Scan-As-You-Go Grocery Shopping

I headed over to the Ossining Stop & Shop on Monday, and was invited to try out their new Scan It! system. Here’s how it works: you pick up a handheld scanner as you enter the store, and scan in your loyalty card. That identifies you in the system, and you can then scan items and bag them in your cart as you move through the store. For loose items sold by weight, like produce, you weigh everything yourself and the scale prints out a sticker that has a barcode on it. At the end of your shop, you use a self-service check out lane that recognizes everything you’ve added to your scanner and allows you scan coupons and pay.

I don’t know the store layout that well, so that combined with trying to figure out how to get a sticker to print for two avocados and stopping to bag everything as I shopped took me much longer than normal. Then I couldn’t get the self-service check out to register my scanner, so an employee had to help me there, also increasing my time. (And, I am pretty tech savvy so it’s not that I can’t find my way around a new gadget!)

As you shop, the scanner will supposedly offer you coupons and deals based on your shopping behavior. Nothing enticing came up for me on my first time, but it is convenient to see a running total of your purchases as you shop, especially if you are aiming to keep within a specific budget and bring cash (as I know many Menu Plan Monday participants do).

I ran into a friend trying out the scanner at the same time, and although we both thought the try-a-new-gadget aspect was cool, he was worried we were putting the cashiers out of a job. If I could have gotten the scanner to work properly when I checked out, it’s true I would have done my entire shopping trip without needing an employee’s help. There was also no visible check on whether I was being honest in my scanning, either, so I would imagine there could be an uptick in theft with this technology.

Overall, I wouldn’t opt to shop this way again. The scanner wasn’t obtrusive, but I did find the bagging as I went to be awkward and time consuming. I’d rather do it myself after I checked out.

Have you seen these scanners near you? Or do you use a self-service check out kiosk when you shop?

4 thoughts on “Scan-As-You-Go Grocery Shopping

  1. We are getting more and more of the self check-out lanes in stores here…but we don’t have the scan as you go thing yet…but I recall weighing my own produce in Sainsbury’s in England years ago…and I totally recall seeing people weigh stuff, sticking the sticker on, then adding more grapes or whatever…also I am sure they used to print out the wrong sticker on purpose…like a sticker for regular grapes vs. organic grapes. I kind of like just having the cashier there…it’s hard to scan your own stuff and bag it all while you keep track of your kids and hang onto your wallet…it kind of stresses me out.

    I am pretty sure I weighed my own cherries and printed out a sticker in a supermarket in France in 1993 — it made an impression on me, as I’d never seen it in the U.S. before! I think this country is late to the game on self-service grocery stuff. — Dara

  2. My sister is right, this does sound cumbersome. I do use the self-check lane in the supermarket sometimes, but like you, Dara, I’m concerned with the loss of human jobs. Using the self-check lane is very easy–even for someone not-so-tech-savvy as me.

  3. I’m a big techno person and I hate waiting in lines when I shop, especially when I don’t have many items, so I like this idea. But I’m often a spontaneous shopper, going through, seeing what looks good, what’s fresh, what’s on sale, so I couldn’t arrange a trip through the store to bag in a reasonable way, so I think I’d probably arrange my items in the cart, and bag when I’m done. Or better yet, skip the bags, and take my items out to the car and into reusable totes. I’d hope that bagging things up isn’t a mandatory part of the process.

    I’ll be excited when something like this makes it my way. The self-scan lines actually came and went here, even WalMart took them out, so I wonder if this will ever fly.

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