checkout (1)

Andrewkov (140579) | more than 9 years ago | (#11719989)

Yeah, I've tried them and found them to be incredibly frustrating to use. And plus since I'm a paying customer, the least the store can do is bag my groceries for me! ;-)

Re:Wal-Mart + Self Checkout (1)

realityfighter (811522) | more than 9 years ago | (#11719993)

Yeah...for some reason the self-checkout machines at Wal-Mart are a lot more sensitive and less user-friendly than the ones used in most grocery stores. I don't know why this is, except maybe these machines were cooked up specifically for W-M and didn't go through the usual level of quality assurance.

On the other hand, the machine also knows the dimensions of every piece of inventory, so if something is too big to put in the bagging area, the machine tells you to just put it back in the cart. I don't know how useful this is, but it seems really cool to me.

this should fail (1)

Doppler00 (534739) | more than 9 years ago | (#11719640)

I've already tried one of those self checkout grocery store things and all I can say is that I'm not impressed. I don't see how moving the device to the shopping cart would make things any easier.

What is so difficult about going through a check out line? You might have to talk to a real person? Oh, how terrible. As much as I love technology and automation, I would rather pay a little more for my groceries then deal with the hassle of a self checkout system.

Now, if they had humanoid robots that did the check out that would be cool.

Re:this should fail (2, Insightful)

rkcallaghan (858110) | more than 9 years ago | (#11719883)

What is so difficult about going through a check out line? You might have to talk to a real person? Oh, how terrible.

High School Flunkie Cashier: Do you have a Value Membership Card Ma'am?

Me: No.

HSFC: Oh would you like one? You can see all of our great savings!

Me: No.

HSFC: Okay then could I get your telephone number and zip code please?

Me: No.

HSFC: Are you sure? We could use that to save your the hassle of having to bring a card with you?

Me: No.

HSFC: Alright then ... *rings up items*, *bags your food hastily, frustrated with your lack of 'cooperation'*

HSFC: Would you like to donate to the save the endangered cockroaches fund? 5% of every dollar goes to a real cockroach!

Me: No.

HSFC: Okay then will that be cash or charge?

Me: Cash. *hands HSFC a $20 bill*

Me: Excuse me, you shorted me a dollar.

HSFC: Oh I'm sorry, I can't open the drawer without a sale, could you wait to the side until this next customer is finished?

*head explodes*

At least at the local grocery store I shop at, which has a self check out, it STFU's the first time you say no, and gives correct change.

~Rebecca

Second Verse, same as the first (3, Insightful)

pangur (95072) | more than 9 years ago | (#11719641)

I used to work for Pathmark, a grocery shore chain in the Northeast US (specifically NY). About ten years ago the put on all their carts a screen that would notify them of specials in different lanes. You could accept coupons as they were sent to the screen.

I thought it was going to be the next wave of the future.

Within nine months, every cart had the system stripped out.

I don't know the exact reason the system was pulled (I had stopped working there by then). It was flaky, didn't always change display based on aisle, and some panels were broken, either by extreme weather (-20F that winter) or on purpose. Those are not trivial losses for a business with a tiny profit margin.

I use the self-serve checkout stands when I can. Some work fine, others keep telling me to start over from the beginning. Either way is slower than having someone else do it.

All I'm saying, is that it had better be a damn good piece of technology that saves some money on the backend before we see this stuff available at the local supermarket.

Re:Second Verse, same as the first (3, Interesting)

Bri3D (584578) | more than 9 years ago | (#11719854)

The self-checkout stands are great except for that they're never any faster. Why? The people using them are morons. It doesn't help that the vast majority of them talk obnoxiously and simply confuse people. I especially love the Wal-Mart ones. They run Windows 2000, as I learned after the POS(That's Point of Sale though it might as well be the alternative) application tried to read some protected memory. On these systems, every time you press a button the unit goes unresponsive for ~5secs reading audio data.

Re:Second Verse, same as the first (1)

porcupine8 (816071) | more than 9 years ago | (#11719870)

Back in 1992-93, a chain in St Louis called Schnuck's had the same thing. That was their big schtick. Being 13, I thought this was SO COOL. I was shocked that it didn't catch on in more supermarkets. But now that I look back, we rarely shopped at Scnuck's because they were more expensive than other stores... Hm.

every new gadget is about selling something (1)

zagatka (832540) | more than 9 years ago | (#11719648)

what about a gadget that actually improvs the quality of our lives instead of more gadgets about selling more useless junk, sorry products to the gullible masses?

