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By ftfmayo
A shopping cart with a UPC code reader attached so you scan your grocery purchases as you put them in the cart, when you get to the check out line you already know how much you owe, your cart is placed on a scale, and checked against the expected weight of the items you scanned, the total is confirmed and you're on your way.

Reward: groceries
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By Steve
In fact, this already exists in some countries. You scan your own groceries, and then you line up at an express counter where they just roughly check if you did it right. I like the approach with the weight, however it needs some more thought, because it wouldn't prevent you from replacing expensive products with cheaper ones that have the same weight.
By ftfmayo
I'm aware that some stores, our local Fred Meyer for one, have a u-scan check-out line. Which does verify purchases according to their weight, apparently a very precise weight is associated with a upc code for any given item. The system I've seen is really no different than the regular check out line, except that the customer provides the retailer with a service that the retailer is paying someone to do at the check out line next door. And its essentially the same way the process has been performed since the upc code was introduced. Additionally, the idea of convincing some poor sucker to do a chore for you harkens back to Mark Twains' account of Tom Sawyers' fence painting scam. From a customers point of veiw, a cart based system would at least seem to save you time.(even if it takes more time to actually do your shopping). From the retailers point of veiw, he gets the benefit of eliminating the expense of paying someone to scan it all, without having to convince the customer how much fun the job is.
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By Steve
What does Fred Meyer sell? I would be amazed if the weight system works well with food items, because there will always be certain fluctuations, and a pound of corn meal will be well within the range of a pound of oat meal...
By ftfmayo
Fred Meyer sells everything from groceries to garden hose. I see your point, though. With the system they use computer screen prompts instruct you to scan an item, then place item in bag, then scan next item and so on. The bag rack is on the scale table. Seems to work well for them. Of course all this scanning is done under the watchful eye of the cashier. All in all I think the cart would still work with an attatched sidecar for the cashier to ride in, thus preventing any bait and switch scams. Or maybe its something that could be covered with current shoplifting surveillance techniques. It seems that it would take an awful lot of planning with little to gain, trying to knock off the smart cart. I'd bet money most shoplifted items woulld be walking out in the shoplifters pants.
By joy
But, mostly from a consumer standpoint. I think every grocery basket could have a little scanner on the handlebar, with a calculator beside it adding up the goods as we go. On the other hand, from the grocer's standpoint, I think it would be an opportunity for individuals to scan products at lower prices, while placing higher priced items in their buggy. However, if there is a way to actually detect the wrong product via some type of alarm system, that activity could easily be deterred. I just wonder if it would be cost effective in the long run? At any rate, it is a good idea. I like it! ;-D
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By Michael D. Grissom
I absolutely LOVE the "attached sidecar for the cashier" idea if one gets to pick the cashier. I rolled off my chair laughing when I read that!

As an X-Navy guy, I swore on discharge that I would forever avoid all lines from that day forward. So,... I really REALLY like this idea. I always use the do-it-yourself scanner at my local Harris Teeter grocery store but never thought about having one on a shopping cart. I think that with an inexpensive strain guage (1/100th oz. resolution) built into each shopping cart, along with the scanner (with RF/infrared link for price updates) and some clever security sensors, this might be doable.

AND... I just remembered; there is a company just now marketing a new "RF barcode sticker" that works on proximity of the product. If you remove this sticker it self destructs the bar code. The scanner would continuously scan everything in your cart looking for any changes (swaps) and remain current all the way to the register. A complete update of everything in your cart would occur about every few seconds and update your LCD screen. Store door sensors would also be able to detect unpaid items in a customers pockets. In fact, if you have an item in your pocket, the focused register sensor will automatically add it to your total. The stickers cost less than one cent. This would also eliminate the need for the strain guage and security sensors. Now, if anyone can figure out how to make one of these RF stickers 'edible' so one could be injected into the center of fruits and vegitables, this might be a viable solution.

OH,... and be sure to stick one on your kids before they leave the house! :-)

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