Food Shopping and the 'It' Factor
I shop for recipe-testing ingredients every day. (That's a big Oy.) Sometimes the hunt for specific foods or brands takes me to specialty stores as well as supermarkets, but I'm in and out of my local Giant at least 4 times a week.
That's why I'm about ready to make my own macrame holster for the Scan It! device I pick up at the start of my Giant rounds. It reads the bar code on each item and keeps a running tab of my purchases, which I load directly into the reusable shopping bags in my cart. At checkout time, I hit the shortest self-checkout line and aim the device at the required spot, and the total comes up in an instant.
Last week I clocked my eight-item foray at nine minutes flat (including one stop at a Weigh It! station in the produce department), listening to my iPod tunes the whole way; no chatting required.
When the hand-held scanners were introduced in Stop and Shop stores in the Northeast a few years ago, customers liked them but Giant held off. The technology was designed to get us in and out of the store in a timely fashion (and no doubt eliminate some jobs). Now the company is interested in greater "differentiation" from its competitors, and has installed the system in 50 of its Washington area and Delaware stores, says spokesman Jamie Miller, as each store undergoes a facelift. Customers at the Rockville store (at Montrose Crossing) were the first to use them locally. Miller says feedback continues to be positive, that no one walks off with Scan It!s and that there have been no increased reports of unscanned items finding their way into bags.
On Monday night, a shopping dad told me he likes taking the kids along when he Scans It!; "they can point, shoot and stay entertained," he said. "I love it." (I guess I could do without the occasionally ka-chings, which remind shoppers about various deals on the aisle.)
One thing to keep in mind: Miller says the system can't target specific customers, but I've been told by customers and store personnel that some random spot checks -- in which a Giant checker will run through the purchases in the bag to make sure they're all accounted for on the tally -- tend to happen to those who may have consistently failed to scan an item or two in their cart.
Has Scan It!, Weigh It! or the deli department's Order It! changed the way you shop at Giant, or Bloom or other grocery stores? It must be displacing some checkout employees, but honestly, I can't see another downside.
-- Bonnie S. Benwick
Posted by: twixler | April 29, 2009 2:42 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: DCDeb1 | April 29, 2009 3:07 PM | Report abuse
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