Are they constructing traffic pattern maps? (3, Insightful)

Cryofan (194126) | more than 9 years ago | (#11719680)

I wonder if they are sending back postition signals for collection while you are pushing the cart throughout the store. That way they could map traffic pattern and speeds of all shoppers and use that for marketing analysis....

cool! (1)

nugunz_101 (860859) | more than 9 years ago | (#11719686)

Sounds like a pretty cool idea, but how would they manage the battery life of this "port. comp?" I guess they could either use batteries or they can strap something onto the wheel to power it.....Any body have any ideas?

Re:cool! (1)

gardyloo (512791) | more than 9 years ago | (#11719896)

They'll power them using the force needed to overcome those stuck wheels. The only problems will come when local sports teams show up to stop, and get carts with two or more stuck wheels. Then batteries will start to explode.

Re:cool! (1)

Bri3D (584578) | more than 9 years ago | (#11719902)

With the wheel mounted generator you would have to place on on both rear wheels to prevent the cart from listing to one side. The problem here would be this: Think about carts to start with and how many have broken wheels. Now think about what happens to stores if each stuck wheel takes an employee 30mins to fix. The stores couldn't just ignore stuck wheels anymore. Plus repairing the wheel would be made more complex by the need to pull off a generator unit. If the generator was made durable enough though, this would be a good idea.

Please no one post a misuse of generator/dynamo/alternator. You get the point.

I hope this takes off. (1)

Exluddite (851324) | more than 9 years ago | (#11719695)

I've got big money riding on this whole idea. I lost my ass on videophone booths and internet kiosks.

How incredibly stupid considering (1)

pair-a-noyd (594371) | more than 9 years ago | (#11719701)

among many, many, things, these two little little details:

http://it.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=05/02/18/1 92 0244&tid=201&tid=218

and

http://yro.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=05/02/18/ 21 3239&tid=158&tid=219

There is no way in hell I will ever participate in any such activities.
I'll keep my green cash in my pocket, next to my 9mm, where both will stay until I decided.
I'll maintain my own privacy and my own security and my own possesions...

Thanks, but no thanks...

Re:How incredibly stupid considering (1)

porcupine8 (816071) | more than 9 years ago | (#11719894)

I'll keep my green cash in my pocket, next to my 9mm

But then, will there be room enough for your tinfoil hat?

(Btw, neither of those URLs seem to lead to anything. I think The Man deleted them when he saw you referencing them.)

W1NC3: your shopping list is 0wn3d (1)

GillBates0 (664202) | more than 9 years ago | (#11719705)

customers might upload a shopping list to the store's website before leaving home, and then download the list to the shopping cart upon arriving at the store.

It3m #1: G04ts3 decorative poster.
It3m #2: G0at53-B-G0n3 eyewash.
It3m #3: Flea and SCO repellant.
It3m #4: Lubriall hand and skin cream.
It3m #5: ??? It3m #6: PROFIT!!!

Re:W1NC3: your shopping list is 0wn3d (1)

Koiu Lpoi (632570) | more than 9 years ago | (#11719802)

Eyewash isn't gonna cut it man. You still have your mind's eye. Only the MIB FlashyThing (tm) is gonna be worthwhile here.

Complicated! (1)

mOoZik (698544) | more than 9 years ago | (#11719706)

Did anyone else see that screenshot? That looks like a nightmare. Trained "associates" have a hard time scanning and bagging. Are we sure that people will be smart, fair, and advanced enough to use this system to its fullest without resorting to extra-intentional functions?

Customer Tracking Reloaded. (1)

ABeowulfCluster (854634) | more than 9 years ago | (#11719717)

Now.. you have to return the cart otherwise they'll know you were the last one using it. Also, 'they' will see your shopping list. In some ways, I'm looking forward to this because your underground parking has a million shopping carts there and my lazy ass neighhbours leave carts in the hallways. Now, they'll be busted and sent to bad shopper prison.

Yes, but.. (-1, Offtopic)

WhatAmIDoingHere (742870) | more than 9 years ago | (#11719731)

Can it render /. correctly?

(Coming from a Firefox sufferer)

Re:Yes, but.. (1)

Koiu Lpoi (632570) | more than 9 years ago | (#11719820)

Because that's a valid issue to be talking about with shopping carts. I'm doubting it's even webbased at all. Also, there is an extension for FF to fix that issue. So, to answer your completly offtopic question, I'm sure it can render Slashdot just fine - if the developers had any reason for a shopping cart to read slashdot.

Re:Yes, but.. (1)

WhatAmIDoingHere (742870) | more than 9 years ago | (#11719877)

I was playing off of the "Does it run Linux" thing, but I've got the karma to suffer a few mods who don't get my "special" (Read: very stupid) brand of humor.

And next is the Microsoft Shopping Assistant (1)

WidescreenFreak (830043) | more than 9 years ago | (#11719771)

"Hi. I'm Stringy. It looks like you're shopping for feminine hygiene prodcuts today. Would you like some help in making your purchase? * Heavy flow * Light flow * Daily pads * I'm a man, you freakin' jackass Please select how I might help you."

Re:And next is the Microsoft Shopping Assistant (1)

WidescreenFreak (830043) | more than 9 years ago | (#11719786)

And next time I'll his the damned "Preview" instead of "Submit" button! Grrrr.....

So let's reformat that...

* Heavy flow
* Light flow
* Daily Pads
* I'm a man, you freakin' jackass

Too late, I suppose. Oh, well.

mod 0p (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11719774)

haapeN. 'At least one or the other a BSD box that In eternity...Romeo

i wonder when (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11719803)

identity theft and credit card theft will be using this grocery shopping technology???

And I'm sure it's not encrypted... (1)

zymurgy_cat (627260) | more than 9 years ago | (#11719804)

...meaning someone can set up a laptop outside the store and find out all the prescriptions that people are having filled.

On a less paranoid note, I wonder if they'll make it user friendly. Ever try scanning multiple items at self serve checkouts in places like Home Depot? If you want to buy about 2 dozen 1/2" SS worm gear hose clamps, be prepared to scan 2 dozen hose clamps one at a time.....

Re:And I'm sure it's not encrypted... (1)

rkcallaghan (858110) | more than 9 years ago | (#11719940)

...meaning someone can set up a laptop outside the store and find out all the prescriptions that people are having filled.

Disclaimer: IANAPharmacist(yet), but I am a pharamcy student, which includes at least brief study of relavent law.

It is highly unlikely that this system would be used with prescriptions. For one, by its very nature, prescriptions are not selected by the customer, and the sale must be verified on the spot.

Also, the pharmacy records are considered medical records, and must be kept seperate and private from anything the store is using for other (read: marketing) purposes.

So while your encryption concern is likely accurate, and abuse is possible, pharmacy is not the area that is likely to be abused.

~Rebecca

Onece again the OSS is out manouvered (0, Flamebait)

Timesprout (579035) | more than 9 years ago | (#11719812)

react ..... again, lets her a how fantastic it all is to have missed this and how innovative FOSS. s

WINCE Shopping Cart (1)

jearlcalkins (458909) | more than 9 years ago | (#11719847)

WIN CE ....
Sounds like a great addition to that one shopping cart that has a wacked out wheel that locks up and wails like a banshee. Everyone in the store is looking at you and saying, "get another cart" loser. What is FUJI thinking?

They just don't get it (2, Interesting)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | more than 9 years ago | (#11719890)

"The company even suggests that customers might upload a shopping list to the store's website before leaving home, and then download the list to the shopping cart upon arriving at the store."

Sounds like more work than doing what I do now, which is print out the running list we have on our main computer. I can then easily go down the list, crossing things off as I put them in the cart.

So why would I, or anyone else, use a system that is more work than how I manage the task now? Sure it might benefit the store; but why is it so hard for some business people to realize that customers aren't going to adopt a new system that provides no benefit to said customers?

(As an aside, it's not just business people that refuse to learn this lesson. I've been forced to put together web systems that end up unused because the "client" - usually a faculty member, but sometimes my computing manager - just can't grok that concept. Sheesh, try talking to your end users / customers about what would benefit them before deciding how something should work.)

We'll test it! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11719900)

As with all new technology, we'll make sure to test it! [tripod.com]
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